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Next Jeep Liberty Bringing Smaller Pentastar Engine

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On: Mon, Mar 19, 2012 at 11:22AM | By: Chris Weiss

Next Jeep Liberty Bringing Smaller Pentastar Engine

The Jeep Liberty...it's kind of like the awkward step sister of the Jeep family (although, to be fair, there are several awkward step sisters in that family). It's not as big or coveted as the larger Jeep Grand Cherokee. It's certainly not as capable as the Jeep Wrangler. It doesn't have the history of the standard Cherokee it replaced. It's $8,000 more than the Patriot (we're not too big on that one, either, but at least it's cheap). Some pretty knowledgeable voices have argued that the Liberty is a watered down departure from Jeep's heritage. We agree, and frankly, we don't understand why anyone even buys the thing.

Jeep will have another go at giving us a reason to like the Liberty, when it introduces the next generation model next year. One reason to like the model is that it will be the launch vessel for a new, smaller Pentastar V-6.

Automotive News reports the Liberty's V-6 engine option will shrink down to 3.2 liters, from the standard 3.7-liter engine offered now. The 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6 will replace the current 3.6-liter Pentastar that's offered in other models like the Jeep Wrangler. There's no indication as to how that displacement shrinkage will affect the Liberty's 210-hp and 235 lb.-ft. of torque, but we assume it'll help out the model's not-so-impressive 15/21 mpg rating.

Whatever the final output figures, power will be routed through a new nine-speed automatic transmission developed by ZF. Some current Chrysler models like the 300 use an eight-speed automatic from ZF, and this is the first model we've heard in line for the upcoming niner.

The 3.2-liter V-6 won't be the only slimmed down engine coming to Chrysler V-6 lineup. Chrysler plans to replace seven current V-6s with new Pentastar models in the coming years. At least one of those engines will utilize Multi-Air technology from Fiat.

The new Liberty will debut at next year's Detroit Auto Show. Hopefully, it will feature some improvement in styling, along with the new engine.


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