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Jeep Liberty



  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    since DC is so wishy washy. DC has gone back and decided to kill XJ production this year.
  • bobcatbobbobcatbob Posts: 187
    Well, huh, go figure.

    DC is obviously betting the farm on the Liberty. Thsi does bode well for price though. With the Cherokee out of the way, the Liberty can now be priced from 19-25 without compromising Cherokee pricing. I think too that you'll see the old Cherokee plant retooled and a new Wrangler come out of there in 2003.

    Take a peak at the new Car and Driver, as well as the new Motor trend for peaks inside and out of the Liberty. I noticed the extremely thin dash board, almost like a really old, well, Army Jeep.

    Apparently DC had an Escape there at the test and the Liberty whupped its butt. Unfortunately the C and D article states that the Liberty is "for the Paul Bunyon type, not those looking for a car-like ride."

    Oh well, I still like the look.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I just got my new issues of 4 Wheel & Off Road and Automobile in the mail yesterday, and the early reports are very positive—even from 4 Wheel & Off Road. They took it over the Rubicon, and it did very well for itself.

    I think this will be a much better off-roader than what everybody expects. Most of the negative comments seem to equate the Liberty to be being nothing more than a Jeep version of the CRV, RAV4, or Escape. It's much more capable off-road than those vehicles. I'm sure it will be as off-road capable (or better) as a 4-Runner, or any other SUV with IFS.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    No, it doesn't look like a Cherokee or a Grand Cherokee from the front, but rather like a modern adaptation of the classic- Jeep look found on the Wrangler. Again, I see no Durango in the new Liberty.

    The concept Jeep Jeepster, from two years ago, was a real tip off to the front of the Liberty.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    stopping of production early (this year) is in no doubt related to Chrysler's current financial woes. DC is trying to save money wherever possible.

    We all new this day was coming, be it this year, or a couple of years down the road.

  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Lets hope the liberty has more interior room than the cherokee, which is tiny inside.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    From what I understand, the rear seating is much roomier than the Cherokee (it has a 104" wheelbase vs. 101" for the Cherokee), but the trunk area may(?) be smaller.

  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Thats good to know. Vehicles with longer wheelbases always ride better too.
  • bobcatbobbobcatbob Posts: 187
    The Liberty, from the reports I have read, sits a good bit higher than the Cherokee and has a lot more physical space in the driver and passenger compartments. Cargo space, I believe, is the same or only slighty (1 foot or so) smaller. This is accomplished as the spare is outside now, and the dashboard is so thin.

    200,000 a year are the sales projections, by the way.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    No question the Liberty has the Jeepsters (the concept car, not the classic truck) forward face (grill, headlight position etc). But, whether intentional or not, the front end, including the slope of the windshield and curves along the side, to me looks a little like a Durango.

    Mostly, I just think Dodge Dingo is an appropriate name for it.

    And since its directly responsible for the demise of my beloved Cherokee, other appropriate names would be the Jeep Assassin and Jeep Backstabber.

    I'd also call it Jeeps Folly, but they'll probably sell enough (just not to me) that the beancounters won't comprehend the damage to Jeep's reputation.

    I'll believe it can outperform a 4Runner offroad when I see it (and that includes not just getting offroad but doing so without breaking). Toyota has been in the independent suspension for offroad vehicles alot longer than Jeep.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    One of your complaints is that Jeep has gone to using an IFS, yet at the same time you acknowledge that the 4-Runner (& Tacoma) use an IFS, that you seem to admit (I'm assuming) to being good off road. Why can't you accept that Jeep can do equally as well with an IFS? I seriously doubt Jeep would risk its off-road reputation with an inferior IFS setup.

    You're right about Toyota having more off-road experience with IFS. They've been using it for years, with great success. I rarely hear or read of folks not liking the off-road capability of IFS-equipped Toyota's. The folks at Jeep have obviously noticed that fact too.

    I get the distinct feeling that you (like many other Cherokee owners) would balk at anything new or radical from Jeep, no matter how good it is. Wouldn't it be fair to give this vehicle a chance before blasting it? None of us have seen it in person, let alone seeing or reading comparison tests with other vehicles. Give it a chance before being so critical.

    I've mentioned this before: The Cherokee would not be produced forever. Everybody knew this day is coming, sooner or later. It's quick demise I'm sure is because of Chrysler's current financial woes.

  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    I think the 4Runner is inferior to a Cherokee for offroad purposes. I believe it is however, the class leader for IFS vehicles at the lowend prices.

