2011 Jeep Liberty

2 May 2011 | 2,955 views | No Comment
By John Heilig SPECIFICATIONS    Model: 2011 Jeep Liberty Limited 4X4  Engine: 3.7-liter V6 Horsepower/Torque: 210 hp @ 5,200 rpm/235 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm Transmission: 4-speed automatic Wheelbase: 106.1 in.  Length/Width/Height: 176.9 x 72.3 x 72.0 in.  Tires: P235/60R18 Cargo volume: 26.1/62.4 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)  Fuel economy: 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway  Fuel capacity: 19.5 gal.  Curb weight: 4,290 lbs.  Sticker: $33,075 (includes $745 destination charge and $6,010 in options)   Five reasons to buy this car 1. You want a civilized Wrangler 2. Off-road capability 3. Good cargo capacity 4. Ruggedness, despite civility 5. It's a Jeep thing, you wouldn't understand    The Bottom Line: The Jeep Liberty is a lot like the Wrangler. Its styling is similar, although the Liberty has some roundness to the front windshield. All-in-all, though, you can get almost Wrangler performance off-road for the advantage of much nice on-road manners and a few more creature comforts.                      There are a lot of options open for Jeep fans, from the rugged off-road worthiness of the Wrangler to the sophisticated urbanness of the Grand Cherokee, with a couple of stops in between. I confess I'm not the most avid Wrangler fan, although I do respect the vehicles' off-road capabilities.           The Liberty is more to my liking, if I'm headed for the back country. Physically, the Liberty and Wrangler appear to be similar in size, although the Liberty is more along the lines of the Wrangler Unlimited with its four doors. Yes, the Liberty has four doors. It also has a slight curve to the front windshield that you won't find in the Wrangler, which retains its military-practical flat glass all around.            The Liberty is definitely a Jeep, but it is civilized, with four doors, a steel body and Grand Cherokee-like comfort. However, it's not that comfy.  But you're not far off the main line Jeep track with a Liberty. You still get a rough ride on the highway and on-road. It isn't a harsh ride, but it definitely isn't smooth.  The Liberty also has decent handling. It isn't a sports ca rby any means, but you don't have to be afraid to go around corners with a little gusto; just not too much gusto.           The 3.7-liter V6 under the hood is noisy, but it supplied enough power to move the Liberty along at a good clip. I was slightly concerned, though, because our tester had a tendency to stall, but this was only at stop signs and red lights. Front room foot room is slightly restricted because of the transfer case, but in most cases people don't cram their feet up alongside the transmission tunnel.  It's easy to switch from 2WD to 4WD to 4WD Low with a slide switch on the center console. We drove mostly in 2WD, but our day-plus time in 4WD showed no decrease in performance.  The Liberty has a simple instrument panel, with small fuel and water gauges flanking larger tachometer and speedometer. Our tester also had a small "navigation screen" in the dash for audio readouts, etc. The dash is short and there's barely enough room for a plastic Jesus to fit on top of it.           Front seats are comfortable with minimal side support. The rear seats are flat with restricted leg and knee room. The seat backs fold flat for a 6-foot long cargo bed. Sadly, we had a 6-5 package to carry one day and had to use alternate sources to carry it.           There's a "chicken bar" on the dash for panicky passengers to hang on to when the driver gets too enthusiastic, or when the off-roading gets serious. There's a nice "running board" to aid in entry, although it's more like a pipe than a board.            Liberty is okay if you want a Jeep but don't want to make the commitment to a Wrangler. In my age demographic, however, the Grand Cherokee is more acceptable.

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