Flash Drive: 2009 Jeep Liberty
This 2009 review is representative of model years 2008 to 2012.
By Staff of MSN Autos
I’ve owned multiple Jeeps, but this one is better than all of them. Here, Jeep has finally managed to build a modern engine, one that is smooth and refined where previous engines have been decidedly farmlike. In spite of the refinement, this Jeep stays true to its roots. The Liberty is rugged, with big, solid controls all the way down to the door handles. And the elevated ride height and commanding view from the driver’s seat provide a solid foundation for the off-roading that made Jeep famous in the first place. It’s a classic-style Jeep with an engine that’s bound to be a future classic! –Paul Hagger
The Liberty seems to be from an era gone by, from a time when a small SUV was still based on a truck and drove like a truck. With the introduction of so many new crossovers, the idea behind the Liberty seems to be passé. Sure, it’s a Jeep, and as the badge on the side states, it’s “trail rated” with plenty of off-road capability. But for everyday driving, the narrow floor space in front, trucklike ride and basic interior don’t seem to match up with the $27K sticker on our test vehicle. That said, the rear seat is comfortable and folds down to create a rather large, flat cargo space. And our tester featured Jeep’s “Sky Slider” canvas roof, which opens the length of the roof — a very cool summer feature. So while the Liberty is not a bad vehicle, unless you plan to do any off-pavement driving, a car-based crossover may be a better choice. –Perry Stern
The new Jeep Liberty Sport is a small SUV that would be happy living away from the city. The Liberty Sport tested came with the trailer towing package, skid plates and a huge sky slider sunroof, and a price tag of $27,000. If I lived in the mountains, this would be enough equipment for me. But when the Liberty Sport is compared against the less off-road savvy Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV-4, it is easy to see the need to have more creature comforts like steering-wheel controls, a multi-information display and more legroom and headroom. The competitors also offer engines that achieve better gas mileage. Where the Jeep excels is its off-road prowess. The “trail rated” option will enable you to go almost anywhere you want, governed only by your own driving abilities. Throw in a really cool full-length sunroof and you are ready to enjoy the sun on the way to your final destination. –Joe Chulick