Posted: 04/09/07 11:41 AM
Changes for Jeep Liberty
New model gets bigger, with supersized sunroof
By RICK KRANZ | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS
AutoWeek | Updated: 04/06/07, 2:19 pm et
NEW YORK AUTO SHOW -- The 2008 Jeep Liberty has been re-engineered and restyled, and an optional sliding canvas roof provides a good look at the sky.
"Drawing on our Jeep heritage, we selected cues that would give Liberty a more aggressive appearance," said Frank Klegon, executive vice president for product development for the Chrysler group. Some journalists at the New York auto show unveiling said the new Liberty looks like a three-quarter-sized version of the Jeep Commander.
One of the most-talked about options will be the power-operated sliding roof, called Sky Slider. While most automakers offer a sunroof, the Liberty's canvas roof runs nearly the length of the vehicle. It can be opened from front to back or from back to front.
A key goal of the re-engineering was more interior space. The wheelbase has been stretched 1.8 inches, and the overall length is up 2.5 inches.
The 2008 Liberty has a more refined look and feel than its predecessor. Features include remote start, rain-sensing wipers and memory seats.
Ride and handling have been improved by a new independent front suspension and five-link rear suspension. Rack-and-pinion steering replaces the reciprocal ball system.
The instrument panel and interior are new. Controls for the power windows have been moved from the instrument panel to the doors because of complaints by current Liberty owners.
The Liberty shares some mechanicals with the Dodge Nitro, although the Nitro's wheelbase is a bit longer. Sales begin this fall.