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Jeep Liberty

rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
This is the vehicle that has hard-core Jeepers in a fit. It has an IFS, solid rear axle, 3.7L OHC V6 with 210 HP, choice of Command-Trac or Select-Trac, and an outside door-mounted rear spare tire.

It's to be positioned in between the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee in the marketplace. Eventually it will replace the Cherokee.

I think it will be a home run for Jeep! :)

Bob

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Comments

  • md2002md2002 Posts: 142
    regarding the Cherokee is it would be called "Cherokee Classic" since it still sells well after 14 years and no updates. I figure the Liberty will not truly replace it, but rather the Cherokee will fade away in say 10 years or so after Jeep has scraped the bottom of the bowl so bad your hair stands on end.

    I think the photo is nice, but I WILL NOT buy a 1-2 year new Jeep entry, not after the JGC fiasco of 1999-2000 which is finally clearing up
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I'd be very surprised if the current Cherokee remains here in the USA beyond three years, if that. My understanding is that, the Liberty is such a radical departure from what Jeep has produced in the past, that it will take 2-3 years for Jeepers to warm up to the new model. Keeping the old Cherokee in the lineup, eases their pain somewhat.

    Regarding the name Cherokee Classic, I don't think that will happen, now that the new model has no reference to the word "Cherokee." I think the name Cherokee will remain as is.

    What I do think will happen, is that there will be, in about 3 years, a new Grand Cherokee, that will be offered in both long and short wheelbases. The long wheelbase version will get 3-row seating, and "that" will be the "Grand" Cherokee, and the new short-wheelbase version will simply be call the "Cherokee."

    Bob
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I heard they scrapped a LWB for the Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep line-up because they didn't want to get intoa weeing contest with Ford and GM. If there is a LWB GC, I'll bet it is based heavily on the durango, maybe a durango with some different sheet metal and offer more gadgetry in the GC, kinda the same way the Expedition and Navigator are twins.

    -mike
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    That's not what I heard. I had heard that there definitely would be a long-wheelbase, 3-row seating Grand Cherokee, when they redesign it. On the surface, yes, it does sound like it might compete with the Durango. However, I've also heard that the next Durango (and Dakota) will also be in for a significant change in the not too distant future. My understanding is the concept (cab-forward) MAXXcab will be the inspiration for the next Durango/Dakota. If that's the case, then a long-wheelbase GC doesn't sound so strange.

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    Check this out from another UK site! Go to the "NEWS" button, and scroll down till you see the Jeep Cherokee article, then click on "continue," for the full article and picture. Click on the photo of a Liberty Sport(?) to enlarge it. It looks great!!!!

    Bob

    http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/front_html_ie.html
  • this thing is not a pretty vehicle. it will sell well for the image conscious that want to say they have a jeep but dont want a jeep that can drive the rubicon...speaking of which I wonder if jeep will take a production liberty over this trail or have they already?

    should appeal to the folks that buy all the other suv's instead of a wrangler/cherokee/grandcherokee...
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    Every production Jeep must pass the Rubicon challenge, this one included.

    Bob
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    "Every production Jeep must pass the Rubicon challenge, this one included."

    Well, that statement is only valid until a corporate master changes his/her mind. The early reports were that the KJ (Liberty) did lousy on the Rubicon. To get it across, they practially had to drag it. Later reports suggest it won't be that bad, but its hard to think that going to IFS does anything other than improve on road manners at the expense of off road.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I heard the same reports you did. Yes, early versions barely made through the Rubicon. Recent reports say otherwise.

    With all due respect, I have to disagree with you regarding the IFS, as to to not being as off-road-worthy as a solid axle setup. I'm sure I don't have to mention the Hummer to you; its IFS/IRS are superb off road. The Hummer's biggest problem is that it is HUGE, and therefore not very nimble.

    Perhaps a more relevant comparison would be the new 2001 Montero, again with both IFS and IRS. Every report I've read on this vehicle has stated that it is excellent off road, and much better than the old solid rear version that it replaced. And... the old Montero was considered an excellent off-road vehicle. It is widely used (and respected) in Australia, Africa and Asia.

    Bob
  • Coming from a hardcore off-roading background I've got to say this: How many companies out there make an solid-to-independent conversion? Virtually NONE. How many make an independent-to-solid conversion? Several dozen. Not one magazine I have ever seen has anyone ever converted thier solid axle to an independent. Custom 4x4 fab shops will wet thier pants laughing at anyone's request to convert a solid to independent. Want to know why? Suspension articulation! The more suspension articulation a truck has, the less it's tendency to three-wheel, unlike the photos of the IFS Jeep KJ and Montero. The other advantage is traction. Why have only 3 wheels with traction when you can have 4? That's why hardcore off-roaders laugh at independent axles. Sure, independent axles are good for the street and moderate off-road use, but independents just won't cut it in a hardcore off-road environment.

    There's a definite difference between READING about something and actually PRACTICING it. Get behind a Jeep Cherokee, drive it through the Rubicon, and then do it again a IFS/IRS Montero. You'll see for yourself which truck is better off-road instead of relying on the manufacturer's over-inflated claims and techno-jargon of thier glossy magazine ads.

