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Jeep Liberty : Used

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Justin Pritchard
Liberty loved for off-road capability and flexibility
Model: Jeep Liberty : Used
Vehicle Type: 4x4

History/Description: Packed with surprising off-road capabilities, standard V6 power and a long list of available high-end features, the last generation Jeep Liberty connected with the shopper who was after a machine designed to tackle virtually anything.

2008 Jeep Liberty front 3/4 view
Photo: Philippe Champoux

This 5-seater 4x4 got a real transfer case with low-range gearing, Hill Descent Control, plenty of ground clearance, skid-plates and removable, replaceable fender flares. Being “Trail Rated” meant that the Liberty met a variety of off-road criteria, including water-fording and climbing.

However, Liberty wasn’t just intended for slinging mud and tackling trails. Features like a folding cloth “Sky Slider” roof, household power outlet, navigation, heated leather seats and an up-level stereo helped lend everyday sophistication to the model, too.

All Libertys in this generation were powered by a 3.7L, 210 horsepower V6. Note that this powerplant, though fairly solid, is less powerful and thirstier than much of the competition.

What Owners Like About the Used Jeep Liberty: Capability, interior flexibility, up-level features, ride comfort and confidence were all rated highly by Liberty owners. Visibility is also rated highly, as is the up-level stereo system.

What Owners Dislike: Many Liberty owners wish for less road and tire noise at speed, more room in the front footwells, and easier reach for the shift lever, which is mounted towards the passenger side of the centre console.

Common Issues: Start your test drive with a number of checks to be sure the Liberty you’re considering hasn’t been carelessly off-roaded or swamped in deep water or mud. Warning signs include sand or silt buildup in and around the bottom of the radiator, grass or turf hanging out beneath, or excessive mud and dirt packed into nooks and crannies underneath the body.

Drivers should “feel” the automatic transmission for any signs of slippage or a “shudder” at lower speeds, which could indicate a problem with the transmission itself, or the computer that controls it. If the transmission exhibits any unwelcomed behavior, be sure to have it checked by a mechanic.

Have the Liberty checked for signs of oil leakage, particularly around the rear of the oil pan and at the rear differential. Be sure any leaks are remedied ahead of your purchase. Additionally, check for any “check engine” or “Service 4WD” lights in the instrument cluster, which could indicate a variety of problems. Note that while driving, any clunking or “popping” sounds likely indicate a worn-out suspension component, and that the four-wheel drive system should switch easily between its various modes.

Ensure proper operation of the power door locks, both from the interior switch and remote. Ditto for the power windows. Note that some owners reported problems with the air conditioner as it ages, too.

The Verdict Of The Used Jeep Liberty: Successfully finding a reliable and enjoyable used Liberty should be easy with a little common sense. Shop patiently, seek out a model with all maintenance records and with a thumbs-up from a mechanic, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying a capable and rugged driving companion.

2008 Jeep Liberty interior
Photo: Philippe Champoux

2012 Jeep Liberty
jeep liberty 2012
2012 Jeep Liberty
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Justin Pritchard
Justin Pritchard
Automotive expert