    I see absolutely no reason to believe Jeep will somehow leapfrog Toyota. The Cherokee wasn't better because Jeep knows something Toyota doesn't. It was better because it stuck to what works. A powerful engine (for its size), solid axles, and a tough transfer case.

    Solid axles lend well to less repairs, easier repairs, and simpler modifications. Do-it-yourselfers prefer the simplicity of solid axles. They also don't like getting stuck somewhere, and independent suspension isn't as strong. It will break!

    As for "balking at anything new", not at all. I have no love for the interior of my vehicle. Change everything inside and I wouldn't bat an eye.

    I really like the I6, but could live with the new V6 assuming it performs about the same and is still easy to work on.

    And I would really have liked to see them change the rear leafs to coils; that by itself would improve on road performance.

    But leave the solid axles!
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    It comes down to sales and money. The engineers and the car companies are not in business to build cars or trucks or anything, unless it sells and makes them a profit. An IFS will sell this vehicle to the grocery getter soccer mom set, therefore increasing sales and giving DC more profits, which is what Jeep and DC are in business to do. If the cherokee made them as big a profit, it would never have been killed. You can bet on that!

    Also I'm not sure how the 4-runner is cheap, they are quite expensive IMHO, for what you get. Yes it's a good car, but it's butt expensive.

  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    I didn't mean to imply the 4Runner is cheap from the perspective of someone wanting to buy something for everyday use. But, like alot of things, if you pay money you can get excellent performance. If you want really great offroad ability, it costs money. Alot of money. Go get a GWagon. Or a Unimog. Or an M1 tank.

    Jeeps have been great because the compromise on offroad ability isn't all that much considering how inexpensive they can be had for.

    The person who buys a 4Runner probably isn't all that different financially than someone who buys a Cherokee or a Dingo/Liberty. That's why I called it "low end". Its a heck of alot cheaper than some other stuff out there.

    As for sales, the Cherokee makes a ton of money for Jeep (DC). All the start up costs have long been paid for. Last year, they sold 140k. I think they were #7 in sales out of all SUVs (Grand Cherokee was #2)

    They're loud. They ride "poorly" on road. They're of ancient design. Etc Etc. And yet they still sold 140k last year!

    Pundits point to a drop in sales from 1999. Big deal. Lots of SUVs experienced a drop - gas prices did go up! But the Cherokee has also been sold amidst rumors of an "All new, completely redesigned Cherokee". Who wouldn't want to hold off?

    The thing (Dingo/Liberty) shouldn't be a Jeep. It should be a Dodge, a Chrysler, even an Eagle. All the articles written about it could say "Designed in large part by Jeep engineers, the Dingo is expected to excel off road, yet be well behaved on road" Etc Etc. Everyone would be impressed by it - "Wow, its almost as good as a Jeep at the same price, and yet its so much more comfortable!".

    And Jeep would still sell 140k Cherokees...
  • jblaze13jblaze13 Posts: 152
    Looking at the data on the Liberty says its about the same size as an Xterra, which I'm sure is what DC aimed at. It is about three inches smaller in height though.

    I think jeep has faced reality with the Liberty. More buyers want to battle snow and tote the kids around than go offroading.

    Times have changed and if Jeep doesn't change with the times they'll be out of business. Besides DC needs all of the sales they can get right now.

    I don't think you can design a vehicle that looks the way this thing does and call it a Dodge. I think we're lucky that Jeep didn't totally sell out and make this vehicle as handicapped off road as an Escape or CRV.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    are right. Bblaha, you're missing the point, yes the vehicle's tools and dies are long paid for, and they may have sold 140,000 Cherokees last year. But... those sales figure are way down from the year before, and it will continue get worse—not better. DC has to pull the plug, and the sooner the better.

    If the new Liberty had a solid front axle, it would not have the sales potential that a IFS equipped Liberty would have. For many, myself included, would feel Jeep is still in the dark ages, and would not consider buying one. Period.

    As to the solid axle vs. IFS, I'm not going to argue that with you. I've had this argument with many other solid-axle fans, and they just refuse to listen. It takes too much effort on my part, and frankly, it isn't worth it. You have you point of view, and I have mine—and they're 180° apart. I'm not going to change your point of view, and you're not going to change mine. I know there are many Toyota 4WD owners out there who might like to argue with you, but not me. I'm getting too old for it.

