The 2008-2012 Jeep Liberty
The Dodge Nitro and 2008 Jeep Liberty “KK” were created at the same time; the Nitro came first partly because a new tire-chain requirement on Liberty made architecture changes necessary (the inner wheelhouse opening was the same for both and was unchanged.
The 2008 Jeep Liberty went into production on July 24, 2007. It had two Trail Rated® four-wheel-drive systems – Command-Trac and Selec-Trac II. The interior went to a squarish look, with an optional Sky Slider™ full-open canvas roof. See our launch coverage.
Inside, cargo and storage space increased slightly, while remote start, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats and mirrors, and express up/down windows were added. The four cylinder and diesel were gone, but the six speed manual and four-speed automatic transmission remained. The sole engine, a 3.7-liter V-6, was good for 210 hp at 5,200 rpm and 235 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,000 rpm. Fuel economy went up by about 2 mpg with either stick or automatic, to 16 city (18 mpg using 2007 EPA standards), and 22 mpg highway (23 mpg based on 2007 EPA standards).
Wind drag remained high but was cut down somewhat, better aerodynamics countering the increase in weight. The starting price at launch was $20,990 for rear wheel drive and $22,600 for four wheel drive, including destination — over $1,000 less than the 2007. The Limited started at $25,175 (RWD) and $26,785 (4x4).
Despite constant upgrades to the standard equipment and interior upgrades in 2011, the “KK” Liberty was essentially a failure. The appearance seemed to turn off the target audience, a fuel crisis made heavy vehicles with poor mileage unattractive compared with numerous car-based or custom-designed non-off-road-ready AWD crossovers, Chrysler itself was a constant target of “will they go bankrupt?” stories (and actually did go bankrupt), and both the economy and competition got worse. Meanwhile, many off-roaders said that the KK was a major step backwards in off-road capability, taking away the car’s raison d’être. The chart below shows the descent — the uptick in 2012 was because dealers were told to order enough Libertys to get them to the end of 2013. (The graph shows US production only.)
The KJ Jeep Cherokee, a front wheel drive vehicle in the same size and price class as the “KK” Jeep Liberty, saw 178,508 sales in the United States alone in its first full year (2014), beating every single year of the KK quite easily. The “new Cherokee” also outsold nearly every year of the original XJ Cherokee.
While many off-roaders complained that the 2008-2012 Jeep Liberty needlessly sacrificed off-road prowess, it did have a number of additions designed to help drivers after the pavement ended.
Standard on 4x4s was the new Hill Descent Control (HDC), used automatically in low gear. It controlled the speed using electronic brake control, supplementing gear reduction and engine braking — but only when turned on manually. It worked in forward and reverse.
Despite the loss of a manual transmission, Jeep added Hill Start Assist (HSA), which held the brakes for two seconds upon the driver’s release of the brake pedal to prevent rollback on hills.
As with all Jeep vehicles, Liberty had antilock brakes with rough road detection, which signalled the ABS to hold the brake pressure for longer pulses — then the deformable surface of the rough road formed a wedge in front of the tire to help in slowing the vehicle. Other features included Trailer Sway Control, tire pressure monitoring, and rain-sensing wipers.
Allpar Jeep Liberty interviews (April 2007)
Engineer Rick Reuter had two Jeep Libertys in the family, belonging to his wife and daughter. He said that:
- The diesel had exceeded their sales expectations, but standards changed for 2007, and they decided to move to a bigger engine and put it into the Grand Cherokee.
- The 2.4 engine’s power to weight ratio was too low; fuel economy wasn't much better, and dropping the 2.4 simplified their build processes.
- The 3.7 replaced the 3.8 largely due to production capacity.
- The four speed automatic was kept partly to focus on other issues — including ride quality, moving the window switches back to the doors, and adding cargo space without much extra length. By moving the spare underneath, they could add to the length of the enclosed portion of the car, and lengthening it by two inches provided extra space for the rear seat as well.
- The mechanical transfer case required too much effort for some customers, hence the move to an electronic shift.
According to Rick, the increase in economy was largely a matter of reducing rolling resistance, better aerodynamics, and lower parasitic losses through EGR adjustments and the electronic throttle control. Rick felt that real world gas mileage increased even more than EPA estimates.
