Compact SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $11,500 – $21,200*


2008 Jeep Liberty Front


2008 Jeep Liberty Rear


2008 Jeep Liberty Interior


2008 Jeep Liberty Rear-2

Pros:
  • Off-rad ability
  • Cargo room
Cons:
  • Engine noise
  • Fuel economy
  • Handling
  • Rear-seat room and comfort

The second generation of this “Trail Rated” compact is roomier and more refined. Jeep called Liberty one of its “traditional” trucks, as it retained the brand’s trademark off-road prowess-unlike the more car-like Compass and Patriot. Shoppers who have no plans to venture beyond the pavement will be better served by more refined SUVs, such as Toyota’s RAV4; but for those with real wanderlust, Jeep remains the logical choice.

Overview

Redesigned for the first time since its introduction, the 2008 Jeep Liberty compact sport-utility vehicle attempted to capture the rugged appeal of its classic Jeep predecessor. Available in two models, Sport and Limited, the Liberty used a 210-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 with a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Two four-wheel-drive systems were available, as an alternative to the standard rear-wheel drive. Selec-Trac II could be left engaged on dry pavement. The Command-Trac system should not be left engaged on dry pavement. Both included low-range gearing for off-road use. Sharing its basic design with the Dodge Nitro, a Liberty could tow as much as 5,000 pounds.

Standard safety features included antilock brakes, traction control, an antiskid system with rollover sensors, and curtain side airbags. The 2008 Liberty marked the debut of the Sky Slider, a retractable canvas roof that opened over both seating rows and provided an open-air experience much like the Jeep Wrangler. Also available were a navigation system and satellite radio. Larger than its predecessor in every dimension, the redesigned 2008 Liberty offered more cargo capacity and passenger space. Possible rivals included the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Suzuki Grand Vitara, and Toyota RAV4; but none of these approached Jeep’s reputation for off-road capability.

Yearly Updates

2009 Liberty
The six-speed manual transmission was dropped, so all 2009 Liberty models had automatic. Newly available was Chrysler’s uconnect multimedia suite, including a navigation system with real-time traffic updates, a 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing digital media and picture files, and a wireless cell-phone link. New Rocky Mountain editions included 17-inch aluminum wheels and uconnect.
2010 Liberty
The 2010 Jeep Liberty lineup gained a new trim level for 2010. The off-road-oriented Renegade model joined the base Sport and top-line Limited.
2011 Liberty
The 2011 Jeep Liberty sees only minor trim changes.
2012 Liberty
The off-road-oriented Renegade was dropped from the 2012 Jeep Liberty lineup, but there were no other changes of note.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

All Liberty wagons contain the same engine: A 3.7-liter V6 rated at 210 horsepower. For 2008 it could be mated to either a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, but only the automatic was offered for ’09. Libertys can be equipped with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.7/226
Engine HP 210
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 235
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
4-speed automatic
16/22
15/21
16.1

Road Test

Liberty is no ball of fire, but it moves along well enough. Acceleration with four-wheel drive is acceptable from a standstill, but passing and merging demand some planning ahead. The automatic transmission works smoothly enough, but often requires a deep stab at the gas pedal to coax a downshift for more power.

Fuel economy falls short. 4WD models averaged 15.5 to 16.5 mpg in city/highway driving, and 17.5 to 18.1 mpg with more highway use. Liberty uses regular-grade gas.

Sport models had 16-inch wheels versus the Limited’s 17s, but ride quality differs little between the two models. Isolation from bumps and broken surfaces is good given these Jeeps’ off-road prowess. Some road surfaces induce mild bucking and sharp bumps register, though not harshly.

Liberty never lets you forget it’s a truck. It leans more in corners than most compact SUVs, and its tires squeal even in moderate-speed turns. Steering is nothing special. Brakes on one test model had dull, wooden pedal action, and simulated panic stops caused moderate nosedive.

