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2012 Jeep Liberty Performance

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The Liberty's powertrain can move the Liberty quickly enough, but we have no kind words for it. The 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 engine is torquey enough, but its rather low-revving, raspy, and not altogether smooth character just barely fits in with the Liberty's more rugged character. Because it's a low-revver, relatively speaking, it manages just fine with the somewhat rough-shifting four-speed automatic.

Rear or four-wheel-drive layouts are offered throughout the lineup. Four-wheel-drive models don't track quite as well on the road, but in either model the steering is reasonably responsive. That said, neither handling isn't great, as it feels uncertain especially over choppy highway surfaces; but it does translate to good low-speed maneuverability--an attribute that weekend warriors and city-dwellers will like.

Off-roading remained one of the best reasons for choosing the Liberty over a more easygoing crossover model, yet Jeep has, puzzlingly, dropped the trail-focused Renegade model for 2012. Two 4WD systems remain offered: Selec-Trac II is a full-time system that's also off-road capable but better oriented for snowy roads, while Command Trac is a part-time system intended for trail-running.

The 2012 Jeep Liberty has disappointing performance on the road.

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