2008 Jeep Liberty

Try to stay with us here. The Jeep Liberty was meant to be a replacement for the iconic Cherokee (it's still called that overseas,) but wasn't. The Nitro is Dodge's version of the Liberty, and it feels more like the Cherokee than Jeep's model ever has. Now, the Liberty is getting a new design and the Nitro's chassis revisions to bring it back to where the Cherokee left off. Jeep even calls the new styling "classic." Get it?

While stepping back in time, the Liberty manages to move forward, too. Among the new list of standard equipment is stability control with roll mitigation, brake assist, rain sensing wipers, tire pressure monitoring, and side-curtain air bags. Chrysler's MyGig hard drive and touch screen infotainment system is available, but that pales in comparison to the coolness of the Liberty's new "Sky Slider" (okay, the name isn't so cool) full canvas roof. Hummer has teased us with a similar concept for the H3, but the Liberty's roof is for real. African safari, here we come.

Unfortunately, not everything about the Liberty is that exciting. We've been disappointed by Chrysler's coarse 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 in its other applications, and 210 hp out of that amount of displacement is nothing to cheer about. Nor is the four-speed automatic or EPA mpg rating of 16 city/22 highway.

When it hits dealers in the third quarter of 2007, Jeep hopes the new Liberty will appeal to "young couples and new families, as well as professional, young single men and women between 30 and 40 years of age, balanced male to female." That last part is the important piece-the current Liberty is commonly know to appeal more toward young women, and is even known in some circles as the "party girl Jeep." Good luck, guys. The edgier, Cherokee-esque looks might broaden the Liberty's appeal, but we don't expect them to stop filling sorority driveways any time soon, either.

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