Review by Justin Pritchard

2008 Jeep Liberty
2008 Jeep Liberty
2008 Jeep Liberty. Click image to enlarge

Vehicle Type: 4×4 SUV

History/Description: With surprising off-road capability, standard V6 power and a long list of available high-end features, the last generation Jeep Liberty connected with anyone looking for a machine designed to tackle virtually anything.

For most shoppers after an SUV, the soft-roader or cute ute is sufficient. For shoppers actually intending to tackle trails or use a 4×4 system for its purpose, the Liberty shouldn’t disappoint – thanks to a real transfer case with low-range gearing, hill descent control, plenty of ground clearance, skid plates and removable, replaceable fender flares.

Being “Trail Rated” meant that the Liberty met a variety of off-road criteria specified by Jeep engineers, including water fording and climbing.

But Liberty wasn’t just intended for use slinging mud and tackling trails. Features like a folding cloth ‘Sky Slider’ roof, household power outlet, navigation, heated leather seats and an up-level stereo helped lend everyday sophistication to the model too.

Engines/Trim: All Liberty models in this generation were powered by a 3.7L V6 engine with 210 hp. This powerplant, though solid, is noted as being less powerful and thirstier than many competitors and has now been removed from the Chrysler powertrain lineup.

Transmission choices included four- or five-speed automatics, or a six-speed manual, depending on the year and trim grade. Said trim grades include “Sport” or “North” editions for more basic models and “Limited” models capping the model range. Special models, like the “Renegade” or “Arctic” editions, were available.

2008 Jeep Liberty2008 Jeep Liberty2008 Jeep Liberty2008 Jeep Liberty
2008 Jeep Liberty. Click image to enlarge

What Owners Like: Capability, interior flexibility, up-level features, ride comfort and confidence were all rated highly by Liberty owners. Visibility is also rated highly, as is the upgrade stereo system. The Liberty is absolutely off-road capable, meaning it’ll impress owners who hit the trails. The available 120-volt power outlet, which can recharge a laptop or be used to juice up an air compressor at the campsite was a well-loved feature too.

What Owners Dislike: Common gripes include road and tire noise at speed and a farther-than-practical reach for the gear shifter, which is mounted to the far right side of the centre console. Many drivers complain about the Liberty’s cramped driver’s side footwell, which is pushed to the outer edge of the floor pan to clear room for the four-wheel drive hardware beneath it.

Owners Reviews: 2008 to 2012 Jeep Liberty Owner Reviews from

Common Issues: Shoppers considering a used Liberty from this generation are advised to make several checks, helping ensure the unit they’re considering hasn’t been carelessly off-roaded or swamped in deep water or mud. Get underneath and check for heavy denting or scrapes in the floor and frame rails. These may be formed by contact with rocks or logs during careless navigation of rough trails, and could be a sign of abuse. They could also result in excessive rust.

Other warning signs include sand or silt buildup in and around the bottom of the radiator, grass or turf hanging out beneath, or excessive mud and dirt packed into nooks and crannies underneath the body.

A mechanic can help ascertain the condition of the Liberty’s underneathy bits when it’s on a hoist. If the seller has ever put a boulder into the oil pan, this is the time to check.

Drivers should ‘feel’ the automatic transmission for any signs of slippage or a ‘shudder’ at lower speeds, which could indicate a problem with the transmission itself, or the computer that controls it. If the transmission exhibits any unwelcome behaviour, be sure to have it checked by a mechanic. Typically issues with the automatic transmission on a Liberty from this generation will be electronic in nature. In many cases, they can be solved by simply having a Jeep dealer wipe out and reprogram the transmission’s computer brain.

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