While Jeep heritage has been going strong for more than half a century, most of its product lineup is still in its infancy. Compass and Patriot are actually more like adopted children – loved by their new parents but not sharing any DNA. Then there is Liberty.
The Jeep Liberty was first introduced as a 2002 model but was quickly relegated to popularity around college campuses and sorority houses. Seeking to get back to its roots, Jeep gave Liberty a complete redux for the latest model.
All-new from the ground up, the (Gen-II) Liberty returns to Jeep’s legendary 4×4 heritage by offering two Jeep Trail Rated four-wheel-drive systems – a part-time Command-Trac II and the full-time Selec-Trac II. On-road ride and handling have been improved and refined with the new independent front suspension, new five-link rear suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.
The Liberty’s exterior has been redesigned, and takes on a more rugged, classic Jeep look. And to enhance Liberty’s experience in the great outdoors is the new Sky Slider full-length open canvas roof, an industry-exclusive – giving the Liberty that “Have Fun Out There” open-air Jeep brand experience. Remote start, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats, mirrors and radio controls and express up/down windows are added to the vehicle’s ever-growing list of available features and options offered on two models – Jeep Liberty Sport and Jeep Liberty Limited.
Liberty is positioned to appeal to customers who are looking for Jeep 4×4 capability as well as comfort and convenience. It is (now) targeted to young couples and new families, as well as professional, young single men and women between 30 and 40 years of age, balanced male to female. Jeep Liberty is marketed towards owners who will balance day-to-day responsibilities with their passion for adventure as well as the outdoors. They are athletic and pursue activities that combine their various interests with their active lifestyle.
Liberty is powered by a 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 engine providing competitive peak power and torque while providing fairly smooth, quiet operation. It produces 210 hp and 235 lb. ft. of torque. Fuel economy, while not stellar, has been improved and now achieves an estimated 15 mpg city and 21 mpg on the highway. Two transmissions are offered on the Jeep Liberty in the U. S.: a six-speed manual gearbox and a four-speed automatic. In the very near future I would like to see the new Chrysler Corporation update Jeep’s powertrains.
The 2010 Jeep Liberty has a full range of active and passive safety systems. Among the vehicle’s standard equipment are Electronic Stability Program, Electronic Roll Mitigation, All-speed Traction Control, Brake Assist, advanced anti-lock brakes, rain-sensing wipers, Tire Pressure Monitoring, supplemental side-curtain air bags and active head restraints. The new model also comes with hill start assist and hill descent control.
New technology being offered includes the MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System, a completely integrated audio, navigation, entertainment and hands-free communication system. MyGIG allows customers to use touch screen or voice commands to control features, and includes a 30-gigabyte hard drive where songs and photos can be stored. The system also includes a voice-memo recorder feature. MyGIG supports real-time traffic information, available through SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and can provide an alternate drive route based on traffic conditions. All of these functions can be controlled through voice commands or by utilizing a touch screen. The UConnect Hands-free Communication System uses Bluetooth technology to provide wireless communication between the customer’s compatible mobile phone and the vehicle’s on-board receiver.
We recently tested the Liberty Limited model with the four-speed automatic gearbox and Select-Trac II full-time 4WD system. Our time behind the wheel was all suburban traffic, no full-out mud runs or rocky torture tests.
One thing that became immediately apparent was that the pedals were positioned to the left of where they are in most vehicles on the road today. The gas pedal felt like it was located where the brake pedal normally is and the brake pedal felt like it was where most manufacturers locate the clutch pedal – all in all a bit awkward.
And one more thing: that front passenger grab bar is a real knee-buster, take extra care when hopping in the front passenger side. Aside from that the Jeep Liberty is fairly enjoyable and the Sky Slider roof is perfect for letting the sun shine in.
Pricing for our test model started at $28,735 with a final sticker of $33,375 thanks to a host of technology and equipment packages.
The new Jeep Liberty is still no Wrangler, nor is it meant to be, but it is a Jeep nonetheless so despite some fancier duds, Jeep DNA does pulse through its veins.