I guess I really don't understand "The Jeep Thing"

Discussion in '4x4's, SUV's and P/U Trucks' started by brick, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    I had to travel for work this week, which meant renting a car. They were out of standard rentals so I was "upgraded" to a newer Jeep Liberty with about 10k miles. I thought, "Hey, it's a smaller SUV. How bad can it be?" Well...

    The vehicle itself would be fine if you can get over a few fundamental things, I guess. My biggest gripe is the MASSIVE transmission tunnel which makes the foot wells tiny. Your feet are way outboard, which is odd. I wouldn't be able to drive one daily for that reason alone, personally. Otherwise I think the ergonomics were fine. The switchgear is standard domestic fare, unexciting but well-enough designed. It's tall, but frankly there isn't any more room than a car-based CUV.

    The driving experience is about what you might expect. It's tall, which makes cornering feel ungainly (but not really unsafe). Acceleration is seriously lackluster considering the 3.7L V6, yet the accelerator is incredibly touchy from a stop. I couldn't find a way to get off the line smoothly. Your best bet is to crack the throttle, take the initial jolt, and just hold it there. That seems to be common to Chrysler products that I have driven.

    Then comes FE, where it really goes to hell. I drove the Liberty about like I drive my Prius. It was standard FE driving minus gliding, which wasn't really an option. I kept it in 2WD, obviously. My traveling companion also put some miles on it, but he is a pretty efficient driver from what I can tell. Driving was an even mix of city/highway.

    The result? You really want to know? I'll tell you.

    16mpg. I didn't think that was possible, but there it is, right in line with the city rating. I have to believe something was wrong with it to burn than much gas.
  2. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    A few years ago I needed a rental and I ended up with a Chrysler Town and Country Mini Van. It was a nice vehicle until I realized I was getting 12 mpg around town. :eek:
  3. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    A lot of the things you find objectionable are a result of giving the Liberty it's off road prowess. A car based CSUV would bend itself in half trying to do what a Liberty can do offroad. The poor mileage is a result of a heavy vehicle(4100#), a low tech engine(SOHC 2valve per cylinder), A crappy final drive ratio(3.73), an antiquated 4 speed automatic tranny, and the aerodynamics of a cinder block. If you actually spend time off roading, the liberty is a good compromise between off and on road capability. If you do not go off road, the Liberty is a pretty ridiculous vehicle to use as a DD.
  4. Dave01

    Dave01 New Member

    Clearly the 3.7 in the Liberty isn't an ideal power option, I do think they could offer a gas engine that does better than that and still has the power to tow. I drive an '06 Liberty CRD with the 2.8 liter 4 cylinder Motori diesel, they only offered it in '05 and '06. It's a really nice power option, can tow the 5,000 lb. rated capacity easily, in fact could tow more from a power perspective, drives nicely on the highway, accelerates quite well. I have an aftermarket tune and get 28-30 mpg highway, 25-27 mpg around town, though both numbers drop 1-2 mpg in the winter. I drive 72-74 mph on the highway, people who drive 65 report low 30's for mpg.

    As said above, the Liberty is designed to be heavy and tough. If you want a 4WD with offroad capability, 5,000 lb. tow rating, there aren't many choices that could work better. If you don't need those features you obviously can get a higher mpg vehicle in a lighter crossover type.

    I'm used to larger vehicles, and I find the Liberty to be surprisingly comfortable, even on long trips. I find it to be a terrific SUV. My only complaint, and it's a major one, is that if I wanted to buy a new Liberty they don't offer a diesel any more.
  5. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    Agreed. And, I suspect that the most "off road" 99% of these Jeeps will see is when their owners drive them into the yard to wash them.:D
  6. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Right- Jeeps are for offroad.
    Never go offroad-don't need one.
    I remember the diesel option- it was pricey-EPA numbers weren't spectacular- but owners love them.
    Dodge/Jeep must discount them heavily for them to be sold as rentals.?
    Dodge owns Jeep ,right?
  7. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    Chrysler discounts their vehicles greatly for fleet owners. I remember before my dad retired, his company bought him a new car almost every year, as he put between 60,000 and 100,000 miles/yr on a car doing company business. When it was time to order a car, he would be given a list of about half a dozen vehicles to choose from, and what colors were available at no extra charge. He always gravitated towards the Chryslers, as they always seemed to throw extra stuff in on their fleet packages like a nice stereo, power windows & locks, cruise control, tilt wheel, etc.

