The 2009 Jeep Liberty is a true dual-purpose SUV that you can actually drive off road on tough trails, without too many resulting on-road compromises.
Jeep upgrades the Liberty’s on-road manners for 2009 by tweaking the SUV’s suspension and steering. Kelley Blue Book states, “At freeway speeds, the revised suspension provides a smooth and quiet ride, yet on winding roads the steering is responsive and body lean is well controlled. However, it is away from paved roads where the Jeep Liberty really shines, with two highly capable four-wheel drive systems, All-speed Traction Control, Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist and anti-lock brakes with rough road detection giving the Liberty truly impressive off-road credentials.”
Edmunds complains about the Jeep’s performance in routine driving duties. “The V6 engine is torquey enough to live up to its Jeep heritage, we suppose, but the progress of the Liberty (4,030 pounds in 2WD, 4,222 pounds in 4WD) is best described as deliberate. The automatic's shifts are a bit clunky. Simply put, there are far better powertrains out there.” When trail-running, Truck Trend observes, “Engine power was sufficient and throttle response smooth. The automatic-transmission and transfer-case gearing helped us to climb extremely steep sections, as you'd expect a Jeep to be able to do.”
In conclusion, the NYTimes.com says, “On the road, the Jeep’s ride and handling could be charitably described as unfortunate. Sometimes a vehicle with a comfortable ride doesn’t handle very well. Sometimes a good-handling vehicle has an uncomfortable ride. The Liberty managed both a poor ride and lackluster handling, which is a stunning lack of achievement.”