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Jeep Liberty History

The following historical data of the Jeep Liberty, manufactured by Jeep, were retrieved from many sources.

The Jeep Liberty is a compact SUV produced by Jeep marquee of Chrysler. Introduced for the 2002 model year as a replacement for the Cherokee, the Liberty was priced between the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. It was the smallest of the four door Jeep SUVs up until the car based four-door Compass and Patriot arrived for 2007. The Liberty featured a unibody-on-ladder-frame construction, which added to its ride and handling, and enhanced its off-road capabilities. It is assembled at the Toledo North Assembly Plant in the United States, as well as in other countries including Egypt and Venezuela.

First Generation (2002-2007)

Inspired by styling from Dakar and Jeepster concept cars, the Liberty was intended as a replacement for the discontinued Jeep Cherokee. Three trim levels were initially offered’ the top end Limited, a more rugged looking Renegade and the base Sport. All were made available with either 2WD or 4WD. In 2007, the Renegade trim level was replaced with the Latitude that appeared to focus more on an urban appearance.

The Liberty was the first Jeep to use two new PowerTech engines; the 2.4L straight-4, dropped in 2006, and the 3.7L V6. The VM Motori 2.8L straight-4 common rail turbodiesel, became available in CRD branded 2005-2006 Sport and Limited models. The diesel utilized a variable geometry turbocharger and generated 160 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The overbuilt nature of the diesel added nearly 200 pounds to the CRD’s curb weight versus the gasoline model. DaimlerChrysler introduced the CRD to gauge the marketability of diesel engines in North America. The Liberty was also the first Jeep vehicle to use rack and pinion steering.

Only available in 2005 and 2006 for the Sport and Limited models, the 2.8L VM Motori CRD has since been discontinued due to stricter 2007 United States diesel emission standards. Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, and California had already banned sale of the vehicle due to their rigid state emissions regulations.

The Liberty was not the first Jeep vehicle to use an independent front suspension, as the Jeep Wagoneer first used it in the 1960s. However, the Wagoneer with the independent front suspension was never put into production, due to how quickly the bushings would wear out. Jeep exceeded their expectations by selling 10,000 Liberty CRD models in its first calendar year of production. In addition, the Liberty was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2002.

Second Generation (2008-Present)

The Jeep Liberty received a complete redesign for the 2008 model year with a more boxy and off-road look, like that of the 2007 Dodge Nitro. The 2008 Liberty debuted at the 2007 New York International Auto Show.

With the smaller Patriot and Compass crossover SUVs now available to cater to MPG-conscious buyers, the four-cylinder engine was dropped from the Liberty’s offerings. The iron-black, aluminum-head V6 was the only engine available for 2008. Towing capacity was 5,000 pounds. Jeep discontinued the Liberty CRD for the American market because it couldn’t meet tougher 2007 emission standards for diesel engines. Transmission choices were both carry-overs: a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic. Standard equipment included electronic stability control with roll mitigation, traction control, and anti-lock brakes with brake assist. New features included standard side airbags. Optional features are rain-sensing wipers, Sirius Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, a navigation system, and the MyGig entertainment system, complete with a 30GB hard drive.

Two models were offered at rollout: Sport and Limited. Wheel choices were 16-, 17-, and 18-inch. Among the more distinctive features was the Sky Slider, a power roof made from reinforced acrylic cloth that opens over the front and rear seats. The Sky Slider opens up to 60 inches by 30 inches, which was the largest opening in its class. Jeep claimed that the idea behind the Sky Slider was to give consumers the open-air feeling from previous Jeep models while maintaining the rigidity and safety of a sturdy frame.

The 2009 Liberty was relatively unchanged from the 2008 models with the exception of stiffer rear axle shafts and retuned springs, shocks, anti-roll bars, steering gear valve, low rollback brake calipers and a revised brake pedal ratio. The six-speed manual transmission was dropped, and the four-speed automatic was now standard.

[Source: Wikipedia and Jeep]

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