We asked Ralph Gilles whether Jeep was taking too high a risk in such a dramatically restyle; Ralph responded that women, who made the majority of buyers, tend buy man’s cars (but not so much vice versa); they liked the manageable size. It now looks more capable and rugged, which should appeal more to men, while still keeping the form factor liked by its current buyers. He also pointed out the round headlights behind squarish lenses, saying that they made the lamps oversized to scale the vehicle and keep it looking small and playful — the roundness gives it personality, the squareness ruggedness.
The 2009 Jeep Liberty saw a retuned rear axle and shafts, steering gear, springs, shocks, brakes, and anti-roll bars. Floor mats and auto unlock became standard; satellite radio was added; and packages were changed around. The Limited model was enhanced to make the extra cost worth it, with remote express-open front windows and, in Jeep’s words, “soft-touch door uppers, all monochrome/dark gray interior, soft door armrest, leather-wrapped shift knob, dual in-mold film for instrument panel and console and leather-wrapped parking brake, steering wheel and grab handles.”
Manual transmissions were dropped, six speakers and floor mats became standard on Sport (the base model), and YES Essentials cloth seats joined the Popular Equipment Group for Sport. Two new colors, orange and deep-water blue, replaced electric and modern blue. Most Libertys sold were the Sport.
2010 Jeep Liberty
New were active head restraints, interactive Decel Fuel Shut Off (iDFSO), Fuel-Saver with “ECO” lamp indicator in cluster, standard power heated manual folding mirrors, standard air filtration system, standard stain-repelling seat fabric and front-passenger fold-flat seat, and larger floor mats. Limited Uconnect™ Phone, leather, heated front seats, and power driver and passenger seats with manual lumbar control. Graystone paint was added.
The 2010 Jeep Liberty Renegade was launched in January 2010, priced between the Sport and Limited; it had the Selec-Trac® II full-time, shift-on-the-fly, active four-wheel-drive system, using an electronically controlled two-speed active transfer case and Brake-Traction Control System (BTCS).
The system had an automatic mode, using sensors to redirect torque between front and rear axles in real time. It also had a low-gear mode, which multiplies engine torque 2.72 times and locked the clutch pack.
The Renegade had multiple styling cues including gray wheels with outlined-white-letter off-road tires, dark wheel flares, black headlamp bezels, fog lamps, skid plates, and tow hooks. Numerous features were added to the interior, as well, including a trip computer, “driftwood” accent bezels, and steering-wheel-mounted radio controls.
The 2011 Update
As Liberty sales fell, Jeep added standard cruise control, a new steering wheel, upgraded interior trim, and an optional Garmin 430N navigation system with traffic, fuel prices, and weather updates. Eddie Burke wrote: “There is new gunmetal trim on the door panels surrounding window/lock buttons; the same gunmetal finish is on the steering wheel. Instead of a textured silver dash appliqué, it has a dark faux wood trim, which also surrounds the shifter and 4 wheel drive system switch.”
The 2011 Jeep Liberty Jet appearance package was launched in November 2010, and included 20 inch polished aluminum wheels, P245/50R20 all season radials, blacked-out headlamps, and chrome in the lower fascia opening, body side moldings, license plate brow, roof rails and mirror caps. Other features were 9-speaker audio, side-curtain air bags, and rear park assist. The Liberty Jet option package was listed at $1,495 to Liberty Sport and $995 to Liberty Limited models on launch.
Second generation Jeep Liberty gadgetry
The 2008 Jeep Liberty had the MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System™ with a touch screen and voice commands along with a 20-gigabyte hard drive, real-time traffic, satellite radio, and hands-free phone.
Toledo North, home of the Liberty
The 2008 Jeep Liberty was made at the Toledo North Assembly Plant (TNAP) in Toledo, Ohio, on the same line as the Dodge Nitro. A $638 million investment included more than 160,000 square feet added to the plant floor.
A body shop now used 150 robots instead of vehicle-specific tooling. Only the robots’ end effectors, or “hands,” needed to change to build the different models — and that was done automatically. A third model could also be piloted at the same time.
An inbound part sequencing center in the adjoining Stickney complex managed more than 1,600 different parts (including Wrangler) and provided parts metering, kitting, and container management. Dollies replaced many forklifts to increase safety and productivity.
“Smart Manufacturing” was an attempt to increase flexibility; it also let employees design their own workstations.
