While Jeep has strayed away from its roots of producing only highly capable off-road vehicles, the 2008 Jeep Liberty remains a true rock-hopper. The same characteristics that make for good off-road performance can also enhance on-road safety when the weather turns ugly. Rain-soaked or snow-covered roads won’t pose much of an obstacle to the Liberty. Jeep’s Command-Trac and Selec-Trac II four-wheel-drive systems are capable, Internet Auto Guide said: “Both four-wheel-drive systems make the Liberty highly capable off road, and they are aided by the addition of Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.” Even the seemingly testy NYTimes.com admitted, “To Jeep’s credit, all the good safety equipment is standard.”
Regarding handling stability, Edmunds reported, “After a report came in from an enthusiast magazine about a rollover of the former model during testing, Jeep made some modifications to the Liberty's suspension. The improvement garnered the Liberty an additional star in the government's rollover rating. We anticipate the '08 Liberty will do at least as well now that Jeep has widened the new SUV's track by an inch up front and slightly more than an inch in back.”
In terms of objective crash tests with the Liberty, Jeep scores five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for front and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the Liberty “good” for front impacts but “marginal” for side impacts.