    The only thing I will say regarding the solid axle vs. IFS/IRS, is that solid axle technology has been around for years. It's only recently that independent suspensions have been seriously considerd for off-road use. It's development is still in its infancy. I'm convinced that you will, in the not too distant future, see independent off-road suspensions—on mass-market vehicles—that will be truly amasing.

  • "The thing (Dingo/Liberty) shouldn't be a Jeep."

    Why not? The Liberty, even with an IFS, managed to tame the Rubicon Trail, which is a well-known benchmark for off-roading purists. The Liberty is also getting some pretty good reviews in the trade pubs. You still have a choice between Command-Trac and Selec-Trac (just like the Cherokee), and optional Up-Country Suspension (just like the Cherokee). The Liberty also provides the best approach and departure angles in its class, eight inches of suspension travel front and rear, and nearly nine inches of ground clearance.

    Don't mistake the Liberty for one of those AWD cute-utes (Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4). What Jeep has done is design the Liberty into a modern day interpretation of the venerable Cherokee. And it's about time, too!

    Just because the Liberty lacks a solid front axle doesn't make it any less of a Jeep.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Thank you! :)

  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329

    Rsholland: I assure you I am not missing any points.

    You just said Cherokee sales are "way down" and use that as justification for pulling the plug on the Cherokee.

    Using JD Powers website, here is how the numbers stack up:

    For Compact SUVs, the top 6 SUVs are the Explorer, Grand Cherokee, Blazer, Durango, Cherokee, and 4Runner (in that order). These 6 are the only ones to have sold more than 100k vehicles in both 1999 and 2000, thats why I stopped there.

    Comparing December 1999 to December 2000, Cherokee sales are off 9.4%. Explorer sales are off 25.4%, Grand Cherokee off 14.5%, Blazer off 60.6%, Durango off 19.0% and 4Runner off 29.5%.

    Sounds like there's a bunch of other SUVs that need to have their production plugs pulled!

    Using total sales for the year, the Cherokee does fare the worst. But the Explorer is the only one that not experiencing a loss for the year.

    There are still a myriad of things that Jeep could have done to the Cherokee to bring it out of the "dark age" without compromising its offroad ability, keeping current Cherokee owners happy by giving us a future vehicle with which to replace our current one.

    The Jeep Liberty (that which has IFS) could still be sold as a Dodge Dingo (or whatever other name) that would make you and others happy, without tarnishing the Jeep image.

    Tamed the Rubicon? Doubtful. More like limped through.

    "Just because the Liberty lacks a solid front axle doesn't make it any less of a Jeep."
    Yes. It does. I'm a Jeep enthusiast and I won't buy one.
  • "Tamed the Rubicon? Doubtful. More like limped through."

    Don't believe me? Read it for yourself...

    February, 2001 issue of Motor Trend (page 47):
    The editors tagged along with Jeep engineers on the Rubicon Trail. In addition to the Liberty, they brought along a couple of Wranglers, a Cherokee, and a Grand Cherokee Limited. Here's what they had to say..."The Liberty quickly proved it lives up to its Jeep heritage, climbing over felled trees and large rocks with aplomb - on stock Goodyear Wrangler AT street tires, no less. Whatever the obstacle, the Liberty tackled it with ease, having to be winched out of a tight spot only once. But that's no tarnish on the Liberty, as all the vehicles in our muletrain had to be winched up the same rain-slick granite escarpment."

    February, 2001 issue of Automobile (page 12):
    "Lest you think the Liberty is just another affordable, fashionable, pseudo-SUV, its engineers emphasize that it is the real thing. The latest Jeep has been tested on the Rubicon Trail, where Mark Smith, famous Jeep Jamboree-er and noted off-road expert, took it up the notoriously taxing Cadillac Hill, got out, and declared, 'This is a Jeep.'"

    You can be a Jeep enthusiast and still appreciate what the Liberty has to offer. I can't for the life of me figure out why you seem to hate it so much when you haven't seen one in person, much less driven one. If the Liberty can do everything the Cherokee can do off-road, while offering an extra degree of civility wrapped up in a modern, updated package, what's not to like?
  • OK lets face it ifs is totally unproven off road. I mean look at the hummer the military is looking at alternatives to it due to high cost to purchase and maintain(thats right the hummer is a very high maintenance vehicle the military can't keep differentials in them). If dc wants to turn jeep into just another suv then this will do it. Its the reputation for rugged ability not silky smooth suspension that sells jeeps. Has no one here seen the number of kits to convert a ifs to solid axle? let the grocery getters have escapes explorers 3runners and whatever else let jeep be jeep. I also don't think this belongs in the dodge line up I say change the nose charge 50000 and call it a Mercedes then high maintenance cost aren't an issue. just my two cents.
  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Interesting. I hadn't read those yet and they are encouraging. However. At the risk of sounding like an eternal pessimist, my opinion isn't changed at all.

