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First Drive: 2011 Jeep Liberty


When an automaker's resources are limited, logic suggests they be diverted to the product that will deliver the greatest return. So it's not surprising that the all-new Grand JEEP CHEROKEE has gotten the lion's share of Jeep's attention, and its vastly improved sales results speak for themselves. For those models farther down the ladder, such as the 2011 Jeep Liberty, the changes are far less dramatic.

Updated significantly for the 2008 model year, the 2011 JEEP Liberty is but a mild mid-cycle refresh, despite the need for more drastic action. In fact, Jeep only lists four changes, one of which is a selection of new paint colors.

 More important than the three new paint colors are some small interior refinements. Most significant is the new corporate Jeep steering wheel that not only looks better, but is more functional. The new three-spoke wheel offers better materials, more optional steering wheel-mounted controls, and even leather for discerning off-roaders.

Besides the steering wheel, buyers will be most pleased to find a reprogrammed optional touch screen infotainment system. In addition to minor interface upgrades that make it easier to use, the system now offers Garmin-based navigation that's a major improvement over the old unit.

 The final update for 2011 is an optional package called Jet. Available on Sport and Limited models, the Jet package is the polar opposite of the Renegade off-road package introduced midway through the 2010 model year. Urban-targeted Jet models get chrome trim, blacked-out headlight surrounds, 20-inch chrome wheels and four additional color options. Inside, they pick up a nine-speaker premium audio system, heated seats, leather trim on the steering wheel, one-touch windows, and optional gray leather seating.

The 2011 JEEP Liberty is otherwise identical to the 2010 model. The wheezy 3.7-liter V-6 and four-speed automatic remain, as do the optional part- or full-time 4WD systems. We hope the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 will be added soon, along with the new eight-speed auto. Or Jeep might just wait until the Fiat-based Liberty-replacement hits the market in 2014, but we hope not.

(Source)


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