Type and Description: Four-cylinder, inline, liquid-cooledDisplacement: 171 ci (2,768 cc)Bore x Stroke: 3.70x3.94 in (94x100 mm)Valve System: Belt drive, DOHC, 16-valveFuel Injection: Direct injection, common rail, 23,000 psiConstruction: Cast-iron block, aluminum cylinder headCompression Ratio: 17.5:1Horsepower: 160 at 3,800 rpmTorque: 295 lb-ft at 1,800 rpmMax. Engine Speed: 4,300 rpm, electronically governedOil Capacity: 6.3 qtCoolant Capacity: 13.2 qtEmission Controls: EGR, catalytic converters
We'd take the 2.8L VM Motori turbodiesel in the Jeep Liberty over the 3.7L gasoline V-6 any day! We'll even go so far as to say the new common-rail diesel (CRD) engine is good enough to make people consider buying a Liberty that would never even have given this Jeep a second look before. The 2.8L's impressive torque lags a little off the line, but load it down and the turbo builds enough boost to give you 295 lb-ft of torque at only 1,800 rpm. The Liberty's acceleration is good. We didn't get any speeding tickets in the diesel Jeep, but it will spin the tires. We're more into the Liberty's fuel economy performance. Though we only averaged 20 mpg over our 533-mile test, we were able to achieve 30 mpg on some highway runs. Currently, the Liberty diesel is only available with the five-speed automatic, but the quick shifting transmission keeps the dual over head cam (DOHC) four-valve engine right in its powerband. When we popped the hood to check out this new diesel, we were pleasantly surprised to see an Optima RedTop battery anchoring the electrical system.
We suspect that Jeep is working hard to downplay the cute-ute stigma that plagues the diesel Liberty with most male buyers. Love it or hate it, we know the looks make it hard for the man of the house to drive around town without his buddies kidding him about it. As much as we love the new engine, even we still feel kind of dorky driving it.
Once you get inside the Liberty, any feeling of dorkiness is replaced by the command-seating potion this 4x4 has. In our minds, it (and the fuel economy) makes this the perfect urban commuter Jeep. But, on a cross-country trip, that same sitting position was deemed to be less comfortable. It takes some getting used to the center console-mounted power window switches. And while we could see some gasoline vehicle owners complain about the diesel clatter, we never found it very intrusive. The engine noise is detectable at idle and full throttle, but at freeway speeds the diesel clatter seems to go away.
With the Liberty out on the trail, this little 4x4 showed that even with independent front suspension it still has the Jeep DNA. We did appreciate having the option of full-time four wheel drive which makes the Liberty much better in the rain and snow. If Jeep could just inject the Liberty's styling with some testosterone, we know it would sell more of these little babies.
Test Vehicle Specifications:Miles Driven: 533Body Style: Four-door sport-utility vehicleAssembly Plant: Toledo, OhioEngine: 2.8L VM Motori dieselTransmission: 545RFE, five-speed automaticGear Ratios :First: 3.00Second (up-shift): 1.67Second (downshift): 1.50Third: 1.00Fourth: 0.75Fifth: 0.67Reverse: 3.00Transfer Case: NV242Low-Range Ratio: 2.72:1Axle Ratio: 3.73Wheelbase: 104.3 inTrack Width (front/rear): 60/59.7 inOverall Length (to spare tire): 174.4 inOverall Width: 71.6 inOverall Height (to roof rack): 71 inDrag Coefficient: 0.421Fuel Tank Capacity: 20.5 galCargo Volume: 29.0 cubic-foot, with rear seat up; 69.0 cubic-foot, with rear seat folded downGVWR: 5,650 lbGCWR: 10,150 lbCurb Weight: 4,306 lbTrailer Hitch: Class IIIMax. Trailer Tongue Weight: 750 lbMax. Trailer Weight: 5,000 lbMax. Payload: 1,150 lbMax. Cargo: 400 lbEstimated EPA Fuel Economy (mpg): 21 city / 26 highwayDiesel Power's Observed Average Fuel Economy: 20 mpg