2002 Jeep Liberty

Change Vehicle
2002 Jeep Liberty
Available in 6 styles:  2002 Jeep Liberty 4dr 4x4 shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

16–19 city / 20–23 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 13
2002 Jeep Liberty 4.2 30
$ 1,794-8,070
September 28, 2001
I lived in Virginia for several years, and the history-drenched state did not give up its storied traditions easily. A running joke in the Old Dominion was: How many Virginians does it take to change a light bulb? It takes five; one to change it, and four to talk about how great the old bulb was.

That same line came up earlier this year when DaimlerChrysler announced that it would replace the venerable Jeep Cherokee -- a sport-utility vehicle pioneer with roots dating to 1984 -- with a new SUV, a compact called the Jeep Liberty.

For those mourning the loss of the Cherokee, I would recommend a philosophy with strong New York ties: Fuhgeddaboudit. The 2002 Liberty looks better, handles better and just is better than its predecessor.

I had the good fortune to test drive one of the first Cherokees off the line years ago, and I remember thinking what a brave new world it was going to be now that vehicles like this were going to take the next evolutionary step up from the station wagon. In comparative terms, what I was driving then was a Ford Model T, given what the Liberty now offers.

For starters, the Liberty is much more attractive than the Cherokee. Amazingly, Cherokee's looks did not change that much over the years -- maybe an explanation behind a 14 percent sales decline in 2000 compared with 1999 figures.

Liberty looks like a 21st century SUV -- smooth, nicely rounded lines and a stylish grille that still manages to pay homage to the hard-working Jeep products of years past. Four doors open into an interior compartment that is not gigantic but certainly comfortable for five.

The package is simple and nicely priced. You can get Liberty as a Sport or a Limited model, with two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. A 2WD Sport with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 150-horsepower engine starts at $16,450. A 4WD Limited starts at $22,720.

My test Liberty fell somewhere outside the lines. It was a Sport model with four-wheel drive -- with a base price of $17,960 -- but it was dressed up with numerous options that ballooned the bottom line to $24,070. Some of the extras qualified as just that -- lots of folks can do without deep-tint sunscreens and power sunroofs -- but the 3.7-liter V-6 engine was worth every penny of its $850 cost.

With 210 horses to command, the Liberty handles all driving situations with relative ease. Off-road jaunts that would challenge many a small SUV were no problem for Liberty. Thank heaven! This is a Jeep after all.

Performance on surface streets and highways was robust. The Liberty held sharp, high-speed curves admirably -- especially for a comparatively bargain-priced sport-ute.

Inside, the efforts of the V-6 certainly could be heard, but interior noise was not obtrusive.

Although Liberty might look small from the outside, it's no lightweight. It's more than 1,000 pounds heavier than a Toyota RAV4, for example. Equipped with the proper trailering p ackage, my test Liberty was rated to tow 5,000 pounds.

The dash and cabin controls were easy to read and happily functional, although it's a mystery to me why engineers put the power window buttons on the center console. There's nothing like pulling up to a curbside mailbox and frantically searching for the driver's window button while the motorist behind you leans on the horn. Being a left-hander, I figured the button placement was a massive conspiracy.

Some have griped about the side-opening tailgate instead of the more-traditional lift-up configuration. I had no problem with it, especially given the fact that Liberty's tailgate provides easy access to the rear-mounted spare tire.

Although putting the spare underneath a vehicle makes for a cleaner look, I wonder how many people have burrowed into the snow or onto the scorching pavement to wrestle a spare out from under their SUV? Yes, other SUVs have a spare-tire holder that swings away so the tailgate can li up, but the Liberty's tail section configuration is not enough to send me screaming into the woods.

The bottom line is that the bigger, stronger and more-nimble replacement for the Cherokee is a Liberty for all who crave SUV convenience but don't want to take a second mortgage to buy into the game.

Make/model: 2002 Jeep Liberty Sport 4WD.

Vehicle type: Five-seat, four-door sport-utility vehicle with four-wheel drive.

Base price: $17,960 (as tested, $24,070).

Engine: 3.7-liter V-6 with 210 horsepower at 5,200 revolutions per minute and 235 pounds/foot torque at 4,000 rpm.

EPA fuel economy: 16 miles per gallon city, 20 mpg highway.

Transmission: Four-speed automatic with overdrive.

Steering: Power rack and pinion.

Brakes: Power front discs, rear drum.

Suspension type: Upper/lower A-arms, coil springs, gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar on front; trailing upper A-arm, dual trailing lower arms, coil springs, gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar on rear.

Cargo volume: 29 cubic feet behind rear seat; 69 cubic feet with seat folded down.

Fuel tank: 18.5 gallons.

Curb weight: 4,115 pounds.

Front track: 60 inches.

Rear track: 59.7 inches.

Height: 73.2 inches.

Length: 174.4 inches.

Wheelbase: 104.3 inches.

Width: 71.6 inches.

Ground clearance: 8 inches front, 7.8 inches rear.

Tires: P215/75R16 all-season tires.

Maximum towing capacity: 5,000 pounds (with trailering package).

Final assembly site: Toledo, Ohio.

    Expert Reviews 2 of 13

Featured Services for this Jeep Liberty

  • Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.
  • Not sure what auto repair should cost you? Use our price estimator.
  • Get help with car repair now on Cars.com. Visit Repair & Care

Search Inventory Near You

Calculate Monthly Payment

What will my monthly cost be?

Check Payment

Calculate Affordable Price

What is the most I can afford?

Check Price

More Calculators

Compare finance offers to decide what's right for you.

Certain specifications, prices and equipment data have been provided under license from Chrome Data Solutions ("Chrome Data"). ©2013 Chrome Data Solutions, LP. All Rights Reserved. This information is supplied for personal use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever without the express written consent of Chrome Data. Chrome Data makes no guarantee or warranty, either expressed or implied, including without limitation any warranty of merchantability or fitness for particular purpose, with respect to the data presented here. All specifications, prices and equipment are subject to change without notice.