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2012 Jeep Liberty

Overview
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2012 Jeep Liberty Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 5.7

Now in its second generation, today's Jeep Liberty – despite modest enhancements for 2011 – isn't feeling the love from its design team at Jeep. As the successor to the now-iconic Cherokee (with heads bowed, we pause to reflect the good times we had...) both first and second generations of the Liberty may seemingly offer more luxury and refinement, but the Jeep fan base notices little beyond their expanded mass. Compounding the weight gain is virtually no ground clearance, and to fit true off-road-rated rubber you absolutely must lift the vehicle. The above "good" news is marginalized even further by the 3.7-liter V6 retained by the Liberty's product team, when every other RWD Jeep has been graced with the company's vastly better 3.6-liter six. An all-new Liberty replacement is reportedly due within the next two model years – and we can't wait.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you enjoy the Jeep brand but regard a Grand Cherokee as too much of a financial stretch, and the down-market Patriot and Compass seem more trial than trail, the Liberty might be your cup of green tea. And both trail-rated 4WD systems – Command-Trac II and Selec-Trac II – provide a leg-up on the Jeep Liberty's car-based competition. That said, we'd caution against overspending; as you get closer to $30K a Grand Cherokee is much more compelling in both its utility and sport.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you prefer to take your Jeep in pure, unadulterated doses, both the new Grand Cherokee and newish Wrangler deliver the goods in a far more credible fashion. In today's market a carmaker's product needs to deliver at least one thing incredibly well; today's Liberty delivers, at best, mid-level performance both on-road and off.

What's New for 2012

Available in three trims – Sport, Limited and Limited Jet – the 2012 Jeep Liberty enjoys a reduced MSRP ($26,960 plus destination) for 2012, which essentially throws in the transportation fee of $795 from the previous year. New color offerings – Mineral Gray, Canyon Brown Pearl, Rescue Green Pearl, True Blue Pearl and Black Forest Green Pearl – will imbue your new Liberty with either off-road machismo or patriotic fervor. Owners are reportedly athletic and, we hope, imaginative.

Driving the Liberty

Driving Impressions The Jeep Liberty suffers a platform whose time and market have come and gone. Those wanting a true off-road platform can look to Jeep's own 4-door Wrangler, while those preferring...

urban comforts and on-road composure can opt for numerous car-based crossovers from Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Kia and (even) Jeep. That said, if the Liberty's combination of towing and off-roading maintains an appeal, you'll not be disappointed by the Liberty's on-road composure. It is ultimately more awkward than the new Grand Cherokee, and its ride suffers when compared to the Wrangler Unlimited, but within the context of a dual-purpose SUV the Liberty is inoffensive. For the few prospects truly interested in a new Liberty, that dynamic – or lack thereof – will probably suffice.

Sky Slider Full Open Roof
If there remains one compelling feature in the Jeep Liberty menu, it is the continued availability of the Sky Slider Full Open Roof. A canvas roof that opens in much the same way as a sunshade, the Sky Slider fully retracts, opening the roof for both front and rear-seat passengers. As one longtime Jeep enthusiast noted, to enjoy the outdoors you need to see the outdoors; few things allow a better appreciation of outdoor scenery than the Sky Slider. And at just $1,200, it is less than one-third the cost of Fiat's up-charge for the 500 Cabriolet.

Selec-Trac II Active Full-Time 4WD
This electronically controlled full-time 4WD system provides the driver the choice between 2WD and full-time 4WD (Auto). When 4WD is selected, Selec-Trac II distributes torque to both front and rear axles in virtually all road – or off-road – conditions. And for those with motorhomes, Selec-Trac II's neutral mode allows flat towing. For under $500, why wouldn't you? Selec-Trac is a registered trademark of Chrysler LLC.

