Ride & Handling

Another big surprise was how nice the Liberty was in highway driving. I found the ride quite pleasant on long commutes, with little shimmying from road imperfections and little wind noise for such a boxy vehicle.

Around town is a different story. The offroad suspension will pitch the Liberty — and anyone inside — in all kinds of different directions when they hit a bump. Train tracks feel more like a rock-strewn canyon than a minor road imperfection.

The Liberty also suffers from the normal truck-based phenomenon of feeling like its going to tip over during sharp turns. This is one of those attributes that SUVs with a high center of gravity simply can't combat. What's the solution if you hate this? Buy a car-based crossover or SUV, like a Ford Edge. If you're a seasoned SUV buyer, however, and are used to the driving experience of a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Ford Explorer, the Liberty's dynamics won't come as a surprise. That said, Jeep could probably do a better job dialing down this handling attribute. It takes away a lot of driving confidence when you enter a curve on your local highway and have to let up on the gas more than you'd like to feel comfortable.

Jeep is probably betting a lot of buyers will get this Trail Rated Liberty for their offroad adventures. Those folks will be happy with the 8.1 inches of ground clearance and 17.7-foot turning radius. Approach and departure angles are rated at 29.0 and 32.1 degrees, respectively. That's great for the offroad crowd, but so many buyers of the old Liberty were people who liked its size and looks for city driving. They're likely to be confused when they see the Liberty nameplate on this vehicle.

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