Prior to picking up our 08 Jeep Liberty tester, I had spent 2 weeks driving a pair of Mopars that each boasted over 300 horsepower. In other words, I was on a bit of a horsepower high. As a result, my initial impression was that the Liberty was woefully under powered.
That really wasn’t a fair assessment, as the Liberty is a well appointed family hauler that is a capable off roader, not a luxo speed wagon. Once I got over my initial power shock, I quickly fell in love with the Liberty. With 210 horsepower, the 3.7 liter V6 pushes the Liberty along at an acceptable rate for most drivers. The V6 muscles out 235 ft/lbs of torque, which combines with the off road suspension to allow for a 5000 pound tow rating. This should be more than enough for most the weekend warrior who wants to tow a couple of snowmobiles or a light race car.
As a Trail Rated Jeep, the Liberty has a whole bunch of features aimed at keeping the shiny side up when venturing off road. Electronic Stability control, anti lock brakes, hill descent control, hill start assist are just a few of the techno goodies that add up to a big acronym fest. Select-Trac II transfer case allows for a wide range of drivetrain settings, from 2wd right on up to locked 4 wheel drive low for hard core off roading.
We didn’t have an opportunity to check out the Liberty’s skills in the dirt, but we did manage to drive it in a couple of inches of snow. All the electronics make for an impressive launch in the snow. In fact, the traction control works so well that I didn’t even need to engage 4 high to keep on trucking. Just a note to prospective buyers about tires though. Like most vehicles sold these days, the Liberty’s 17″ tires are of the all season variety. All season tires are not winter tires! While the electronic gizmos on the Liberty do a great job of launching and turning the truck, under braking we are still limited by the laws of physics. When trying to stop 4127 pounds of SUV on a surface with next to no adhesive qualities (ie ice) all season tires and the best abs system in the world won’t stop in a reasonable distance. The Liberty (like ALL SUV’s) needs snow tires!
After a couple of weeks driving big V8’s, I was looking forward to spending some time in something a little less thirsty. Of course I wasn’t counting on a deep freeze and a brand new engine. Over the week, we put 486 traffic clogged kilometers on the Liberty and used 83 liters of fuel, which added up to 17.1 L/100 km used. This is a fair bit above the government test ratings of 14.0 L/100 but that isn’t all that surprising given the conditions. As we all know, cold weather kills fuel economy and a new engine doesn’t achieve it’s best consumption until it has reached 5-7000 km & our tester only had about 3000 km on it.
Overall, the 2008 Jeep Liberty was a bit hit here in The Garage. The kids loved the look and the drive. The kids loved the giant sun roof and several of the neighbors commented on how sharp it looked. We were sad to see this one go!