    The Motor Trend SUV comparo with the photo of the new Montero 3-wheeling is a source of entertainment among true 4x4 enthusiasts. Look at it. The tire in the air has ZERO suspension articulation. NONE. NADA. The first time I saw it I couldn't believe the editors had put the photo in the magazine. It clearly shows the true shortcomings of independent axles. That photo would have ended up on the cutting room floor at a true 4x4 magazine.

    In all my outings to Moab and Rubicon, I've NEVER seen an IFS equipped truck make the entire length of the more advanced (3+ and up Moab) trails. I've seen them being winched and towed out though. Seen a whole group of Durangos, some WAY lifted full-size Chevys, Explorers, a group of Land Rovers (I know they're solid axle, but I wanted to put them in here anyway), a group of Blazer/Jimmys, and --last but not least -- 2 Hummers all needing a tow during last year's Easter Jeep Safari at Moab. The brochures all said, "...maximum articulation necessary for 3+ trails." Guess they thought it didn't apply to them. What a laugh. The Hummers couldn't make it because they were too wide.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    You haven't told me anything I haven't heard before. I'm well aware of the articulation issue that you brought up. Solid axles may have an advantage in certain situations such as rock climbing.

    I'm also aware that virtually all Baja-type desert racing vehicles have IFS. So, depending on what you are doing off-road would determine what kind of suspension setup would work best.

    I'm also aware that the military has a strong preference for IFS/IRS, as opposed to solid axles. We know about the Hummer. Are you familiar with the new Oshkosh MTVR transport with IFS/IRS? Check out the following link.

    http://206.144.165.49/htm/defense/mtvr.cfm

    The bottom line is this: There aren't enough hardcore off-roaders like yourself out there for Jeep to continue with solid axles, and remain profitable. The public is demanding better handing SUVs. Jeep sales this year has plummeted because of all the other new (better handling/riding) SUVs now on the market.

    Jeep has to conform, or it will become extinct. As you said, IFS is good for moderate off-roading, which is what 99.99% of SUV buyers will ever encounter.

    The next-generation Range Rover is reported to be fully independent. I am also certain that when the Grand Cherokee gets redesigned, it too will be fully indepenedent.

    And as far as the Montero is concerned: I've read several off-road tests of that vehicle—not just the Motor Trend test, and every one of them praised the Montero's off-road ability. If I remember correctly, the Motor Trend people thought the Montero was equal to the Land Rover (off road) they tested.

    One final point: Solid axle development has been around for decades. We're just starting to learn what can be developed with IFS/IRS. I believe it was Rod Millin(?) who, about a year ago, put together a Toyota that looked like a lengthened early Land Cruiser that had a IFS/IRS with gobs (I mean GOBS!) of suspension travel. If I'm not mistaken, it was a cover story on Four Wheeler magazine. That truck was as off-road capabile as any off-roader I've ever seen.
    Bob
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    While I off-road alot for fun, I still am just doing it for fun and want something that drives good on the road. My slightly modified tacoma has taken me everywhere I like to go and gets me down the highway comfortably. But, if I want to get serious I can swap for a solid axle, lift it 12", anything I want if I turn hard-core. Why would any manufacturer put themselves out of business to appease a very small crowd? Toyota and Jeep have done excellent in the past at building a solid chassis that CAN be heavily modified.

    I just picked up a 01 Cherokee and the dealer said their allocation of the liberty was based on how many Cherokees they sold. I wouldn't be surprised if the Cherokee disappears after this year. $2500 worth of rebates, dealers wanting to sell Cherokees, a known solid chassis, solid-axle, and easily modified makes the Cherokee and easy pick over the liberty. The liberty looks like every other SUV, but will probably sell well so good for jeep. Whatever it takes to make DC stock goes up!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    the new Liberty will be able to handle 98% of most people's off-roading just fine. For those who few need that extra 2% capability, the Cherokee remains—at least for a year or two.

    I also predict that the new Liberty to be a huge sales success. It will draw NEW, and much-needed customers to Jeep showrooms. I fully understand that for hardcore Jeepers, it may take some time to warm up to. And... for some, anything new or different from Jeep, will be regarded as nothing less than sacrilegious, and that they will never accept the Liberty, or anything that radical from Jeep, no matter how good it is.

    Bob
  • true, it is probably what jeep/dc need to boost sales- though the jeeps are still the best 4x4's available if price IS a consideration! the image-buyers are once again ruining a good thing, watering down the brand to suit their needs (hauling their screaming children around town, or carrying all those tons of groceries). Hopefully, no matter how popular the liberty is, jeep will still keep some more capable metal in the line-up.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    90% of the people buying SUVs don't need em to go off-road, or at the very least off-road to the extreme that a non-IFS can do. DC is in business to make money, if they feel that the IFS will boost sales, that is what they will do to get those sales. It's a shame but capitalism works! :)

    -mike
  • bobcatbobbobcatbob Posts: 187
    Personally I think the Liberty may be the tonic that cures the ills of a lot of folks.

