Pros: Great looks, great sound system, lots of headroom and leg room.
Cons: Poor reliability, lots of transmission problems, Some quirky controls
I just wanted to share a few thoughts about my 2002 Jeep Liberty, Limited, 4WD. And why I traded it away after having it only 11 months.
Firstly, what a great looking vehicle! Daimler-Chrysler really hit the mark with the Liberty's exterior and interior looks. It couldn't be much better. The ride is nice and smooth (though a bit unstable from side to side in high winds), and acceleration is great for such a heavy vehicle. Gas mileage is simply horrible, but hey, it's a Jeep and I read the MPG rating before I bought it, so that's my problem. (I was getting a combined average of 12.9 MPG though, much lower than the MPG rating posted on the window sticker.) The sound system sounds great and I don't know how I lived without steering wheel mounted audio controls. The seats are firm and supportive and the legroom and headroom are wonderful, even for a six and a half footer like myself. The rear passenger room is generous as well.
Now, to the disappointment... Firstly, a couple design flaws...the center mounted window controls are fine, but are easily bumped when putting a cup into the cup holder, rolling down the windows at inopportune times. I actually left my Liberty out in the rain with with windows open because I failed to notice the window controls got bumped. Also, the control switch for the heated seats turns on by simply getting in and out of the car about half of the time on both the passenger and the driver's side. A really unpleasant feeling on a hot day! The controls should be re-designed or relocated to somewhere easier to reach and less likely to be bumped by your leg when entering or exiting the vehicle. The paint of the driver's side door molding is rubbing off a bit too for some unknown reason.
Now the MAJOR problems...At 3,900 miles the transmission failed due to rusted-out connections and faulty computer controls, transmission fluid leaked from around the main seal/gasket, and acceleration from a stop was horrible...you needed to floor the gas pedal to get moving. I took the Jeep in for service and the problem was fixed in about two days at the shop. Next... at 8,000 miles, the transmission failed again...same problem, same symptoms, same solution...spent four days at the shop waiting for parts. Next...13,000 miles and the same problem!!! Except in addition, the car wouldn't accelerate over 60 miles an hour without loud engine revs and a burning smell in the cabin. The car also lurched forward violently (like you were being hit from behind by another car) whenever shifted into drive. The car also whined, whirred and buzzed when put into neutral and actually moved forward at about 3-4 miles an hour when in NEUTRAL! When shifted from park to drive, the transmission sounded like someone threw a handful of rocks into a blender. After spending a week at the dealer I got my Liberty back again, only to find that engine was much louder than before and now it only gets slightly over 10 miles a gallon. I called the dealer and they told me that it could take as much as 10,000 miles for the MPG to "even out" after such major work on the engine. Well, that was that. I traded in the lemon of a Liberty and got myself a reliable, well-built car. (A 2002 Volkswagen Passat V6.)
BEWARE...the Liberty looks great, but is plagued with problems. I suggest shopping around and taking a look at the Toyota RAV4 or Nissan Pathfinder or Xterra before making your decision.