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Jeep Liberty Diesel PDF Print E-mail

For regular readers of this column who expect to be able to go right out and buy the subject vehicle, forget it!  The Americans do not care for diesels, right?  So only now has the mighty DaimlerChrysler decided to add a diesel motor to its smaller Jeep range: the 2006 Liberty Diesel.  While DCX is not making any firm predictions for the Liberty’s success in its native North America, a diesel Jeep is certain to find many admirers in Europe and parts of Asia – if it eventually gets there.

Jeep Liberty Diesel
Jeep Liberty Diesel
Launched at January’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit the Liberty Limited Diesel is Chrysler’s first mid-range foray into the world of Rudolf Diesel, although in some markets the retro-styled PT Cruiser is available with a 2.2 liter oil-burner.  The engine in the Liberty is, inevitably, a European unit, a 2.8 liter common-rail diesel.  Producing a modest 160 bhp (118 kW) and a hefty 400 Nm of torque at just 1,800 rpm, the Liberty drives through a beefed-up five-speed automatic transmission.

According to Chrysler’s website customers in the United States are increasingly expressing interest in diesel products, citing improved fuel economy, a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, extended range between fill-ups and enhanced towing capacity.

The 2006 Jeep Liberty has, among other refinements, electronic stability program (ESP) as standard equipment, greatly enhancing its capability both on- and off-road.  If there is a discernible difference between what the driver requests of the steering input and the direction the vehicle actually takes, i.e. a slide of any kind, the ESP applies selective braking and throttle to return the Liberty to the driver’s intended path.  The system is calibrated to allow greater control in difficult conditions, while allowing normal driving without being intrusive.  The program integrates the anti-lock braking system, traction control, Brake Assist, and an electronic roll-over detection system.

There are two four-wheel drive options: the Command-Trac is a part-time system that allows drivers to shift into high-range 4WD at speeds up to 88 km/h, while Select-Trac is a full-time all-wheel drive system. 

The Liberty Limited has a chrome grille, chrome side moldings and chrome roof  rails.  Standard are cloth bucket seats, a power driver’s seat, leather steering wheel and 17-inch aluminum wheels.  Options include full-length side air curtains, leather upholstery, sun roof and a premium audio set-up with six speakers.

Jeep Liberty Diesel
Jeep Liberty Diesel
The Liberty is the first diesel in the U.S. mid-size SUV segment offering, says Chrysler, “the torque of a V8, performance of a V6 and the fuel economy of a four-cylinder engine”.  The automaker claims the diesel provides up to 32 percent better fuel economy over comparable gas engines, with an average 20 percent reduction in CO² emissions. 

The engine is sourced from DaimlerChrysler’s Italian subsidiary VM Motori, which also supplies Jeep with a diesel motor for its larger Grand Cherokee.  While the Liberty’s diesel is only 2.8 liters, it will propel the 4x4 from rest to 100 km/h in under 10 seconds; not at all anything to be ashamed of considering its excellent off-road capabilities as well.

While the Liberty Limited CRD sells for about $1,000 more than the gas version in the United States, its long-term benefits are obvious in terms of miles-per-gallon and extended service intervals.  The Italian makers of the engine also offer a five-year warranty on the engine which should calm any fears about its longevity.

Although not yet available in Thailand, or for that matter anywhere outside the U.S. – it is produced at Chrysler’s Toledo plant in Ohio - the idea of a compact diesel Jeep is extremely appealing.  Let’s hope DaimlerChrysler releases it to the rest of the world before very much longer.

 
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© 2018 Jeff Heselwood. All rights reserved.
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