2008 Liberty safety and security
Safety features not mentioned above included:
- Multi-stage Air Bags
- All-speed Traction Control
- Auto-reverse windows and sun roof: Automatically reverses the sun roof (to the open position) if a blockage was detected
- Brake Assist: In a panic brake condition, the system applies maximum braking power, providing the shortest possible stopping distance
- Digressive Load-limiting Retractors: A two-stage load-limiting feature to limit the maximum force on the belt webbing to help absorb the energy of the occupant’s upper torso during an impact
- Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM): Used the brakes and throttle to prevent rollovers
- Electronic Stability Control
- Enhanced Accident Response System: In an accident, turned on the interior lighting and unlocking the doors after air bag deployment; also shuts off the flow of fuel to the engine
- Height-adjustable Front Seat Belts
- Knee Bolsters
- Low-risk Deployment Front Passenger Air Bag: Front-passenger air bags that use unique shape, venting, folding patterns, advanced inflators or a combination of these four technologies to position and inflate the restraint properly for a belted passenger while also meeting federal safety requirements for out-of-position, small occupants and rear-facing infant seats. (Kids 12 years or younger were supposed to stay in the back seat.)
- ParkSense® Rear Back-up System: Assists at low speeds in Reverse to detect stationary objects. Consists of visible (interior lights seen with rearview mirror) and audible warnings for the driver
- Rain-sensing Wipers
- Remote Start: Conveniently starts the engine from outside the vehicle by using the Remote Keyless Entry fob while maintaining security
- Seat Belt Pretensioners (both front seat belts): During a collision, the impact sensors initiate the front seat belt pretensioners to immediately remove slack from the seat belts, thereby reducing the forward movement of the occupants’ heads and torsos
- Sentry Key® Engine Immobilizer: Utilizes an engine key that has an embedded transponder to discourage theft.
- Side Occupant Protection System: Includes side-curtain air bags with roll detection system that deploy in certain rollover situations and side-impact events.
- Supplemental Side-curtain Air Bags: Extends protection to all outboard front- and rear-seat passengers. Each side air bag has its own impact sensor to autonomously trigger the air bag on the side where the impact occurs
The Jeep Liberty is designed to appeal to customers who are looking for Jeep 4x4 capability as well as comfort and convenience. It is targeted to young couples and new families, as well as professional, young single men and women between 30 and 40 years of age, balanced male to female. Jeep Liberty owners will balance day-to-day responsibilities with their passion for adventure as well as the outdoors. They are athletic, and pursue activities that combine their various interests with their active lifestyle. The Jeep Liberty will be available at Jeep dealerships starting in the third quarter of 2007.
2008 Liberty specifications
|Engine (3.7 Liter V6)|
|Type and Description||90º V-6, liquid cooled w/balance shaft|
|Displacement||225.8 in3 (3700cm3)|
|Bore x Stroke||3.66 x 3.57 (93.0 x 90.8)|
|Valve System||Chain-driven SOHC, 12 valves, and hydraulic end-pivot roller rockers|
|Fuel Injection||Sequential, multi-port, electronic, returnless|
|Construction||Cast iron block and bedplate, aluminum alloy heads, balance shaft|
|Power (SAE net, estimated)||210 bhp (157kW) @ 5200 rpm (56.8hp/L)|
|Torque (SAE net, estimated)||235 lb.-ft. (319N•m) @ 4000 rpm|
|Max. Engine Speed||6000 rpm (electronically limited)|
|Fuel Requirement||Unleaded regular, 87 octane (R + M)/2|
|Oil Capacity||5.0 qt. (3.7L) SAE 5W-20|
|Coolant Capacity||14.0 qt. (13.25L)|
|Emission Controls||Meets ULEV II / 50-state|
|Battery||600 CCA, maintenance free|
|Transmission: NSG 370 Manual Six-Speed Overdrive|