    The other manufacturers seemed to strip down cars for their fleet packages. I remember my dad had a Chevy Lumina with manual crank windows in it, when power windows was "Standard equipment" Once he had a Ford that had an AM only mono radio, when AM/FM Stereo was "Standard" for that model.

    I once had a rental car which I thought was the crappiest rental ever. A Mitsubishi Lancer that had a horrendous harmonic vibration that resonated through the whole car at highway speed, and it didn't have cruise control. I was so thankful that I only needed to drive that car one day.
  8. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Right-Dodge/Plymouth ALWAYS gave you more for your $$ than Chevy Ford.
    Knowing my cheapskate dad that is why we ended up with the Fury 3 stationwagon in 1965
    And apple not falling far from tree is why I bought a 1980 D100-318 V-8 MT longbed in 1980
    for just $5400 OTD (8% sales tax-so actually selling about $5000).Same price as a 1980 Chevette MT(Chevette wife to be car did have AC-she had more sense-less cheap gene).

    It is still how Dodge sells their Ram-you can still buy a base Ram 1/2 ton for $2000 less than the equivalent Ford Chevy.
    Carrmann- just got a better price on a fairly loaded Crewcab Ram for less than the extracab Chevy.

  9. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    Yeah, my dad loved the Plymouth Caravelle. He had a few of them. It was a rebadged Chrysler E class - a K-car with a longer wheelbase, more interior room, and had a lot of the E class goodies like the dashboard message center and such. He had an 85, 86, and an 88 Caravelle, and at the end of the company's lease on the 88, he bought it.
  10. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    My dad had an 84 (I think) Dodge 600. I drove it for a week and was unimpressed. I think that was when my GLC was in the body shop. Anyway, it had a 2.2 engine that made adequate power backed with a rather agricultural soundtrack. The steering was vague and fuel economy poor. At about $11,000 , it was the most expensive car he had ever bought. I always wondered why he was so cheap , when he could have easily afforded a MB E-class.
  11. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Charlie , I bought a 77 D100 long-bed 318 3-on-the-tree in October 76. If I recall correctly (and I sometimes can) , the only options were power steering,power brakes,rear bumper, and tachometer. Selling price w/tax was around $4700. When I first got it, the tach would read between 300 and 700 rpm. Never higher. The dealer tried to tell me it was "normal" They love to say that, don't they ? But they did correct it.
  12. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    The problem was that Chrysler would only allow you to buy the diesel engine in the "limited" trim, which was expensive to start with. Had they offered the engine in the lower trim 'sport' for a reasonable upcharge, they would have sold a pile of them. I wanted on, but was not prepared to pay damn near $30K to have one. The engine was a torque monster though. I drove one and hit the gas hard off of a light and did a burnout a top fuel dragster would have been proud of. :eek::eek:
    If you can find a used one, they command a premium.
    On a side note, we went to the "chrysler block party" back in 2005. We participated in an "engineering round table" with the engineers for the PT cruiser. There were 24 owners there and every single person agreed that selling a diesel version of the PT would be a smart move. They were already selling one in Europe. As you can see, they ignored us..LOL
  13. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Edwin-the depression and the cheap gene were tough to overcome-many of that generation lived below their means.My dads father was a teacher so the depression didn't hit them much-
    but he was still cheap-always get miles gallons mpg log in vehicle.
    Heck he bought that 1961 Rambler straight 6 -ALUMINUM BLOCK-because it was supposed to get great mpg-lighter high tech etc!!
    First time I ever heard him use the MF word was in respect to that car-steaming down the hy with the 3rd headgasket head warp leak!!
    In respect to options-I could have paid $500 to get a DEALER INSTALLED AC in my 1980 D-100 but cheaped out(might have been an under dash AC).
    Turned into a HUGE mistake when my roll down windows rusted shut- no kidding rusted shut 3 years later in New Orleans- no road salt-just cheapo components with laughable whatever plating on the steel- Drove it for 3 more years in our really hot humid New Orleans summers-7 months long. I could only open the little wing window!!
    Deserved it for being so cheap!! Decent enough truck otherwise- typical off idle stumble- but they all had that back then-can't say I miss carbs!!