2012 Jeep Liberty Details
Interior

Most of the Liberty team's interior capital was expended on the Limited Jet, new in 2011. An attempt to provide an urban environment to this most suburban of Jeeps, the Jet boasts a 9-speaker audio system, a standard security system with side-curtain airbags, and available Dark Slate gray leather seating with accent stitching. And at Chrysler, the leather-wrapped steering wheel is becoming ubiquitous, a fact glove makers must loathe. Ultimately, the environment is adequate, storage reasonable and, thankfully, versatility intact with a generous rear hatch and folding rear seats.

Exterior

In its basic proportion the Liberty remains attractive, a fact highlighted by Jeep's design team and (recent) concept variants of same. A modest lift and more aggressive off-road rubber make a tremendous difference in the Liberty's stance and athleticism. Regrettably, on the showroom floor the Liberty's mass overwhelms the rubber, while brightwork places the visual elements in a neither-fish-nor-fowl stylistic quagmire. We will, however, offer a round of applause for the Liberty's Sky Slider full-length sunroof. If out in the great outdoors, this is a beautiful way of sharing its greatness with your passengers.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Jeep Liberty remains, thankfully, a box. And while its 4,000-plus pounds effectively mask any real efficiency, there's a lot to be said for 26 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seat, and some 62 cubic feet with the rear seat folded. Beyond that, 4-wheel disc braking is a benefit, as is a standard V6. And despite its inadequacies, the V6 constitutes a blessing when compared to the lackluster fours of the Patriot and Compass.

Optional Equipment

The 2012 Jeep Liberty may not be a Wrangler, but with Selec-Trac II (featuring full-time AWD, 4WD Lo and a rearward-biased torque split) and an optional Sky Slider sunroof, it can come very close to duplicating Wrangler fun – if not its functionality. If opting for 4WD, it also pays to buy some extra protection in the guise of Jeep's Skid Plate Group, too cheap at a suggested retail of $225. And we also elected to check the Trailer Towing box (which includes a 2-inch receiver hitch), given the Liberty's 5,000-pound towing capability. Finally, in our demonstration build we popped for the Popular Equipment Group (includes roof rails, cargo cover, foglights and 225/75R16 rubber) because it's popular.

Under the Hood

Strapped with the underperforming 3.7-liter V6, there is no joy in Jeepville – the Liberty product planners have struck out. With an additional six cubic inches of displacement when compared to Jeep's new 3.6 liter, the Liberty lump delivers 80 fewer horsepower! To its credit, the torque deficit isn't that extreme (235 for the 3.7 versus. 260 for the 3.6), but that doesn't make the logic any more, uh, logical. Obviously, Jeep execs don't want to spend the dollars to reengineer this platform for a new powerplant. Their hesitancy to invest should on some level guide your decision to invest. Finally, the horsepower deficit isn't helped by last century's 4-speed automatic propelling this century's 4,000-plus pounds. Give us an extra gear here!

3.7-liter V6
210 horsepower at 5,200 rpm
235 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/22 (2WD), 15/21 (4WD)

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2012 Jeep Liberty Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.2
Out of 10

Based on 229 Ratings for the 2008 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.7/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Exactly the vehicle for me.

By on Friday, May 30, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "performs perfectlly"

Cons: "no cruise control"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

On the beach, Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina.

"I have used this Liberty for everything. It's very comfortable to travel in, or drive to work. The off road capabilities are amazing. I have taken it into deep sand, beach sand, mountain trails, extremely steep hills, and everything else. I use it to pull a boat and launch it, sometimes in extremely steep and slippery conditions. It has performed perfectly in all situations. This is just a great vehicle."

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

On the beach, Ocracoke Island, Outer Banks, North Carolina.