Liberty’s blocky shape contributes to marked highway wind noise, but road roar is well muted. The engine sounds coarse and unrefined. If installed, the massive, available Sky Slider roof effectively seals out noise when closed.

Gauges are large and easy to read. Most controls are clearly marked and logically placed. Note that there are buttons to govern the uconnect cell-phone link, even if the vehicle is not equipped with that feature.

Though Liberty shares its basic design with the Dodge Nitro, some cabin materials are a notch upscale of that SUV. Most of the interior, though, is shrouded in hard plastic with no soft-touch surfaces. Nothing looks especially classy, but nothing disappoints, either. It’s appropriate for a “Trail Rated” Jeep, but trails most rivals for overall ambiance.

Front-seat occupants get fine legroom, but despite the tall build, headroom is limited for taller occupants. The cabin feels narrow and snug overall. High-set seats provide a commanding view of the road, though visibility is hindered somewhat by thickish center- and rear-roof pillars.

The rear seat offers adequate six-footer headroom, but legroom and knee clearance are tight. Door openings are very narrow at the bottom, making entry/exit a real chore. The split bench is comfortable and fairly supportive, though a narrow cabin means three-abreast seating is best reserved for short jaunts.

A large hatch opening and cubic shape makes the most of the available cargo space. Liberty shares the Nitro’s available flat-folding front passenger seat, which (if installed) is a boon to stowing longer items, but Jeep doesn’t offer the Nitro’s Load ‘n Go roll-out cargo floor. Rear seatbacks fold flat, but their headrests must be removed if front seats are set far back. Cabin storage is limited to a narrow center console and smallish glovebox.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Jeep Liberty

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 50

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.1 176.9 72.4 70.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
64.6 19.5 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.4 40.3 40.8 38.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Liberty 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Audio system
Description: The MyGIG radio may stop working properly and there was a campaign to update the software. (2008)
Audio system
Description: Disconnecting or reconnecting the battery without first removing the radio fuse can damage the MyGig radio due to voltage spikes. (2008-09)
None
Description: The interior lights and audible warning may activate and the liftgate ajar light may come on because the switch wires short out to the body when the liftgate is closed. (2008)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light my come on when the temperature is below freezing requiring installation of an improved throttle body. (2008-09)

Recall History

2008
Description: On some vehicles, windshield and/or fixed rear-quarter glass may have been assembled using incorrect adhesive, which could affect glass retention.
2008 w/manual shift
Description: The park brake lever clutch drum may distort and reduce the effectiveness of the park brake system, which could allow the vehicle to roll unexpectedly and cause a crash.
2008 Liberty
Description: The vehicles are equipped with windshield wiper motors that contain excess adhesive that may allow for water intrusion, which could result in intermittent and eventually inoperative windshield wiper operation. A failing or inoperative windshield wiper system will reduce a driver’s visibility which could result in a crash. Dealers will replace the windshield wiper motor free of charge.
2008-09 w/aftermarket Rock Krawler Performance Suspension
Description: Some systems were produced with improper-grade bolts, which could permit loss of clamping force, which could cause lowering of vehicle.
2010
Description: These vehicles may have been built with an improperly formed or missing brake booster input rod retaining clip. This could result in brake failure without warning, which could cause a crash. Chrysler will replace the brake booster input rod retaining clip free of charge.
2010 left-hand drive versions
Description: These vehicles may have been built with an improperly formed master cylinder to hydraulic control unit (HCU) brake tube assembly end flare. This could lead to loss of brake fluid and reduced braking performance increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will replace the brake tubes free of charge.
2011 Liberty
Description: Vehicles may have been built with a missing or incorrectly installed steering column pivot rivet. This could compromise the ability of the steering column to support the occupant loads in the event of a frontal crash, decreasing the effectiveness of the frontal impact safety system. As a result, the condition may increase the potential for injury in a frontal crash. Dealers will inspect for rivet presence and alignment and repair the steering column pivot as required, free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.