    Blackbelt- those that sprung for the DIESEL LOVED IT! Like you say the high trim level added HUGELY to the price.
    By all accounts it easily delivered better than EPA FE without hypermiling.
    Yeah winner of a motor.
    The PT was a nice looking useful looking car-crummy FE with the gas motor- it would have been a real winner-sustained winner since it did sell very well initially-with a TD- if it would have been a $2500 would have sold like hotcakes-gotten maybe 40 mpg when nothing else got 40 mpg(except Prius and original Insight which didn't count)
    Another missed opportunity for Chrysler. -
    Same story with that Magnum- great looking- horrible FE
    Chrysler had some potential winners but worst in class FE sunk them.
    Loved that Magnum SW- had real FE potential- but not with those engines.
    Yeah you Dodge Chrysler guys were sunk by your FE-styling and engineering was fine-
    The 5.7 hemi got HORRIBLE FE until someone wised up-put some $$ into it-and finally got 20 mpg like the Fords Chevys Toyota.
    Guessing Chrysler was just short of $$ to develop the engines-
    Chrysler is playing catch up-hope they hang on-always liked them.
    PS the newest Dart is addressing all of these concerns-could be a winner-hope so.Who would have thought FIAT reviving Chrysler!! They always made good looking cars-Italians can't make ugly metal-not in their genes.
  14. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    84 was the first year of fuel injection on those cars I think. I know 84 came with a revised engine and retooled fenders (One of my sisters had an 84 Aries K, and the other had an 89 Aries K). Our Caravelle had the bigger motor, 2.6 or 2.8 I think. Even with my mother driving it most of the time the dashboard computer read 25MPG average most of the time, but when I would drive it and reset the average MPG I would regularly average over 30 driving it. It wasn't a sportscar, but had a decent ride and as my dad said "it looks like a real car"
  15. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    I was able to coax mid 30's out of my 5 speed PT. but you are correct that the 2.4 was never a paragon of efficient engineering.
    I still miss my 55MPG 1980 diesel rabbit. :(:(
  16. Kevin108

    Kevin108 Well-Known Member

    I'm getting a little better than that highway but mine is a 2000 Cherokee loaded with armor and tools on 31" mud terrains. My daily round trip for work is less than 5 miles but once my SGII gets here, I'm definitely going to work on my numbers. I do actually use my Jeep for Jeep stuff though.

    Towing our ATVs out to a local offroad park

    Wheeling in the Outer Banks of NC with my Jeep club

    Crawling through Shoe Creek in VA

    I swapped my bumper-mounted lights out for LEDs this weekend but otherwise this is what it sits now.
  17. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Jeep owners-LOVE LOVE their jeeps.
    It would be IMPOSSIBLE to find a more loyal bunch than jeep owners who do a bit of offloading.
    Heck not offroading owners also LOVE them!!
    Just having the ability to go off road or more properly drive on crummy rocky rutted roads or trails- is why many folks love them.
    I remember taking the PILOT-definitely not an offroad machine-on a forest service road-but muddy etc- I was HAPPY it was AWD.
    Granted that was just 10 miles in 44,000 miles-but it made we slightly more confident
    and the Pilot-NO JEEP

    Yeah Jeep right tool for job if you go on unimproved roads trails - hiking camping fishing hunting bird watching etc(I have found out that bird watchers are "foaming at the mouth fanatics" when it comes to watching counting various birds-far more committed than hunters)
  18. worthywads

    worthywads Don't Feel Like Satan, I am to AAA

    I think you seriously underestimate the off road use of Jeeps.
  19. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Yeah-there are Jeep clubs all over the country
    Folks go out on weekends-bounce them all over creation
    Bet maybe 50,000 jeep owners in various clubs(pure guess)
  20. Prozac

    Prozac Well-Known Member

    I really think that depends on what part of the country you live in. When living in CO I would have fully agreed with you, but I have noticed a fair share of drivers that never travel off the beaten path. Some buy them as some sort of convertible.

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