Becareful buying these

By on Sunday, May 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"Please be careful buying any jeep with the 3.7 or 4.7 liter engine. I bought what I thought was a very nice and loaded 2009 jeep liberty. I did a little research ,and didn't see anything pop out as far as major issues. I was wrong. Jeep has an issue with almost any and all of the 3.7 and 4.7 engines. The left bank cylinder head has a design flaw, and carbons up in under 30,000 miles and burns the valves requiring a $3,000 repair job. I bought this used at 59,000 miles ,and just after my 30 day warranty from a Toyota dealer, the left cylinder head needed replaced. As the the second owner of this jeep,the warranty is only 3 years or 36,00 miles. Not the usual 5 year,60,000 miles. If you do not believe me, Please Google jeep 3.7 and 4.7 cylinder head issues and cylinder miss fire issue. Please do this before you buy one. I ended up spending 4200.00 extra after it was all fixed!!!! Do not make the mistake I did. If you buy it new though, You have a warranty, So it doesnt matter. jeep will fix the issue for free. Please Google it!!!"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love my Jeep Liberty!

By on Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Spacious, reliable, nice design"

Cons: ""Popping" sound when turning hard"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I purchased my 2010 Jeep Liberty in January of 2014. I traded in a car that had no working heat, with 160k miles, and cracked heads. So, when I bought my Jeep, needless to say, I was on cloud nine. 3 months & 4 ice storms later, I still love my Jeep just as much! The 4wd was amazing during the winter. We had a few harsh ice storms and the ole Jeep never thought twice about it. It is very spacious and wonderful to take on trips. My only complaint about the Jeep is that it tends to make a "popping" noise when I cut it hard to the left or right, like trying to get in a tight parking spot. But, there's a chance it could just be something minor with my vehicle. Gas mileage is not bad at all. I drive 15 miles one way to work each day and 35 miles one way to church twice a week and I fill up once a week, normally for right at $50 (at about $3.20 per gallon). So you do the math there. I have no complaints at all with my gas mileage, considering it is a 4wd SUV. It is just my husband & I, so we don't regularly have anyone in our backseat, but when we do have extra people with us, they find the backseat comfortable and spacious. Another important thing to remember is that Jeeps hold their value really well! Highly recommend the Jeep Liberty."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Comfortable and reliable automobile

By on Sunday, April 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very comfortable for driver, fun and nice looking."

Cons: "Gas mileage could be better."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We have owned Jeeps for ever. We've found them to be reliable cars and also found them to be safe for our children as their first cars. We've never had any trouble with any of our Jeeps. I rate this Liberty as excellent. It looks great and is so comfortable and fun to drive."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I've ever owned!

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Only routine maintenance. No engine problems."

Cons: "Keyless lock unreliable. Rear wiper broke."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I absolutely love this vehicle! Reliable, tough and pretty. What more can you ask for? Yeah, it's a bumpy ride. It's a Jeep! Get over it! The navigation system is THE BEST I've ever used in ANY other vehicle. It finds everything! The keyless start is cool and I had fun scaring people with it. But, I had an intermittent problem with the keyless lock. The lock can unlock without pressing any buttons. I would sometimes return to my vehicle and find it unlocked. I have learned that this is not an uncommon issue with this model. I was lucky that no one ever stole anything but this is a flaw that could have been costly. Also, the rear wiper mechanism stopped working shortly after I bought it. I never paid to get it fixed but it would have been nice. Overall, I love this vehicle!"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

2010 That didn't go into service until 2011

By on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "The car is virtually brand new."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Though the car is a 2010 model year, it did not go into service until 2011. It literally has 3 months of original warranty left. You heard the story of the car the little old lady drove to church on sundays? My story is similar. The car was owned by my wife's 91 year old father. They live in Grand Haven, MI and he used it to drive around the lake front and to go grocery shopping...PERIOD!! Hence the reason it only has 14,500 miles. He just got too old for driving and we had to take the car away from him. The fact is I don't need the car as I already have two vehicles. One of which is a company car that I put all my millage on. The other just sits in the garage. So I just want to get rid of this car quickly, which is the reason I am selling it so cheap. If you want a jeep, and you want the best deal around, buy this before its gone."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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