The 2008 Liberty is back with a whole new look, and an updated platform to make this one of the more enjoyable small-to-mid sized SUVs Iâ€™ve driven recently. Iâ€™m a big fan of the Commander, which is the big, strong, SUV in Jeepâ€™s lineup that commands respect both on- and off-road, and the new Liberty truly feels like it belongs in the same family. With itâ€™s increased size, and upgraded suspension, taking this vehicle into the snow was thoughtless as it handled slippery terrain with absolute confidence. It delivered reliably on the pavement as well with style points left over.
In general, I appreciate the new look a lot. I donâ€™t mind the rounded features of past Liberties, but they always seemed sort of â€œcuteâ€ to me. Not so with the updated styling, looking lean and mean and strong. The new grill also looks less like the Wrangler and more like the kid brother of the Commander as well. Inside, the new platform gave a little more leg room for both the backseat and the driver, with both sets of passengers appreciating it. The interior is a slight bit on the bland side, but very clean and easy to manage. All details were logical and felt like they belonged. Another notable change was the transition from a rear door with a side-hinged door to a top-hinged lifting gate (complete with separate opening glass window). I go back and forth on which I prefer, but I do like moving the spare tire into the interior and off the rear gate, as it can interfere with bike racks and other rear mounted items (I know you can put a standard bike rack on top of the spare, Iâ€™ve done it, but I donâ€™t believe you can use a hitch mounted bike rack, which is my preference with SUVs this tall).
Driving the car, as I said earlier, was great. In all road conditions it handled well and consistently. Itâ€™s not a race car, but got me and my passengers through any corners I came across, while not spilling any coffees in the process. Again, I don’t recommend speeding along in this, but youâ€™ll get there at the speed limit no problem.
One of the main thoughts I got from this car was that it didnâ€™t disappoint me in any department. It was fun, looked great, and was surprisingly easy to navigate in the city. Parking was simple, visibility was fantastic, and the seats were comfortable. All in all, I was very pleased. If they could only figure out a way to get 25+ mpg out of it, or 250+hp, Iâ€™d be ecstatic. 4.5 stars.