Road Test Follow-Up: 2002 Jeep Liberty Renegade

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Nov 6, 2002.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,822
    Likes Received:
    1,754
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Less Cute, More 'Ute

    [​IMG]

    By Warren Clarke

    It was pretty clear that Jeep needed to do something about its aged Cherokee. The 'ute, in existence since 1984, no longer enjoyed the warm reception it received in its glory days, thanks to sharp, new competition and profound improvements made to longtime adversaries. Help came this year in the form of the 2002 Jeep Liberty, which roared in to replace the terminated Cherokee. The Liberty offered all that the Cherokee did and then some; it's reasonably competent on pavement and bashes boulders like an Olympic rock climber off-road. But there was a problem: its "cute 'ute" appearance — highlighted by its sweetly bug-eyed peepers — struck some as being displeasingly contrary to its rugged nature. No doubt with those souls in mind, Jeep has conjured up the Renegade, a sporty flavor of the Liberty that wears its outdoorsman aspirations on its sleeve.

    On the inside, the Renegade doesn't stray much from what's offered by the Limited trim we reviewed a few months ago; this is a good thing. Furnishings within are modern and class-leading, with brushed aluminum trim, first-rate materials, an aesthetically pleasing gauge cluster and useful steering wheel-mounted audio controls. The leather and cloth seats are comfortable and supportive. Our one quibble — and it's a minor one — continues to be the center console-located window controls; this setup is counterintuitive, and takes some getting used to.

    [​IMG]
    Furnishings within are modern and class-leading, with brushed aluminum trim, first-rate materials, an aesthetically pleasing gauge cluster.

    Standard in the Renegade are features such as air conditioning, power locks and windows, a six-speaker stereo system with CD player and a pleasantly textured leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Renegade seats five; at a reasonably capacious 69 cubic feet, interior cargo capacity is about average relative to the competition.

    Taken off-road, the Renegade shines; this is a Jeep, no doubt about it. Muddy trail? No problem. Boulder-strewn path? Piece of cake. However, when driven on pavement, the Renegade comes up a little bit short in comparison to some of its less off-road-oriented, car-based competitors. As would be expected, its trailworthy suspension easily dispatches potholes and uneven pavement. But its chunky poundage (nearly 4,000 pounds; competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Mazda Tribute weigh in at under 3,500 pounds) — which works in its favor off-road, keeping it firmly planted — makes it a bit ponderous on city streets. There is also quite a bit of body roll in evidence, and the steering is somewhat stiff and unresponsive.

    A 3.7-liter V6, which motivates 210 horses and 235 pound-feet of torque, does a respectable job of powering the Renegade's bulk; highway passing maneuvers were easily tackled. Additionally, the engine has a noticeable, but not entirely unpleasant, growl at high rpm. Fuel economy is far from stellar. Be prepared to spend much time and money at the gas pump; the Renegade (when mated to an automatic tranny, as was the model that we test drove) is rated at 16 mpg in the city and 20 on the highway. During its week with us, the Renegade averaged 12 mpg. Towing capacity is rated at 3,500 pounds.

    [​IMG]

    Despite its youth, the Liberty has already achieved some notoriety with regard to its handling; specifically, one automotive enthusiast publication rolled it during slalom testing. Consequently, we were anxious to see how the Renegade fared during its time with us. Happily, stability through the slalom felt as confident as anything in the compact-SUV segment. The Renegade's tall second gear allowed us to keep the transmission in one gear during our runs, thus providing excellent torque for powering through the cones.

    Safetywise, the Renegade offers standard front multistage airbags (side airbags are available as an option) and three-point seatbelts in front and back. We suggest adding optional antilock brakes to your features list; the Renegade that we tested lacked it. We found the 'ute's brake pedal squishy and difficult to modulate. Add in the brake fade that was occurring by the final braking runs and it was nearly impossible to get a short stopping distance, even by non-ABS standards. We reported a 60-to-0 stopping distance of 158 feet, and a 30-to-0 stopping distance of 36 feet.

    There is some comfort to be had in the knowledge that the Renegade rates an exemplary five out of a possible five stars for its driver side, and four stars passenger side in the NHTSA's frontal impact crash testing; in side-impact testing, the Renegade rates five stars front and rear. In true SUV fashion, however, rollover resistance was less impressive; here, the Renegade nets two stars.

    But the real news regarding the Renegade is, of course, what's on the outside. With the Renegade, the Liberty has been given a decidedly more audacious face. On top, this trim has been crowned with a rather fearsome-looking, testosterone-laden integrated activity light bar, which all but screams "rugged" and "adventuresome." The light bar houses four halogen lamps; with 150,000 candlepower, these lamps are capable of shedding light on a variety of situations, whether it is a rocky mountain path or a late-night get-together at the beach. The lamps are shielded by protective plastic covers; we found these were too easy to dislodge, and felt that they would have benefited from being somehow tethered to the lamps. From an aesthetic standpoint, some of our editors found the light bar a bit overwrought. Others, however, lauded its usefulness, and thought it succeeded in adding a welcome jolt of machismo to the Liberty.

