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2012 Jeep Liberty Overview

Zac Estrada
Automotive Editor - January 2, 2013

The Liberty Sport starts off with the standard 3.7-liter V6 that powers all Libertys, producing 210 horsepower and mated to a four-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive is standard, though various four-wheel drive systems are optional. Also included are anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags and an electronic stability control that includes a roll mitigation system. Included on the Sport are power windows, mirrors, locks with remote keyless entry, air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, hill start assist, satellite radio and an AUX input. Latitude trim offers leather upholstery, heated and powered front seats, 18-inch chrome wheels, chrome trim and privacy glass. The top of the line Limited Jet Edition gets 20-inch chrome wheels, black headlamp trims and brushed chrome roof rails.

The Toyota 4Runner has similar off-road ability, a more powerful and refined V6 and more space, but it costs more money and still has an unrefined interior. The Nissan Xterra has a better V6 with better-made interior and decent on-road performance, but it's more expensive and lacks some of the available luxury features of the Liberty.

The Land Rover LR2 has a clever Terrain Response system for off-roading but also has a nice interior and very good on-road manners with the prestige of a Land Rover badge. It's significantly more expensive than a similar Jeep, though. A compact crossover like the Mitsubishi Outlander is available with a locking 4WD system and offers a third-row seat with superior on-road performance and comfort, but lacks true off-road ability that the Jeep has.

For those who need a go-anywhere SUV that doesn't break the bank, the Jeep Liberty offers rugged looks with available four-wheel drive for more serious conditions. It also has an airy interior and upright shape. But competitors offer better engines or superior on-road ability, or both. And even in Jeep's own stable, the larger Grand Cherokee isn't much more money than a top-line Liberty and is much more powerful and much more refined.

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