somebody else's sport utility claims more off-road
capability than Jeep...
that's fightin' words. Jeep makes no bones about
the trail-rated capability of anything wearing
that famed J-E-E-P marque, including its compact
Liberty sport utility. Round headlamps, seven-slot
grille, a bratty stance in front view or profile
all signal its legendary heritage. Smoother contemporary
styling despite a mandatory high ground clearance
shows a talent for morphing from civility to utility
in a blink of an eye.
is off-road tough with comfort. Refreshed a year
ago, design-wise, with the addition of a smattering
of spunky diesel versions for North American buyers,
the 2006 model adds some refinements to this midsize
SUV. Electronic stability with anti-lock braking,
brake assist and the electronic roll mitigation
that can keep an adventurous high profile vehicle
out of trouble, become standard equipment. (Any
wheels with "Renegade" as a model can
be expected to flaunt that capability.) Top line
Limiteds add six-way power seating and optional
heated leather. A mini garage door opener becomes
optional for the Sport C. Inferno Red and Midnight
Blue join exterior colors.
some lesser competitors, a full-size spare still
hangs off the rear, announcing Liberty's built-in
inclination to wander. Muscular styling with high
wheel arches, black bottom side panels and the
round "trail-rated" side badge recall
Jeep's 60-year tradition of taming wild country.
For '06, a 2.7-liter V-6 engine powers all non-diesel
models. Two- or four-wheel-drive, with high-speed
shift into 4X4 high, mate with five-speed automatic
or six-speed manual. Safety features include multi-stage
airbags, brake assist, knee bolsters, plus available
side curtain airbags and tire pressure monitor.
An engine immobilizer adds security.
built-in rebel credentials, Liberty retains driving
comfort plus some downright luxurious amenities,
including leather trim, SIRIUS satellite radio,
sunroof and premium sound. On the road, it can
tow 5,000 pounds. In the low to mid-$20s range,
Liberty should confirm the ability to live up
to the freedom of its name without hauling an
overload of debt.