By on August 9, 2012

The last Jeep Liberty will be coming off the line on August 16th, as the rugged 4-door Jeep makes way for its upcoming, car-based replacement.

The next Liberty (or Cherokee…or whatever it’s called. Nobody is quite sure what moniker will be used) will have a “Trail Rated” version meant for off-road use. But it will also be car based, sharing the same Alfa-derived architecture that the Dodge Dart uses. The SUV die hards will no doubt protest. The people of Toledo are undoubtedly pleased that 1,100 jobs and $1.7 billion are being invested in the plant for the new Jeep.

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30 Comments on “Jeep’s Toledo Plant Winds Down Liberty Production...”

  • avatar

    I would strongly argue that teh Liberty IS A CAR BASED replacement for the arguably more rugged XJ Cherkee that proceeded it. I would also argue that the XJ Cherokee IS A CAR BASED replacement for the full size Cherokee that proceeded it. Ye olden FSJ’s were arguably little more than farm implements made with literally tons of steel and spattering of cardboard.

    • 0 avatar

      The Cherokee XJ (1984-2001) was a unibody unlike its predecessor, the SJ, (1963-1991) which was eventually renamed the Grand Wagoneer near the end of its production run. Nevertheless, you would never mistake an XJ for a car-like platform with its old fashioned leaf springs and solid front axle.

      The Liberty is an updated, “refined”, more modern version of the XJ but certainly not a car-like platform.

      This new Cherokee, or whatever it will be called, will mark a significant departure from prior Cherokee platforms. (BTW, the Liberty, as sold in Western Europe, is called a Cherokee.)

  • avatar

    I thought the Libertys WERE car-based. Was I wrong? What will change? Will its replacement be as rugged? Will it weigh less? Will it be economical?

    I guess I’ll have to stay tuned…

  • avatar

    Good. This was easily the most dangerously floaty vehicle on pavement I’ve driven in a long time. The thing feels like it will tip over going in a straight line. Add in the plastic craptastic interior, and I’m glad to see this thing go.

  • avatar

    Liberty is independent suspenion. The old XJ had solid axles but was unibody rather than a truck frame like the model before it.

  • avatar

    Can I propose a naming convention change/clarification?

    If an SUV/CUV has a driveshaft running to the rear axle, AND a driveshaft running to the front axle, it is truck based.

    Anything with a transaxle at either end is car based.

    There have been too many unibody trucks to limit the car based/truck based description to whether or not a vehicle has a frame.

  • avatar

    The 2Gen Libbie was quite good, taken in isolation. And it was a runaway success in some markets where its strengths were demanded, while the competition stumbled. However, in U.S., the 4-door Wrangler cannibalized it. I wish Wrangler had one of those folding passenger seats, however.

    • 0 avatar

      I never liked the four door Wrangler… Something about it never felt quite right to me. I really liked the Liberty, both generations. Did it have it’s flaws – oh yeah. Like the oil filter being right up against the front differential… That took me some time to get used to. The 3.7 was both a blessing and a curse to the Liberty.

  • avatar

    Good ridance- there wasn’t much point to this rig with the 4-door wrangler.

    I still have my ’95 XJ. It may technically be a “unibody”, but practically speaking, it has some pretty robust frame rails that are just welded directly to the floor. It’s very overbuilt and rugged (yet still relatively light- 3600 lbs for a 4wd I6). In fact, the frame is so robust that they were able to make the seperate-bed MJ pickup on it.

    Unibody doesn’t necessarily mean car based, and BOF doesn’t necessarily mean truck based (e.g. what truck is the Panther based on?)

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Back in my sales days when a name was dead we still had to tell the people who thought their trade was worth it’s weight in gold and not just gold plating price we offered that “Them’ cars we so good they stopped making them…”

    The Liberty has nothing on other small SUV’s and tranny issues (At least on 1st gen). If you needed real 4×4 the Xterra is better. if you needed a small SUV for light snow The Escape/CRV/RAV4 were/are so much better.

    • 0 avatar

      That may be where the next “liberty” is going. A 4WD off-road model should be offered to keep the integrity of the Jeep name, but what’s really needed in the market is AWD for the snow belt customers, preferably switchable to FWD for economy, to compete against Foresters and Escapes. A comparable vehicle with the Jeep name will sell, if it underprices the competition without looking too cheap. Italian interior styling flair might do the trick.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    If the oil burner returns with a new Jeep…

  • avatar

    As a current 2006 Liberty owner ( My Wife’s Ride). The Liberty serves our needs perfectly. She wanted a small SUV and I needed a tow vehicle for my sleds and we didn’t want a full size truck drinking gasoline for the 8 months of the year that we don’t use it as a tow vehicle.

    The Liberty is a great tow vehicle. Capable of towing 5000 pounds with the cooler installed. Something the other car based CUV’s cannot do.

    Yes, the interior is a little Tupperwareish, however it falls inline with every other Jeep/Chrysler vehicle that was produced in the same time era.

