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2012 Jeep Liberty

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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 261 Ratings for the 2008 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.7/10
    Performance
    8.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Great all around vehicle!

By on Thursday, August 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Love the big skyslider sunroof!"

Cons: "There is some wind noise from the sunroof on hwy"

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

"We have used this vehicle to: vacation, pull a trailer, haul home improvement supplies, move (with many trips) over 600mi., and ferry grandsons to soccer games and college events. My wife also loves it as a daily driver for around town and shopping use. There are no significant problems in use or any unexpected issues. With regular maintenance and attention to detail we expect to own it for many more years. It looks great too!"

UNBEATABLE CAR

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,126

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "lots of storage, good gas mileage"

Cons: "perfect little car."

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

"My jeep has outperformed my expectations. Does wonderful in ice and snow. Because of lifestyle changes, are needing to trade up to a van. I recommend my jeep liberty and know it will run for many years to come."

9 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Comfortable, Utilitarian, Feel safe inside

By on Monday, June 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable. Good for hauling. Feel safe inside."

Cons: "A bit sluggish. Not the best gas mileage."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Not the prettiest vehicle as was my 2002 Grand Cherokee. It is easy to enter & exit for a tall person. Nice capacity for hauling furniture and other goods. Changing back seats for hauling very easy to do. Driving is easy and road and surroundings view is good for an SUV. Wish mileage was better, but it is what it is! Changing to 4WD and back is a snap. Overall I am pleased with the vehicle."

This is jeep always run perfect looks good clean

By on Monday, June 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "This jeep is trail rated and in perfect condition."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I used this car to tow behind my motor home . I'm selling both of them and I do not need another car"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

jeep is my third car. Ready to sell.

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "blue book value $13,002 Trade in $11,923."

Cons: "none"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"great shape. Loaded, never repaired other than battery, tires, and oilchanges. 3rd car. Time to go now that I a retired"

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Great vehicle

By on Saturday, April 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"I love this car, very reliable and comfortable. The "oh God" handle in the front passenger seat is in a terrible location (jams tall passengers' knees), but that is the only thing I would change about this Jeep."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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