NEW FOR 2009:

– Manual transmission discontinued
– Standard tip start, Hill Descent Control, floor mats and automatic headlamps on all models
– Sport adds chrome interior door handles and available UConnect hands-free connectivity
– Limited adds leather-wrapped shifter knob and instrument panel grab handle, leather-wrapped armrest console, and accent stitching with Jeep logo on leather seats
– North Edition adds six-way power driver’s seat and Stain Repel fabric
– Rain-sensitive wipers added to Premium Group II option
– Exterior colours: Deep Water Blue and Sunburst Orange added; Modern Blue discontinued

Having been completely redesigned for 2008, the Jeep Liberty moves into 2009 with most of its changes to its list of standard or optional features. The six-speed manual transmission has been discontinued.

Sharing its underpinnings with the Dodge Nitro, the Jeep Liberty uses a 3.7-litre V6 with four-speed automatic. All models come standard with Command-Trac II, which uses a part-time, shift-on-the-fly transfer case, which can be optioned to Selec-Trac II, an active full-time four-wheel system. Trim lines are the Sport, Canada-exclusive North Edition package, and the Limited.

Features on the Sport include 16-inch aluminum wheels, air conditioning, reversible cargo area floor panel, power locks with keyless entry, floor mats, Hill Descent and Hill Start Assist, automatic headlamps, power mirrors, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, two-tone cloth seats, 60/40 split-folding reclining rear bench, tire pressure monitor warning lamp, power windows with driver’s one-touch down, variable intermittent wipers, and intermittent rear washer/wiper.

The North Edition adds cargo cover, fog lamps, deep-tint rear and quarter windows, Stain Repel seat fabric, fold-flat front passenger seat, compass, temperature display, 115-volt outlet, roof rack side rails, and cruise control.

The Limited adds 17-inch aluminum wheels, overhead console, Electronic Vehicle Information centre, bright grille, garage door opener, two-position driver’s memory, heated mirrors, remote starter, bright roof rack side rails, heated leather-faced seats, two-way power passenger seat, security alarm, Sirius satellite radio, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, tire pressure monitoring display, and driver’s one-touch up/down with passenger one-touch-down windows.

Available options include a Sky Slider full-open canvas roof, as well as a conventional sunroof, both of which can be ordered on all three trim lines.

Like the Nitro, the Jeep Liberty offers more aggressive styling than its predecessor, with all-wheel capability that gets it through most of the rough stuff. On the down side, it’s relatively narrow, with a correspondingly slim cabin; on the plus side, it can be optioned with a number of features to turn it into a well-equipped everyday commuter.

Connect with