2002 Jeep Liberty Preview

2017
The Car Connection
2017
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

With President Ford's golden retriever long dead, the name "Liberty" was available for the taking. So Jeep has put it on what amounts to, in terms of relative "newness," as the most all-new vehicle in its history. Everything in this trucklet, from structure, suspension, and drivetrain to the plant in Toledo, Ohio, where it's built is either new or at least new to Jeep, and the whole is a huge advance on the Cherokee it replaces.

Being better than the Cherokee was a pretty low hurdle to clear. After all, that pioneering SUV entered production as a 1984 model (when Renault still owned AMC and, hence, Jeep) and only cursorily updated throughout its production. By 2001 (hell, by 1991) it was archaic and outclassed by the competition in terms of refinement and efficiency.

Still while familiarity breeds contempt, no vehicle stays in production for 18 years if it doesn't have something compelling in its favor. And for the Cherokee that was an authentically Jeep off-road ability and everyday practicality.

The question about the four-door Liberty isn't whether it's better than the Cherokee it replaces, but if it can walk the same fine line that machine did between a rugged heritage and the lives most buyers really live.

Jeep in and out

2002 Jeep Liberty

2002 Jeep Liberty

Enlarge Photo
What's the favorite word in press releases from Jeep PR? Trademark. Oops, sorry, make that Jeep® PR. That obsession with preserving Jeep's image has led to a lawsuit with GM over the latest Hummer and to the Liberty's Jeepier-than-thou appearance.

Of course the Liberty was going to feature a grille with seven slats, but the Liberty goes further by grabbing styling cues from both the '97 Dakar and '98 Jeepster concepts. It's basically the Dakar's upright proportions wedded to the Jeepster's bug-eyed exaggeration of the Wrangler's nose. Except for fussiness on the hood between the headlight blisters and too-busy taillights, the design is remarkably attractive, contemporary and obviously Jeep. It's not just another SUV box -- it's its own unique box with really big fender bulges, and scant front and rear overhangs.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
June 1, 2015
2012 Jeep Liberty 4WD 4-Door Sport

One Bad Compromise SUV.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Bought this thing brand new in Dec. of 2011, and at the time seemed ok; was at lease end w/ an '08 TrailBlazer SS, so there was an immediate sense of let down, but ... As an SUV seems to be competent enough... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
April 13, 2015
For 2012 Jeep Liberty

Good solid vehicle, terrible fuel mileage

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Bought it new in 2012, great pricing on it as it was beginning to be phased out. I was looking for a basic body on frame type vehicle with traditional 4 wheel drive, and I got it. Even though it's 'old school'... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
February 7, 2016
2008 Jeep Liberty 4WD 4-Door Limited

good value for the amount paid

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
i think a more flexible transmission would have made this car one of the best jeeps ever made!
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
See all user reviews »
Looking for other models of the Jeep Liberty?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used
s