Following in the tracks of its Dodge Nitro corporate sibling, the likable Jeep Liberty gets a much-needed redesign for 2008. Despite its trim outward appearance, it has been massaged and stretched in every direction. The end result is a clean evolution of the previous version.
An all-new independent front suspension and a five-link redesigned rear suspension layout help give the latest Liberty a more comfortable and nimble ride on paved road surfaces while maintaining its off-road credibility as well.
Motive power from a carryover 3.7-litre V6 developed specifically for Jeeps and Dodge trucks makes 210 horsepower and churns out a useful 235 lb-ft of torque to coax the SUV’s 1,872 kg weight up and over obstacles in your forward progress. It’s quiet in paved road use and pretty capable off the beaten path. It’s typical Jeep: Keep it simple. Comparing power outputs among its class competitors, the Liberty lags as far as output is concerned, but in reality the only differences are felt with a heavy foot on the gas pedal.
There are two transmission choices to consider. A six-speed manual is standard on the base-model $27,695 Liberty Sport and step-up $28,645 Liberty North Edition. A four-speed automatic is optional on both models and comes standard on the range-topping $32,795 Liberty Limited.
Two four-wheel-drive systems are available as well.
Inside, a very desirable option is the Sky Slider roof. It’s a full-length canvas top that can slide fully-rearward or fully-forward … and anywhere in between.
Also inside, the Liberty gets a modern makeover with plenty of available options, including remote start, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats and mirrors, and express up/down windows. The two-tone interior trim is all new, too; a mix of hard and durable plastics with silver accents.
Otherwise, it’s all standard, functional Jeep fare: Four-spoke tilt steering wheel, optionally leather-wrapped with vehicle information and audio controls. The centre stack has storage on top, followed by the audio controls, with climate control switches grouped at the bottom.