UPDATE: Video of the live reveal in the rain added after the jump
click above image to see some great views of the new Jeep Liberty
What better way to unveil a new Jeep than in crappy weather? Chrysler PR honcho Jason Vines joked to the assembled journalists that he seeded the clouds this morning to bring the rain down on our heads, and then a few minutes later got pressed into umbrella-holding duty. Karma really sucks, eh?
But enough schadenfraude - let's talk about the 2008 Liberty. Gone are the cute round headlamps, now replaced with something a bit more congruent with Jeep's other SUVs. Everything under the skin gets some refreshing, with the wheelbase stretched a couple inches and the spare tire moved up underneath the vehicle. The interior gets refreshed as well, and while hard plastic still dominates many of the surfaces, the seats are now covered in some fairly nice perforated two-tone leather.
One truly unique feature is the sliding canvas roof, which Jeep calls "Sky Slider" (our condolences to the driver who had to demonstrate open-roof technology in a downpour). As our own Dan Roth points out, it's interesting that a sliding canvas roof is being touted as some kind of innovation when VW Type 1s had sliding canvas sunroofs. Everything old is new again, eh?
You know the drill - live shots are in the gallery that can be accessed below and a compilation of New York Auto Show posts can be found here.
2008 Jeep® Liberty – All-new From the Ground Up
- All-new 2008 Jeep® Liberty remains true to its legendary 4x4 heritage
- Improved on-road ride and handling with new independent front and new five-link rear suspension systems
- All-new Jeep classic exterior styling, functional interior space and upgraded amenities designed to broaden its appeal to consumers
- Industry-exclusive Sky Slider™ full-open canvas roof
New York, Apr 4, 2007 - The Jeep® Liberty has remained a leader in the mid-size sport-utility vehicle (SUV) market since its introduction in 2002. The popular mid-size SUV gives off-road enthusiasts and owners their own sense of personal freedom and capability that only defines the Jeep brand.
All-new from the ground up for 2008, the Jeep Liberty remains true to its legendary 4x4 heritage by offering two Jeep Trail Rated® four-wheel-drive systems – Command-Trac® and the all-new Selec-Trac® II. On-road ride and handling have been improved and refined with the new independent front suspension, new five-link rear suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.
The Liberty's exterior has been redesigned, and takes on a more rugged, classic Jeep look that is sure to captivate the attention of current Jeep Liberty owners and broaden its consumer appeal. Inside, cargo and storage space increases and seat comfort improves. Making its world debut is the new Sky Slider™ full-open canvas roof, an industry-exclusive; giving the Jeep Liberty that "Only in a Jeep" open-air experience. Remote start, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats and mirrors, and express up/down windows are added to the vehicle's ever-growing list of available features and options. There are two models – Jeep Liberty Sport and Jeep Liberty Limited.
"The all-new 2008 Jeep Liberty stands out from the competition by offering customers classic Jeep design, two four-wheel-drive systems, refined on-road ride and handling, cargo and utility, as well as features that are not typically found on vehicles in the mid-size SUV segment," said George Murphy, Senior Vice President – Global Marketing, Chrysler Group.
The all-new Jeep Liberty is designed to appeal to customers who are looking for Jeep 4x4 capability as well as comfort and convenience. It is targeted 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. Jeep Liberty owners will balance day-to-day responsibilities with their passion for adventure as well as the outdoors. They are athletic, and pursue activities that combine their various interests with their active lifestyle. The Jeep Liberty will be available at Jeep dealerships starting in the third quarter of 2007.
The all-new 2008 Jeep Liberty offers a balance of off-road capability and on-road refinement.
All-new independent front suspension, all-new five-link rear suspension, and a power rack-and-pinion steering system contribute to the all-new 2008 Jeep Liberty's blend of on-road ride comfort and nimble, confidence-inspiring handling.
Two four-wheel-drive systems – all-new Selec-Trac II, full-time four-wheel-drive system and Command-Trac, a part-time four-wheel-drive system – both are Jeep Trail Rated.
The 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 engine provides the 2008 Jeep Liberty with competitive peak power and torque while providing smooth, quiet operation and proven durability. It produces 210 hp (157 kW) @ 5,200 rpm and 235 lb.-ft. (319 N•m) of torque @ 4,000 rpm. Fuel economy has been improved and now achieves an estimated *16 city (18 mpg using 2007 EPA standards), and *22 mpg on the highway (23 mpg based on 2007 EPA standards).
Two transmissions are offered on the Jeep Liberty in the United States: a six-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic transmission.
The 2008 Jeep Liberty was designed and engineered under the Chrysler Development System (CDS), the comprehensive, coordinated and disciplined product creation process that improves quality and speed-to-market while reducing costs and encouraging practical innovation in new products
In its first redesign since its introduction, the all-new 2008 Jeep Liberty embraces its roots by taking on a more rugged, classic Jeep design that is guaranteed to strengthen its draw to current owners and broaden its appeal to a new audience.
Jeep classic exterior styling and functional interior space are designed to broaden its consumer appeal
Industry-exclusive Sky Slider full-open canvas roof brings "Only in a Jeep" open-air experience to mid-size SUV market
Cargo capacity increases and front and rear passengers will notice the improved seat comfort along with added space.
Safety and Security
The 2008 Jeep Liberty has a full range of active and passive safety systems. Among the vehicle's standard equipment are Electronic Stability Program, Electronic Roll Mitigation, All-speed Traction Control, Brake Assist, advanced anti-lock brakes, rain sensing wipers, Tire Pressure Monitoring, and side-curtain air bags.
The 2008 Jeep Liberty offers the MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System™ a completely integrated audio, navigation, entertainment and hands-free communication system. MyGIG allows customers to use touch screen or voice commands to control features, and includes a 20-gigabyte hard drive where music and photos can be stored. The system also includes a voice-memo recorder feature. MyGIG supports real-time traffic information, available through SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and can provide an alternate drive route based on traffic conditions. All of these functions can be controlled through voice commands and by utilizing a touch screen.
SIRIUS Satellite Radio provides U.S. customers with 130 channels, including 100 percent commercial-free music, sports, news, talk, entertainment, traffic and weather. And the UConnect® hands-free communication system uses Bluetooth® technology to provide wireless communication between the customer's compatible mobile phone and the vehicle's on-board receiver.
The 2008 Jeep Liberty will be built using Chrysler Group's modern production process, called the Flexible Manufacturing Strategy (FMS). FMS allows multiple products to be produced at one plant in a time-efficient manner that are a higher quality for lower cost. At the core of the new manufacturing process is the heavy use of robots at the Toledo (Ohio) North Assembly Plant.