It's a catch-22: you care about the environment, and you'd like to get out in your boat or your camper to enjoy nature, but in order to tow those things you need a big, gas-guzzling truck, right? Not so - the diesel-engine, 4WD Jeep Liberty Limited is a choice that Mother Nature can't really argue with, given the current state of automotive affairs.
Offering up to 20% more fuel efficiency over the standard gas-engine Limited, the diesel version provides significantly more torque: 295 pound-feet (at 1800 rpm) versus the gas engine's 235. When properly equipped it can tow up to 5000 pounds, which should be ample for your recreational needs.
The Italian-made, 2.8-liter, 160-horsepower turbodiesel inline 4 was made an option only on 4WD versions of Liberty's Sport and Limited trims. Its fuel rating of 22/26 blows away the 17/21 of the gasoline-powered models. Jeep was the only carmaker to offer a diesel engine in this vehicle class, and this one has been well-received for its quieter, quick-warming operation.
Diesel engines offer advantages in that the interval between oil changes is three to four times that of a gas engine, and the engines last seemingly forever. Plus, the Liberty's full tank provides a 500-mile cruising range. Of course, due to pollution-control regulations, certain states have outlawed the sale of diesel-burning vehicles. This may change, however, as biodiesel becomes more widely available.
Those who choose a diesel engine must consider that not every service station sells diesel fuel, and the fuel itself can be messy to deal with (unlike gasoline, it does not evaporate when spilled, so pumps and the ground around them are often slick). Also, the price fluctuates and can sometimes be as much as 40 cents more per gallon than gasoline..
Standard equipment on the diesel-engine Limited includes a five-speed automatic transmission and bright-chrome exterior details: grille, roof rails, and side moldings. Other included features are air conditioning, power windows, power locks, CD player, and driver and front passenger air bags.
The Limited did well in the NHTSA's crash tests, scoring 5 stars for Driver Front crash test and 4 stars for Passenger Front. Its 3-star rating in the Rollover test was not as stellar, but the included Electronic Stability Program (ESP) goes a long way in reducing the possibility of such an event in the first place. This system integrates ABS with electronic roll mitigation and traction and stability control.
The diesel Limited is available in a five-speed automatic transmission only. Options that were made available included side-curtain air bags, power sunroof, leather seating surfaces, power seats, tow package, and, for the true off-roader, a skid plate package.