The Jeep Liberty, which is related to the Dodge Nitro, comes in Sport and Limited editions. One of the more interesting features in the five-seat Jeep Liberty small SUV is its optional Sky Slider movable canvas roof. Liberty competitors include the Nissan Xterra and Suzuki Grand Vitara.
New for 2009
The Jeep Liberty no longer has a manual transmission option. The brakes and suspension have been retuned in an effort to improve ride and handling performance.
The Liberty features Jeep's traditional seven-slot grille and trapezoidal fender flares that enhance the vehicle's side profile. Unlike many panoramic sunroofs offered today, Jeep's Sky Slider roof is made of canvas rather than glass. The fabric roof folds on itself as it opens, and Jeep says the top is leak-proof.
While the Liberty and Nitro share a common underpinning, Chrysler made the Liberty shorter and narrower than the Nitro to distinguish the pair. The Liberty comes in at 176.9 inches long and 72.1 inches wide. This is within an inch of the Grand Vitara and Xterra in width, but the Xterra's body is longer by a couple of inches.
- Standard auto headlamps
- Standard body-colored grille, front and rear bumpers, and moldings on all but Limited, which gets chrome
- Standard remote keyless entry (remote express windows on Limited models)
- 16-inch aluminum wheels (Sport)
- 17-inch aluminum wheels (Limited)
- 18-inch chrome-clad aluminum (optional on Limited)
- Optional roof rails (standard on Limited)
- Optional full-open canvas roof system
The Liberty's interior is reminiscent of the Nitro's. For 2009, the leather package on Limited models gets a soft-touch armrest on the door, upper-door trim pieces, and upgraded grained plastics on the instrument panel and center console.
Both left and right rear panels have cargo tie-down loops for securing items to the load floor. The left rear panel houses a concealed compartment for jack storage and tools. Cargo room behind the second-row seat measures 31.5 cubic feet but can be expanded to 64.2 cubic feet by folding the seat; this is similar to the space in the Xterra but smaller than the Grand Vitara's cargo volume with the seats down (68.9 cubic feet).
- Standard power locks, windows and mirrors
- Standard floormats
- Standard satellite radio (with complimentary one-year subscription) and six speakers
- Cloth, stain-resistant cloth or leather available (leather only available on Limited models)
- Optional heated and powered front seats (Limited)
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel with wheel-mounted audio controls (standard on Limited)
- Optional hands-free communication system and remote start (not available on Sport models)
- Optional voice-activated navigation and audio system (including touch-screen, voice commands, 30GB hard drive and navigation radio)
Under the Hood
For 2009, the Liberty gets stiffer rear axle shafts, and the shocks, springs, anti-roll bars and steering have all been retuned, which Jeeps says will provide an improved ride.
Rear-wheel drive is standard, but two four-wheel-drive systems — part-time Command-Trac and full-time Selec-Trac II —are offered. Hill Descent Control, which keeps vehicle speed to a minimum when traversing treacherous terrain, is included on four-wheel-drive models. All models now come with a four-speed automatic transmission; the six-speed manual is no longer available. Properly equipped Libertys can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
- 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 with 235 pounds-feet of torque
- Four-speed automatic transmission
- Trailer tow package that includes a full-size spare, a Class III trailer hitch and trailer sway control
- Rear- or four-wheel drive
Safety features include:
- Standard side curtain airbags
- Standard all-disc antilock braking system
- Standard electronic stability control with electronic roll mitigation and all-speed traction control
- Standard smart key that immobilizes the engine in a theft attempt
- Optional rain-sensing wipers
- Optional parking assist system includes a sonar-based warning system with audible and visual alerts