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Goodbye Arctic, The 2014 Liberty To Become More 'Carlike'

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On: Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 9:25AM | By: Chris Salamone


Goodbye Arctic, The 2014 Liberty To Become More 'Carlike'

‘Tis a dark day in the world of off-roading Jeepdom. Car and Driver reports that a Jeep company executive has spoken the words no true Jeep fan wants to hear: the 2014 Liberty will be vastly more carlike, based on a front-wheel drive platform, and possibly mated to smaller Fiat-supplied engines.

The current and previous Liberty models (including the 2012 Liberty Arctic shown above) employ a car-type unibody reinforced by a rugged-duty frame underneath, a building technique Jeep calls uniframe construction. However, the next generation 2014 Liberty will likely drop Jeep’s current uniframe and pick up one of the company’s other car-based platforms. Hopefully Jeep Liberty enthusiasts also like the current Patriot and Compass models.

But it’s not all bad news. New Liberty buyers will have a choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive. Fuel economy will almost certainly increase and Jeep will have a broader set of vehicles – maybe with the ability to finally compete with brands like Toyota or Honda. In theory, ardent supports of Jeep’s off-road heritage can still raise the mantle of rock-crawling with Jeep’s four-door Wrangler Unlimited.

Although Jeep has not released any details relative to the vehicle’s powertrain, Car and Driver suggests that “Fiat can supply a number of efficient powertrains for the next liberty, which may mean Chrysler’s current 2.4-liter four fitted with MultiAir or even a new 1.8-liter turbo four from Italy.” Some glimmer of hope exists for the company’s latest 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 (or a future variant) showing up as an optional engine upgrade.

In light of new and looming CAFE standards, the worldwide economic downturn, and rising oil prices, perhaps Chrysler and Fiat are planning for a future when buyers look at a car the like Jeep Liberty and purchase it simply because of the vehicle’s competitiveness with Toyota’s RAV4. Today, however, people value the Jeep Liberty for its ruggedness, good looks, off-road prowess, and overall character. Will the 2014 Liberty be received as a watered-down attempt to broaden Jeep’s niche brand image?

Putting aside our fears of a Jeepocalypse, both Chrysler and Fiat understand the importance of heritage and public perception. As long as the 2014 Jeep Liberty can do everything the current generation can do and tack on some extra MPG, it seems likely the newest Liberty will be well received. And hey, if not, the companies can always throw in a Yeti to sweeten the deal.




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Stephy21 | 9:49AM (Wed, Nov 23, 2011)

I cant believe that a jeep company would even think of making the new jeeps more similar to cars. I don't think they will sell good cause people buy jeeps for there tough look and so they can go outdoors and have a good time but we will see what happens.



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