    The Renegade trim also boasts unique wheel flares that are wider than those on the standard Liberty, with machined stainless steel bolt heads. Trapezoidal wheel apertures frame meaty all-terrain tires mounted on 16-inch six-spoke aluminum wheels. Protective silver tubular side steps with black step pads are attached to the Renegade's underside; these side steps may be removed to facilitate extreme off-road adventures. Our Renegade was decked in an appealing Cactus Green; other available hues are Light Khaki and Bright Silver.

    The Renegade's ostentatiously virile appearance certainly proved eye-catching. One of our editors was extensively interrogated at a stoplight by an eager admirer, who was anxious to glean all manner of details regarding the Renegade's performance, pricing and availability. By and large, the 'ute's pumped-up exterior met with a glowing response; "That's a hot-looking ride," remarked an acquaintance of one of our editors.

    [​IMG]
    By and large, the 'ute's pumped-up exterior met with a glowing response; "That's a hot-looking ride," remarked an acquaintance of one of our editors.

    In some circles, appearance is everything. The Liberty line of SUVs is at the top of its class when it comes to true off-road performance. With the Renegade, Jeep gives buyers a vehicle that's generously endowed with the brand's legendary trail-busting prowess — and one that looks the part, as well. Our Renegade was priced at $23,245 — approximately $900 more than a similarly equipped Liberty in the Limited trim. Are the extra exterior doodads worth 900 bucks? Only if you truly have a need for a halogen lamp-equipped activity light bar.
     
  2. Wakefield

    Wakefield Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2001
    Messages:
    28,867
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    KY

    No longer enjoyed the warm reception? The cherokee was still a hot seller when DC gave it the axe.





    :rofl: :rofl:

    Like less ground clearance, less storage, more plastic, more fluff, more bulky with less utility
     
  3. DetR6oit

    DetR6oit New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit/Warren MI
    Re: Re: Road Test Follow-Up: 2002 Jeep Liberty Renegade

    A ton worse offroad, less easily modified for offroad use, worse looking, less power, more weight, I know there is even more
     
  4. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,822
    Likes Received:
    1,754
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    So much hatred. :rofl:

    I seriously like it with the Renegade trim, and it would be at the top of my SUV list.

    For $24k you are getting a ton of SUV for the money, with a larger more useful interior than the Cherokee to boot. That is my number one complaint with the Cherokee, the interior was way too narrow along with the seats.

    The only thing I don't like is it doesn't use the I-6, but some things simply don't last forever.
     
  5. TopGun

    TopGun Guest

    Re: Re: Re: Road Test Follow-Up: 2002 Jeep Liberty Renegade

    you forgot the biggest one. IFS :ugh2:
     
  6. DetR6oit

    DetR6oit New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit/Warren MI

    The Cherokee has more room in every way except head room. In fact there was kind of a scandle because the cherokees cargo room magicly dropped the last year it was produced so it would make the Liberty look better. Do searches on JU in the link below and you will see.

    Here is a link talking about how the room sucks in the Liberty
    http://jeepsunlimited.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=126983




    There is no way in hell I would pay 24k for that thing, especially when you could get a 2wd grand cherokee right about that price or pay 2 grand more and get 4wd. It has a ton more room better interior, better offroad, better looking, better riding, a ton more power, a good amount less weight, yeah thats right the libnerty weighs more than a grand cherokee.
     
  7. flynfrog

    flynfrog Cool isnt Cheap

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Messages:
    6,621
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Utah
    jeep people fear change
     
  8. DetR6oit

    DetR6oit New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit/Warren MI
    You mean hate minivans, that have all the function taken from them to look like a cool SUV, and could have been sold as a dodge instead of just trying to capitalize on suckers and idiots buying it becasue it has the Jeep name, yeah I hate that. I mean seriosly what separates a liberty from a minivan? Just the fact that it doesn't have a sliding side door.
     
  9. TopGun

    TopGun Guest

    I fear taking a capable offroading vehicle and turning it into a soccer mom driving worthless peice of shit. Just like the rest of the SUV's out there, the newest Jeep is no better than the ford exploder. Marketing a minivan with the Jeep name and calling it a capable offroading machine is disgusting. :greddy:
     
  10. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,822
    Likes Received:
    1,754
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    I was a member of a very large Jeep list when the Grand Cherokee ZJ debuted, and everyone cried "minivan" back then too. Bring back the SJ with it's 360 and Dana 44s they said!

    Time has shown it was just the opposite, and the Jeep sheep overreacted. Reviewers in all sorts of magazines have also shown that the KJ is superior to it's competitors in the off-road department.

    The KJ is rumored to be recieving a small diesel option and even stouter suspension next year too.

    Jeep is on a roll, and I like the KJ. :cool:

    I can't wait to see what the Jeep "hardcore" scream when they release a small off-road dirt racing vehicle in the vein of the WRX. :big grin:
     
  11. TopGun

    TopGun Guest

    Time will not help IFS.
     
