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Kelley Blue Book ® - 2002 Jeep Liberty Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2002 Jeep Liberty Overview

Jeep Introduces Its First All-New Platform for the 21st Century

After nearly 15 years of faithful service, the old Cherokee platform has finally been retired, with its replacement slated to appear in dealer showrooms this summer. The 2002 Jeep Liberty represents Jeeps first new vehicle in almost a decade and promises to be a worthy successor to the vehicle that started the SUV craze.

The new Liberty has softer lines than the Cherokee and may not be easily identifiable as a Jeep until you get around to the front end. There you will find the familiar vertical slat grille and single round headlamps—a Jeep trademark since the inception of the Willys. Libertys will be available in three trim levels: base, Sport and Limited. Lift the Liberty's hood and one of two engine choices can be found. The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder carries on as the standard engine for the base model with an all-new 3.7-liter V6 as the only option. Technical advances for the V6 include a counter-rotating balance shaft that helps eliminate engine vibration. Both 4- and 6-cylinders can be ordered with 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmissions.

Jeep engineers wanted to build a thoroughly modern platform that drove comfortably on day-to-day errands, but could still carry the Jeep name with pride over the legendary Rubicon Trail. The new Liberty has achieved that goal and then some. The front coil spring suspension is all-new and allows a generous 8-inches of suspension travel. Four-wheel drive models come standard with Jeep's Select Trac part-time four-wheel drive: the CommandTrac system is optional.

Inside, the Liberty softens its image with what Jeeps calls "...a rugged, yet refined character." The dash, doors and seating materials are all tastefully blended together in a myriad of textures and colors. The instrument cluster is modern and clean, with all the gauges placed directly in front of the driver. It was our experience that shorter drivers had to lean fairly far over to operate the temperature knob on the heating and ventilation controls. Seating is firm and supportive and while there is plenty of legroom up front, rear passengers may get cramped, especially if the front seat occupants are tall. Around back, Liberty's rear gate features a flip-up window and a swing-out lower door. Unfortunately, the spare tire is attached to the rear door making it difficult for all but the tallest persons to reach over it when loading items through the flip-up glass hatch.

All things considered, the Liberty seems to be a worthy successor to the Cherokee.

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