2012 Jeep Liberty Arctic Edition - front three-quarter view

The replacement for the aging Jeep Liberty is expected to debut at next January's Detroit Auto Show, and when it does, a brand-new Pentastar powertrain will reportedly be spinning underhood. According to Automotive News, Chrysler will offer a downsized 3.2-liter V6 in the Liberty mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission sourced from ZF. The current Pentastar V6 displaces 3.6 liters and has been well-received by both critics and buyers in everything from the refreshed Dodge Journey to new Chrysler 300.

Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne reiterated to AN that efficient transmissions play a huge role in the development of engines. "If we had known the eight-speed was coming, we could have made the [3.6-liter] Pentastar a 3.2-liter," he said.

Currently, the Liberty is available with a 3.7-liter SOHC V6 that produces 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque backed by a four-speed automatic transmission. This new 3.2-liter/nine-speed combo will surely improve performance, not to mention overall efficiency, though specific power and fuel economy details are still up in the air at this time.
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