    Personally I want a vehicle that is good one the road and good off the road, up to a certain point. Am I, or a majority of folks going tot cackle the Rubicon? No. Do I need a vehicle that can handle some off roading , some bad weather , yet drives well on the road? Yes.

    With an IFS and a solid rear axle, the Liberty seems to be all that I will need. The only questions is whether the Sport or the Limited will be the one I pick.

    I talked to a GM of a Jeep dealership yesterday and he said that the price point was supposed to be around 20-22. Given the rise of the Escape pricing (speculated at 22 loaded, arrived at 25), I'd expect a price point of 21-26.

    Given the new Saturn, Honda, corrected Escape/Tributes, and other competitors in this market segment, I'd expect a great deal on this vehicle.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    bobcatbob: Thats probably about right on the price points - maybe a grand or 2 higher on the low end so it doesn't overlap much with a "high end" Cherokee.

    I agree DC wants a vehicle they can sell, but why call it a Jeep? The front end looks a little like a Durango. Why not call it a Dodge Dingo, the Durango's little brother?

    I'm upset with the Liberty primarily because its a death knell for the Cherokee. Not to mention that by indicating a willingness to go to IFS, the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee are next. I'll believe the Liberty is a capable offroad vehicle when I see it keep up with other Jeeps offroad.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I think because the Durango has a pretty poor reliablility rating, just from what I've heard from daily drivers of them, so maybe DC is trying to keep it away from association with the durango?

    -mike
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    With all due respect, I don't see any resemblance to a Durango. It's pure Jeep as I see it: prominante round headlights, seven slot grille, powerful wheel arches, I could go on...

    As to the IFS, I'm just sorry they didn't go all the way and add an IRS too. It will be off-road-ready-enough for 98% of the people who buy it, and it will be far better on-road (where it will spend most of its life) than the current Cherokee, or any Jeep for that matter.

    Bob
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    image

    Change the headlights and grill and voila - Dodge Dingo!

    I agree that, once Jeep made the unconscious decision to go with IFS, they should have gone ahead and put in an IRS as well. Might as well get the full benefit of independent suspension.

    But if I'm to buy an IFS/solid rear SUV, it'll be a 4Runner. At least I'm confident they know how to build a capable offroad suspension.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    I don't really trust american cars anymore, but to me they don't at all look similar, the side of it looks more like an ML than a Durango. A mini ML maybe, but not a durango...

    -mike
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    in the angle of the two photos and position of the vehicles, not the styling. The Liberty looks no more like a Durango, than it does any other SUV. Certainly the front, which is what you originally mentioned, looks nothing like a Durango.

    The decision to go IFS was probably the most "conscious" decision made on this vehicle, by far. I'm sure the engineers wrestled and fought over this for months, if not years. As controversial as it was, I would say it was not the least bit unconscious.

    Bob
  • bobcatbobbobcatbob Posts: 187
    OK, whether you like IFS, IRS, ABC's, or 123's, lets not turn this into the Escape Chat. In that one, no one is allowed to say anything bad about that vehicle or Ford in general. If they do a guy named PTMCCAIN come down hard and arguments ensue.

    Everyone has their opinion and everyone's opinion is valuable. In the Escape chat, anyone trying to point out inadequacies is shunned and told to be quiet.

    No one has seen the interior yet and I think that is the key thing for me when it comes to the Liberty. If it isn't functional then it is a moot point.

    I look forward to seeing this vehicle and test driving it!
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    not getting along?? We're a friendly bunch here.

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    As long as we can steer the discussion away from temperature gauges and dashboard lights. ;)

    Bob
  • bobcatbobbobcatbob Posts: 187
    Here is an intriguing look at some Liberty information...

    http://www.oly4x4.com/news.htm

    Basically, I think the Liberty will come out at about 22-27. Given the nature of DM and Jeep's sales I'd expect most dealers to stay at MSRP through the summer.

    Given that I am not buying until October of this year, I think by then the Liberty will be discounted somewhat.

    Any other opinions?
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    rsholland:
    Actually, the word I was trying to compose was unconscionable, but in a momentary lapse of spelling ability where I couldn't get look even remotely correct, I cropped it to unconscious.

    For me, the round headlights and slotted grill don't alter the perception. It certainly doesn't look like a Cherokee or Grand Cherokee, which have clear similarities. I can't help but think DC took some styling cues from the Durango.

    I agree that it will probably sell well. However, there is simply no way a Liberty keeps up with any other Jeep off road. Jeep used to be special for building a stock vehicle that was adept off road. Now, they're just like everyone else.
  • iusecadiusecad Posts: 287
    so when does it start showing up at dealerships?
  • greg116greg116 Posts: 116
    I think the biggest mistake Jeep made here is when they discarded the 4.0L inline-six. That engine was the heart and soul of my enthusiasm for Jeep. Once it dies, bye-bye jeep. The I-6 is my favorite engine type (second place going to V-8) and the distant last is V-6! Inline-sixes were the greatest things in American motors and extremely hard to find today! the only ones left are the Jeep 4.0L, the Dodge Cummins Diesel six and the up-coming GM 4.2, which i will embrace with all my heart.
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