  12. DetR6oit

    DetR6oit New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit/Warren MI

    Ok this is why, the Xterra beat it in one comparison becasue it had more ground clearance, also at camp Jeep there was a lot of KJs with major damage becasue they could not handle the rocks at this years, this is coming from a member of the site/club I am on and he also designed the tail lights and owns a liberty. Also another engineer who actually was the one who tested the rubicon wranger and actually brought it out on one of our trail runs last february said they had just got back from a trip in canada and had beat the crap out of the KJs trying to get them through the same sections as the other Jeeps.

    Your example its not right either, even the grands are not all that capable and I should know becasue I have a WJ and do take it offroad also. Neddless to say its terrible compared to my TJ, but thats pretty much expected but the ground clearance sucks on it, it smashes on every little thing but becasue it has some decent flex and the front overhang isn't too bad you can get it thorugh some decent stuff, but its still dissappointing to me. It also is better than SJs offroad in someways becasue of its smaller size. And I sure there was such a huge Jeep list back in 92-93 when the ZJ came out. :rolleyes: The internet still hadn't even really got going by then.
     
  13. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,822
    Likes Received:
    1,754
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Isn't it obvious that the TJ is better than any other Jeep model off-road stock? I couldn't care less if the TJ was better than a KJ or WJ off-road, for what it is it SHOULD be.

    As for me, I want a more well rounded offering for my needs. You don't like the KJ, that's fine. I like the Renegade, I would own one over any other SUV in it's class, including the Xterra (which a friend of mine bought).

    SJs also aren't any larger than ZJs or WJs, but they do weigh quite a bit. SJs aren't much larger than S-10 Blazers either, only two inches longer and slightly wider.
     
  14. TopGun

    TopGun Guest

    Umm, no. WJ and especially the XJ are just as good. XJ has a longer wheel base, which is very nice in some situations, it weighs exactly the same as a TJ, has the same motor and exact same drivetrain.
     
  15. DetR6oit

    DetR6oit New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit/Warren MI
    Didn't I say that was obvious? or are you just not paying attention? The XJ and WJ both can be modified very easily to have more ground clearance and be really capable, the KJ, nope. 2-3 inches max and you are losing suspension articulation while the guys who lift their grands are gettting more clearance and gaining articulation. I'll pass on the mini van, thanks.
     
  16. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,822
    Likes Received:
    1,754
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    2-3 inches is perfect for many off-road situations while retaining the stock driving dynamics on the street. Now that Jeep is adopting IFS there will be continuing aftermarket improvements for those types of suspension systems.

    I'll pass on any more lift than mentioned and driving over jagged rocks thanks. ;)
     
  17. TopGun

    TopGun Guest

    Why IFS sucks dick - http://bigcherokee.com/ifssfa.html

    Yep. :ugh2:

    You know what the first thing people do to a KJ if they're serious about offroading it?(only god knows why:ugh: ) That's right, they rip that IFS shit out and put in a solid front axle.
     
  18. DetR6oit

    DetR6oit New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit/Warren MI
  19. DetR6oit

    DetR6oit New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit/Warren MI
    Lift don't mean shit its all tire size and 2-3 inches aint getting you nothing on a Liberty maybe 32s if you don't mind rubbing fairly hard. Thats what you need most on it also since the front suspension hangs so low on them. Well unless you like to bash it on every little thing on the trail.
     
  20. flynfrog

    flynfrog Cool isnt Cheap

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Messages:
    6,621
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Utah
    just a joke man i totaly agree with you but most people who off road a jeep dont buy it off the lot they buy used and the car company dont give 2 shits if your goign to buy a car 5 years form now
     
  21. DetR6oit

    DetR6oit New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2002
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Detroit/Warren MI
    I don't know about that, I have many friends that I offroad with that have brand new Jeeps. One has a rubicon that is already lifted 6 inches and tons of other stuff already. As soon as he got it home it was on blocks getting a lift. Another had his brand new 2002 offroad in a major trip within a week, wasn't even fully broken in yet. Jeep guys are quite different than other types of offroaders.
     
  22. flynfrog

    flynfrog Cool isnt Cheap

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Messages:
    6,621
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Utah
    I guess its a jeep thing i wouldnt under stand:rofl: :big grin:























    but what do i know i wheel with a nearly stock truck with almost bald tires

    no i dont do any hard trails mostly mess around in the mud closet trails are an hours drive and its along hour in a truck wiht no shocks and the exasue rusted off and the radio dosent alwasy work
     
  23. shupach

    shupach Guest

    hehe they lowered the liberty cause it couldnt handle the slaloms, heres my answer : ITS A JEEP!!! DONT DRIVE IT LIKE A FERRARI!!!!!
     
  24. LowkeyG

    LowkeyG OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2002
    Messages:
    29,188
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Toronto
    hummer = independant suspension:fawk:
     
  25. dragon1976

    dragon1976 Guest

    The Hummer is set up for desert Running, not Rock crawling. Those trophy trucks which race in the desert, are also IFS. So are ATV's.

    Apples and Oranges
     

Share This Page