    As I said earlier, its not just being able to get offroad somewhere, it has to be able to make it back too. Independent suspension is fragile when compared to a solid axle. A stock 4Runner can make it over the Rubicon; but there is a reason 4Runners aren't routinely seen there. If someone knew how to make IFS work as well as solid axles, Toyota would have already.

    Take the Dingo/Liberty across the Rubicon 100 times, count up the number of parts broken and cost and effort to fix them. Then compare it to a Cherokee.

    I don't hate the Liberty. I hate that the Liberty is the replacement for the Cherokee, because its going to be a poor replacement. I'm sure the vehicle will be very popular to alot of people. But it could be just as popular as a Dodge. Making it a Jeep lessens Jeep. I don't need to see it to have strong doubts about it. IFS does not do well on trails.

    IMHO, if Jeep wanted to freshen up its lineup, they should have built the Jeepster, including IFS and IRS and given it the big engine. At least that wouldn't compete with the others. It could go win Baja races. The Cherokee could then get most of the Liberty's interior design with the Grand Cherokee's suspension. Or bag the Cherokee altogether and build the Dakar. Whatever. At least then they hold onto a proven design.

    csjjeep: They can't call it a Mercedes. Because then it would compete with the Gwagon and then Daimler would be very unhappy.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    How do you explain that there are not a high volume of solid front axle vehicles sold in 3rd world countries where there are no roads at all? (and this isn't a loaded or trick question) In Australia and most 3rd world countries you only see Land Cruisers, Pajeros (monteros), Jackaroos (troopers), and Patrols (pathfinders), not many JGCs or Cherokees....

    If IFS was so bad, why would these people use em?

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    according to one of our Edmunds' "down-under" regulars over in another topic area, Jeeps are not held in very high esteem down there. Certainly not like they are here.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Cherokee sales are off much more than 9.4%. It's well into double digits. A couple of the other vehicles you mentioned are also scheduled for a quick replacement. The Explorer and Blazer are due out shortly. The Grand Cherokee and Durango are scheduled few years down the road. Their vehicles of choice are pretty much what Mike said; along with some Land Rovers, although further down the list.

  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Its bad on the trail. On open land, IFS is good. Its makes for smoother high speed travel over rough terrain. It doesn't do well when it comes to getting through an obstacle. Its the suspension of choice for baja racing, not trails.

    Much more? For the year, Cherokee sales were off 14%. The 4Runner was off 10%.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    the world is moving towards independent suspensions. Certainly our military thinks this is the right direction to go. Besides the Hummer, check out this IFS/IRS Oshkosh bruiser for the military:

    So you still think IFS/IRS can't take it in the rough?

    The point I'm Making...
    Is that, properly designed, independent suspensions will do just fine off-road. Yes, these military vehicles are hugely expensive, but their IFS/IRS technology will eventually trickle down to to mainstream vehicles that everyone can afford.

    As I, and others have said before, give the Liberty a chance before being so harsh. Who knows, you may be pleasently surprised.

  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    The military doesn't "strenuously object to" how often their equipment breaks. They push things so hard they expect things to break. Keeping things going is a natural part of their "business".

    Its not mine. I want something that is less likely to break and cheaper to fix when it does.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    that the military would order equipment... to break, or expect their equipment to break often?

    When push-comes-to-shove, they need equipment they can depend upon. Your life, my life, and everybody's life here in the USA depends on the military making good sound decisions, that includes purchasing trucks.

    Let me ask you this... When all Jeeps eventually do go IFS/IRS (and they will eventually), what are you going to buy? There won't be any new, reasonably-priced solid axle vehicles sold in this country in about five years. What are you going to do? Keep your old Jeep forever?

    I'd say it's time to get over it, and move on.

  • bblahabblaha Posts: 329
    Do they want their equipment to break often? No.
    Do they expect it to? Yes.
    Spare parts is a critical aspect of military hardware. When it stops, so does the hardware.

    Keep my Jeep forever? Possibly. There are roughly 3 million Cherokees out there from which to scrounge parts.

    Pictures of the Liberty from Detroit

    An article about its unveiling

    Another article

    And here is Liberty info from Jeep's official website.

    I like some of the interior, but I still won't be buying one.
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