Exterior

I love the clean, boxy, rugged look of the Liberty. From its big, round headlights to its chunky tires, the Liberty screams "Jeep." Its abrupt exterior angles contribute to the Liberty's no-nonsense appeal.

Second-row passengers, especially kids, will find it impossible to get in and out of the Liberty without rubbing up against the dirty exterior. I suggest purchasing the optional side steps - available in either of two packages, for $795 or $1,090 - to get around this messy problem. I'd love to see Jeep offer fully integrated rocker panels or running boards as an option; these features would help passengers get into the Liberty easily and cleanly. My 3-year-old had some major issues in this department (see video below).

I had some problems with the Liberty's windshield, too. It's set at a more vertical angle than most cars', which is cool-looking, but it seems to catch and trap raindrops and bugs (ewww!), noticeably reducing visibility even when the wipers are in full swing.

The rear hatch window pops open separately from the liftgate, and it also can be lowered with a button on the key fob. My dog and I both loved that! The Liberty didn't have a power liftgate, which would have been helpful because the cargo door was heavy and difficult to close.

SENSE AND STYLE

Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair

Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Some

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