|Description||Synchronized in all forward gears and Reverse,multi-rail shift system with top-mounted shift lever|
|Clutch||Hydraulic actuation, dual-mass flywheel system|
|Overall Top Gear||2.69|
|Transmission: 42RLE Automatic Four-Speed Overdrive|
|Description||Adaptive electronic control with electronically modulated torque converter clutch|
|Overall Top Gear||2.57|
|Transfer Case: MP 1522 Command-Trac®|
|Availability||Standard on 4WD models|
|Type||Part-time, electronic shift|
|Operating Ranges||2WD, 4WD Lock, 4WD Low, Neutral|
|Low Range Ratio||2.72:1|
|Transfer Case: MP 3022 SELEC-Trac II®|
|Availability||Optional all 4WD models|
|Type||Full-time active, electronic shift|
|Operating Ranges||2WD, 4WD Auto, 4WD Low, Neutral|
|Torque Split, F/R||42/58|
|Low Range Ratio||2.72:1|
|Exterior Dimensions, Towing, Offroad Characteristics|
|Track, Front||61.0 (1549.4)|
|Track, Rear||61.0 (1549.4)|
|Overall Length, NAFTA Vehicles||176.9 (4492.9)|
|Overall Width||72.4 (1838.0)|
|Height (w/out roof rack)||70.1 (1808.3)|
|Gas capacity||19.5 (73.8)|
|Maximum Payload, lbs. (kg),
Includes Occupants and Cargo
|1150 lbs. (590 kg)|
|Towing Capacities, lbs. (kg) U.S. and export markets other than Europe|
|All Models Equipped With a Class II Trailer Hitch||2000 (907)|
|3.7L Engine, Manual Transmission w/Trailer Tow Pkg (Class III)||3500 (1588)|
|3.7L Engine, Automatic Transmission w/Trailer Tow Pkg (Class III)||5000 (2268)|
|3.7L Gasoline Engine, 2WD||4030 (1827)|
|3.7L Gasoline Engine, 4WD||4222 (1915)|
|Clearances with 235/65R17 Tires (Domestic 4x4)|
|Approach Angle, degrees (without/with air dam)||39.1/29.0|
|Breakover Angle, degrees (with skid plate)||20.4|
|Departure Angle, degrees||32.1|
|2007-standard MPG (all configs)||18/23|
|2008-standard MPG (Auto/4WD)||15/21|
|2008-standard MPG (all others)||16/22|
|Head Room w/o Sun Roof||40.4 (1025.1)|
|Head Room w/Sun Roof||38.5 (976.8)|
|Leg Room||40.8 (1036.4)|
|Shoulder Room||56.8 (1443.0)|
|Hip Room||52.7 (1338.1)|
|Seat Travel||9.0 (229.1)|
|Recliner Range||6.6° to 51.6°|
|Head Room||40.3 (1023.0)|
|Leg Room||38.8 (984.5)|
|Knee Clearance||1.3 (34.1)|
|Shoulder Room||56.6 (1436.4)|
|Hip Room||48.4 (1229.0)|
|Recliner Range||21.5° to 33.5°|
|Liftover Height||33.3 (844.8)|
|Minimum Cargo Width Liftgate Opening||47.0 (1194.2)|
|Minimum Cargo Height At Liftgate Opening||34.4 (873.5)|
|Maximum Cargo Height Liftgate Opening||35.3 (895.7)|
|Maximum Cargo Width At Liftgate Opening||44.2 (1122.9)|
|Distance Between Wheelhouse Interior Trim||41.7 (1059.1)|
|Cargo Volume, cu. ft. (cu. M)|
|Behind Rear Seat||31.5 (0.9)|
|With Rear Seat Folded||64.2 (1.8)|
Suspension, Steering, Brakes, and Wheels
|Front||Upper and lower “A” arms, coil springs, low-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar|
|Rear||Live axle, upper and lower trailing arms, track bar, coil springs, stabilizer bar, low-pressure gas-charged shock absorbers|
|Type||Power rack and pinion|
|35.5 ft. (10.83 m)|
|Front Brakes||11.9 x 1.1 (302 x 28) vented rotor with 2.6 (66) single-piston floating caliper; swept area, 190.8 sq. in. (1231.0 sq. cm)|
|Rear Size and Type||12.44 x 0.47 (316 x 12) solid rotor With 1.9 (48) single-piston floating caliper; swept area 55.4 sq. in. (357.6 sq. cm)|
|Power Assist Type||8 x 9 (204 x 230) Tandem-diaphragm vacuum|
|Standard Features||Four wheel ABS and electronic stability program|
|Parking Brake Type||Rear brake drum-in-hat|
|Sport: wheels||Machined and painted cast aluminum, 16 x 7|
|Limited: wheels||Machined and painted cast aluminum, 17 x 7|
|Optional wheels||Chrome-clad cast aluminum, 18 x 7|
|Tires (Sport)||P225/75R16, all-season, black side wall Wrangler ST, 712 revs/mile|
|Tires (Limited)||P235/65R17, all-season, black side wall Wrangler HP, 721 revs/mile|
|Optional tires (Sport)||P235/70R16, all-season, all-terrain outline white letter Wrangler SRA, 721 revs/mile|
|Optional tires (Limited)||P235/60R18, all season, black side wall Fortera HL, 722 revs/mile|
|Spare tire||Compact (Sport), full size with matching wheel (Limited, optional on Sport)|