2009 Jeep Liberty Sport 4x4 3.7 V6 from North America
The Jeep in-between a Wrangler and a Grand Cherokee - A Good 4x4 Value
Rear shocks are leaking (not fixed).
Valve stems & TMPS replaced at 86k. Partly my fault for using metal valve caps in Northeast climates on two valve stems (rusted to the stems); two sensors were just bad from age/rust.
Front tie-rod ends loose at 87k (easy replacement, still drives fine).
Heater core and radiator needed to be flushed (no heat issue, resolved immediately after flushing).
Needed spark plugs and an air filter at 80k. Easy job.
New tires (Hankook Dynapro's ATM's 235/75/160); Goodyear OEM tires were just OK.
Hypertech programmer caused issues with pinging/shuddering when attempting to use the 87 performance tune. Returned to stock tune and haven't had an issue since.
Oil filter location is criminal on 4x4 Liberties, very poor design and location. Took me 2 times to get it right because there is little clearance; I will just pay for oil changes in the future as access is better on a lift.
Floor heat is not the best (common KK issue) but decent enough to be comfortable.
Stock headlights and fog lights are abysmal. Replaced with LEDs, huge difference!
Not a performer. The engine/transmission performance is a bit slow, especially in rush-hour commuting and highway driving, you will have a harder time keeping up with traffic in this SUV than a modern SUV. Around town the performance is good, just merging/passing and keeping up at highway speeds takes considerable effort, but it'll cruise just fine at highway speeds.
Gas mileage isn't great, 12-14 MPG in mixed driving in the winter, 16-22 summer/highway depending on conditions.
The 2009 Jeep Liberty Sport 4x4 is an interesting vehicle, albeit dated. The last KK Liberty, which is the model designation for 2008-2012 Jeep Liberties, last rolled off the assembly line in 2012.
And in 2019, it shows. The vehicle just looks old in design and styling, which sometimes is a good thing for classic Jeep looks and sometimes a bad thing in terms of "road respect". The engine/transmission are quite dated as well; performance is good for a vehicle of this weight around town. Performance is average/below-average at best at highway speeds. Passing/merging takes some effort, and if you drive somewhere where aggressive driving/high speeds is common, you need some patience and planning with this vehicle. I "floor" this vehicle often enough that I don't have to worry about carbon build-up simply to manage traffic and merge safely sometimes. The other thing is gas mileage; comparable to a full-size truck in 2019 likely.
So, I guess this vehicle sucks right? Nope. Owning a Jeep is a unique experience, and coming out of a 2006 Wrangler that I drove for 8 years, the Liberty was a welcome change. The Wrangler was a fun vehicle, but by the time year 8 rolled around, it didn't do anything on-road well; even winter or rain driving without snow on the ground, my 350hp Mustang was a better choice to drive daily. The Liberty though offers a better experience. The ride and interior comfort is excellent for this vehicle, it's comfortable on long-trips and is quiet enough that you can relax even on the roughest roads. The handling and stability is great, the Liberty tracks straight and true on rough-roads and is STABLE! Wranglers with their solid-axle suspensions are notoriously bumpy and unstable, and being mechanically-inclined and owning one for eight years, you can tighten, grease and maintain the suspension meticulously and you will never get a Wrangler to track perfectly stable down a rough road. The Liberty, not a problem at all.
4WD and traction control are great in the Liberty as well. With the heavy-weight of the KK and these systems, the Liberty plows through snow without an issue and is stable and comfortable even in torrential rain with flooding. The heat after a heater core flush is great, and although floor heat could be better, I had no problems keeping warm this past winter in the Liberty, where even a Wrangler with a hard top, carpets and some insulation, is a cold experience.
Despite the 3.7 V6 and dated 42RLE 4 speed transmission, it's still a nice driving experience. Very smooth and comfortable at all speeds; just don't expect Ford Explorer Ecoboost performance and you'll be fine.
Cargo space is outstanding in the Liberty. Doesn't look like a huge SUV on the outside, but on the inside, the cargo space (even without the seats folded flat) is great, plus the center trunk storage tray is a nice touch for grocery shopping. The rear seats and the front passenger seat fold flat so loading large items is not an issue. I've done large Home Depot runs and grocery shopping in the same trip without an issue.
I've replaced all the lighting with LEDs; my only complaint is the front headlight connectors do not accept aftermarket connectors easily, making it hard to have a solid connection. Buying expensive LED headlight bulbs fixed the problem though.
Visibility is very good with this vehicle all-around due to the large windows. Easy to adjust the mirrors to eliminate blind spots, and the mirrors are so large that you can support a small blind spot mirror in them without losing valuable mirror-space either.
A/C is good as well, but I would recommend window tinting. With all of the glass, the Liberty gets hot inside if your windows aren't tinted. I was fortunate that my Liberty had factory tint and tinting the front windows made it perfect, but I've been in a 2012 without tint in black that was quite a fishbowl in the summer.
Also, Goodyear OEM tires for the Liberty are poor. Replaced them with Hankook ATM's and it's been great in the rain/snow ever since.
Overall, the Liberty is a great vehicle because true Jeeps aren't perfect. Reliability has been great with my Liberty; other than needing a cooling system flush (did myself) and valve stem/TMPS sensor replacement (rusted due to winter driving), it's been easy to maintain and a reliable, comfortable vehicle. While I can easily afford a new SUV or cross-over, it's nice driving the Liberty because I don't have to worry about rough roads, off-road conditions, bad weather, or even salt-damage as much as a new vehicle; it just keeps going through it all.
If you want a comfortable, rugged SUV with 4WD that has a nice ride-quality and great cargo room with good visibility, the Liberty is a good choice. They offer rugged looks, capability, and reliability without breaking the bank like a 4WD used pickup truck will.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th March, 2019