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#24

in 2011 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $14,406 - $18,201
Original MSRP: $23,250 - $28,250
MPG: 16 City / 22 Hwy
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2011 Jeep Liberty Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

When it comes to driving capabilities, the Jeep Liberty is mediocre. It has adequate power and steering, but other compact SUVs offer better off-road capabilities, a car-like driving experience and more impressive fuel economy ratings. Consider the Nissan Xterra, the Honda CR-V or the Kia Sportage instead.

  • "Soft springs make this tall SUV feel tippy and nervous. Combined with a soft brake pedal and crude engine, the Liberty isn't very happy on-road." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Liberty is truck-like in its maneuverability, and it even seemed sluggish and had difficulty accelerating when I switched out of four-wheel drive. Its four-wheel drive didn't perform nearly as well as I expected on the muddy river that's normally my street." -- Mother Proof
  • "The 2009 Jeep Liberty SUV delivers an improved ride and road feel, thanks to a retuned suspension and updated braking system, and continues to excel as an off-roader, with a choice of two available Trail-Rated four-wheel-drive systems." -- Car Gurus

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Jeep Liberty isn’t powerful. Its standard 3.7-liter V6 engine makes 210 horsepower and produces 235 pound-feet of torque, which is fine for city driving, but poor for towing.

The Liberty's fuel economy is good for an off-road SUV, but extremely low when compared to all compact SUVs. According to the EPA, the 2WD model nets 16/22 mpg city/highway, while the 4WD model nets 15/21 mpg. Jeeps standard fuel shut-off system may help fuel economy somewhat because it saves fuel when the vehicle is decelerating. It also gets a fuel-saving indicator to notify the driver when the vehicle is being driven in a fuel-efficient manner. Jeep introduced this system in 2010, but because the EPA fuel economy ratings are the same for the 2009, 2010, and 2011 models, it seems the system isn’t very effective.

For more power in an off-road model, consider the Nissan Xterra and its 261-horsepower V6 engine. Take note though, extra power is paired with lower fuel economy ratings.

  • "Liberty is no ball of fire but moves along well enough. Acceleration in 4WD versions is OK from a stop, but passing and merging require planning. The automatic transmission works smoothly enough, but often times requires a deep stab of the throttle in order to coax a downshift for more power." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Acceleration from the 3.7-liter V6 is anemic, which isn't surprising -- it's down about 50-60 hp relative to other V6-powered compact SUVs." -- Edmunds
  • "We've been disappointed by Chrysler's coarse 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 in its other applications, and 210 hp out of that amount of displacement is nothing to cheer about." -- Automobile Magazine

Handling and Braking

The 2011 Liberty’s handling and braking are not impressive. Its ride is somewhat comfortable because the SUV absorbs a lot of bumps on the road. As a result, the Liberty lags far behind competitors in on-road handling. If you don't need an off-roader, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are much better drivers because they handle like cars. They also cost a little less than the Liberty and have higher fuel economy ratings. If you plan to go off-road, consider the Nissan Xterra, which handles rough terrain better. For better riding off-roaders try the Jeep Grand Cherokee or the Toyota 4Runner. Both SUVs are larger and more expensive than the Liberty, but if you need a good combination of space, features and off-road stability, they are worth a look.

  • "…its on-road handling abilities disappoint, with vague steering and pronounced body roll." -- Edmunds
  • "Isolation from bumps and broken surfaces is good given these Jeeps' off-road prowess. Some road surfaces induce mild bucking, and sharp bumps register, though not harshly." -- Consumer Guide

Next Steps: 2011 Jeep Liberty

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