By KBB.com Editors
Die-hard Jeep fans may have worried that the new 2008 Jeep Liberty would go soft in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience, but that hasn't happened. In many ways the latest Jeep Liberty is more civilized, thanks to a long list of features, improved ride and handling and better fuel economy. At the same time, a pair of very capable four-wheel drive systems, a highly functional interior and more rugged styling show that the Liberty retains its off-road roots. While it's difficult to meet the various needs of modern SUV buyers, Jeep fans can rest easy knowing the redesigned Liberty still embodies all that the Jeep brand has come to represent.
You'll like the Jeep Liberty if you want a mid-size SUV with rugged good looks, room for five and go-anywhere off-road capabilities. Plus, the Sky Slider Roof lets you have open air fun without the added noise and security concerns of owning a soft-top Jeep Wrangler.
You may not like the Jeep Liberty if you don't plan to venture away from paved roads. By focusing strictly on on-road handling, many newer crossover SUVs offer more comfort and efficiency than the Liberty while still offering SUV roominess.
After a thorough restyling, the 2008 Jeep Liberty re-emerges with a more squared-off appearance and a host of appealing features. A new four-wheel-drive system, optional retractable fabric roof, redesigned suspension and available MyGIG multimedia infotainment system make the new Liberty a more appealing vehicle than the one it replaces.
Driving Impressions The 2008 Jeep Liberty must contend with both on- and off-road driving situations and it manages to perform admirably in both. At freeway speeds, the all-new 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. The Liberty's V6 provides plenty of power for tackling demanding trails, but on the open road it feels lethargic, requiring frequent downshifts to maintain speed when traveling uphill.
Sky Slider Roof
Opening the optional Sky Slider Roof lets the sun shine in and the breeze waft around the cabin, yet with the soft-top closed interior noise is on par with the standard metal-roof Jeep Liberty.
MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System
Combining a hands-free phone system, voice-recognition, digital music storage, GPS navigation and real-time traffic information, the Liberty's MyGIG option offers lots of information, communication and entertainment resources in one easy-to-use device.
The interior of the 2008 Jeep Liberty offers the clean, functional simplicity one expects from a Jeep. From the perspective of off-road enthusiasts, the Liberty's easy-to-clean, hard plastic interior is ideal, but those who enjoy a bit of panache from a vehicle's interior may be disappointed. Head room is good in all seating positions; however, with the front seats adjusted for normal-sized adults, rear-seat leg room can be tight. Cargo space behind the second row is good, but those needing more space will appreciate standard 60/40 flat-folding rear seats and the optional folding front-passenger seat.Exterior
The previous Jeep Liberty had a more rounded appearance. However, for 2008 the Liberty reverts to the squared look of the original Jeep Cherokee while also presenting a modern take on classic Jeep styling cues. A box-like profile and prominent fender flairs create a solid purposeful stance, while its signature seven-slot grille and hexagonal headlamps with round lighting elements give the Liberty a face that looks distinctly Jeep. In back, the spare tire has been moved beneath the vehicle, allowing for a new tailgate with flip-up rear glass.
The 2008 Jeep Liberty is offered in two trims: Sport and Limited. The standard equipment list for the base Sport trim includes air conditioning, body-colored bumpers and fender flares, MP3-capable CD player with auxiliary audio input jack and power windows, mirrors and door locks. The Limited Edition Liberty adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, YES Essentials stain-resistant seat fabric, premium Infinity speakers with subwoofer and 368-watt amplifier, chrome exterior accents and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Standard safety features for both trims include anti-lock brakes, stability control with roll-over mitigation, traction control, front airbags and two-row side-curtain airbags.
There are several option packages available to further outfit the Jeep Liberty, including the Sport trim's Popular Equipment Group, which features a six-speaker stereo, fold-flat front passenger seat, fog lamps, cruise control, tinted glass and a two-pronged power outlet. Available for the Limited Edition Liberty is Premium Group 1, which adds leather-trimmed heated seats, remote start and memory functions; and Premium Group 2, which adds automatic climate control, rear park assist, 18-inch wheels and rain-sensing wipers. A tow package with Class-III hitch, seven-pin wiring harness and trailer sway control can be added to either trim.
The 2008 Jeep Liberty is powered by a 3.7-liter V6. It offers plenty of power when tackling rough trails but the on-road acceleration is underwhelming. The Limited Edition Liberty features a standard four-speed automatic transmission, which is also available as a replacement for the Sport trim's standard six-speed manual transmission. The Liberty is offered with a choice of Command-Trac II part-time four-wheel drive or Selec-Trac II full-time four-wheel drive. Both systems include a low-speed transfer case which multiplies engine torque to help traverse challenging terrain at very low speeds.
210 horsepower at 5200 rpm
235 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22, 15/21 (4WD w/ automatic)
By kp on Wednesday, February 04, 2015
I owned and sold this caroverall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I had absolutely no problems with this vehicle. It was ordered with every valuable option available in April 2011. (wasn't a fan of the sky slider so i got the moon roof) Serviced only when required i.e. when the change oil warning prompted. (Use synthetic) Performed flawlessly in snow, icy and hot summer road conditions (got 4 michelin primacy mx4, REMARKABLE!). Didn't care much for 1. Gas mileage was City: 16mpg; Hwy: 22mpg ( The 3.7L eng mated to a 4speed trans seems to think its a V8 :) 2. Absence of a back up camera Buying points: 1. The Uconnect head unit was a trailblazer for the others that followed - very responsive. 2. Selec trac 4wd 3. Classic Style (reminiscent of original cherokee) 4. 5000lbs hitch 5. Premium wheels 18" 6. Remote start 7. Climate control I was reluctant to sell but needed a truck."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Chris on Wednesday, January 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "good 4x4?"
Cons: "lack of company required recall"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Everything else you can figure out with some test drives, photos, and generic reviews... what Jeep refuses to announce is that the Sky Slider roof has a severe design flaw which basically guarantees the roof will mechanically fail and either be stuck open or stuck shut destroying the value of the vehicle and making it basically impossible to drive. And since it's a hundreds for a mechanic just to look at it and a LOT more to fix sticking you with a monthly bill for the life of your loan on a vehicle that you'll be unable to sell without throwing thousands of your own money into the mix"
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Doug on Tuesday, January 06, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great to drive in the back woods. Fun fun fun."
Cons: "Bad gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This is my second jeep liberty and performance is great. My only complaint is the gas mileage. It's built to withstand the toughest of conditions."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By GP on Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks, Comfort, Quiet ride, Great Price, Drive"
Cons: "Gas Mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Wish Jeep still made this Style. The only downfall with the 6cyl is mileage per gallon about 19 on highway. Other then that I LOVE THIS CAR"
2 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Scott on Sunday, November 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "The price was fair , I feel safe in it"
Cons: "could use a little more headroom"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my second Jeep and it handles amazingly. Driving in snow and ice, it is truly awesome. I don't slide going stoping or even turning. When I bought it I new it's fuel mileage was going to around 18 to 22 mpg. It's the trade off you have to accept for power and safety. No it doesn't ride like a Lincoln, but it's comfortable for where it can go. Will I buy another, absolutely yes."
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By B.D. on Saturday, November 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"It will go nearly anywhere in nearly any type of weather. Those who complain about the 21 mpg should try driving a Prius in the woods. Haven't had a problem with the vehicle since new (almost 4 years ago). Jeeps are the only way to go in northern Wisconsin."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful