Interior

The Liberty is comfortable to sit in, albeit a little too rough and tumble for my taste once we started moving. I enjoyed the heated leather seats as well as the funky-looking carrying case for the owner's manual. It could easily double as a casual clutch (the purse, not the pedal!).

My family was in awe of the optional Sky Slider canvas roof that completely reveals the heavens to both first- and second-row passengers (see video below). It's leak-proof, and the soft fabric folds on itself as it opens. Feel the breeze! However, we all noticed a strong chemical odor that infiltrated the cabin whenever we opened or closed this panel. Not knowing what was causing this stench, I opted to keep the panel closed to avoid any kind of exposure.

In the second row, the Latch connectors were easy to spot and use, and there's plenty of room back there for all child-safety seat types. The cupholders are in the back of the center console, which places drinks completely out of my kids' reach. Fortunately, our booster seats have built-in cupholders, so we weren't dependent on the Liberty for this convenience. I sometimes wonder what would happen if auto manufacturers let kids in on the design-and-development process. Youngsters tend to speak their minds freely, and I know my kids would have no problem telling designers where to put everything and what to add to make their rides more enjoyable.

Although my test car came with leather seats, the Liberty is also available with Stain Repel cloth seats. This material is stain-, odor- and static-resistant. It's intriguing. If it works, it could save many consumers from paying for optional leather seats (part of a $995 option package), which are easier to clean than regular cloth seats.

IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT

Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair

Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair

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