    At the end of the day, realize it’s a Jeep and not a Lexus. Set your expectations accordingly.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    “‘The Liberty is a great tow vehicle. Capable of towing 5000 pounds with the cooler installed. Something the other car based CUV’s cannot do.”

    @99_XC600 – Right on! Your Liberty would have easily handled my first 2 boats in the summer and had no problem with my 2 place snowmobile trailer in the winter. Something I wouldn’t dare try with that useless junk known as the CRV. RAV, Ecscape, etc. Eventually I got something heavy enough to require tandem axels and my compact PU had to be replaced.

    • 0 avatar

      Now, now, let’s not go overboard with this. For example, RAV4 tows 3500 lbs, which is the same rating as 4-door Wrangler. The tow rating of 2-door Wrangler is either unsafisfactory 2500 lbs (my 2010 Rubi) or pathetic 1500 lbs on 2012 models. By comparison with Wrangler, Liberty was a monster towing powerhouse, of course, but RAV4 was quite good as well.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s 2,000 lbs when equipped with the trailer tow group on the 2 door for 2012.

        I see more Wranglers being towed behind motorhomes than Wranglers towing.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve yet to see a RAV4 towing anything. Yes, I’m sure it’s capable of pulling 3500 pounds. However I can’t see this being done for any extended period of time.

        I can’t imagine that amount of weight being taxed on a FWD car is a good thing.

      • 0 avatar

        My In-laws towed a chalet hardside folding camper with a RAV4 for thousands of miles across the country they said it towed fine plenty of power but not the most stable in lane changes and cross winds. My guess would be they were close to max payload given how they travel.

      • 0 avatar

        You really want to stop like 5000 pounds with the short wheelbase of a regular Wrangler. I thought the old school unlimiteds (the stretched 2 doors, not the current 4 doors) could pull 3500 pounds?

        Also being able to do it and being good at it are 2 different things. My Land Cruiser is rated at 5000 pounds. In my opinion that is not the max weight, but rather the in it’s wet dreams weight. I rented a travel trailer that was right at 3000 pounds for an Eastern kentucky camping trip. Any slight incline resulted in dropping it to second to maintain speed and a stellar 7mpg for the trip. It tows my popup without much drama though which is 2300 pounds so some of that was likely the excess drag of the full travel trailer. Anyway, I would think the Wrangler might be better up to the task than the RAV-4. Then again, who knows.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. Even though the Liberty is capable of 5000 pounds. I would never attempt it with being such a short wheel base. I think that rating comes in at a dead flat road with no one on it. It could probably do it. But for safety’s sake. I wouldn’t attempt.

        My setup is a 10′ enclosed sled trailer and 2 sleds. When loaded with fuel and everything else. The trailer weighs in at 2500 pounds.

        With this setup going into the mountains of NH and VT. The Liberty has no problems maintaining speed. (60-65 MPH). I wouldn’t attempt anything over that considering the short wheel base. Since even without the trailer it tends to get twitchy over 80 MPH.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I don’t like this vehicle. At all. Except maybe the fact that it has granny gears. It’s heavy and thirsty, yet cramped and slow. Interior packaging is god-awful. Don’t care about interior plastics, but the seats are uncomfortable. Much of this was true of the Cherokee, but unlike this Liberty it actually had ground clearance. A truly good offroad vehicle, it didn’t pretend to be a civilized car.

    This Liberty tries to be both truck and car and does neither well.

    • 0 avatar

      The Liberty was never meant to go fast. It’s a short wheel based SUV that is capable of many things including going off trail and towing.

      At 6’1 and 240 pounds, I’ve never felt cramped in it.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “Not fast” is only one of many sins, and would be fine if it didn’t get the mileage of an Expedition and had the offroad ability of the Cherokee. I’ve been in plenty of b-segment subcompacts that were roomier than the Liberty. I think it is the narrow footwells and enormous center console from the driveline.

        It’s great you like yours, don’t let me rain on your parade. But if I needed a vehicle like this I would go for a used Xterra, 4Runner, or quad cab Tacoma before a new Liberty. It just doesn’t suit me.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I thought they would be around through 2013.No wonder why I keep seeing plenty of new ones on the road and deals for well under $20k.

  • avatar

    Obligatory I wish it had a solid front axle and a diesel post. Seriously though, I’d look at one if it did. As to the Wrangler’s low tow rating, I thought this was more of a function of it’s short wheelbase than the driveline and frame not being up to the task.

  • avatar

    “what’s really needed in the market is AWD for the snow belt customers, preferably switchable to FWD for economy, to compete against Foresters and Escapes.”

    They already make that; it’s called a Patriot. Too many dismiss the Patriot as a rebodied Caliber (which admittedly it is), but having recently purchased one after owning a Forester and looking at the Escape, it’s a strong competitor. Get it with the stick to avoid the noisy CVT and it’s cheaper and gets better mileage than the Forester (without worrying about timing belts and head gaskets).

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