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The first refresh of the Jeep Liberty took place for model-year 2005, three years after its debut. The market responded, with the Liberty beating the Ford Escape to be the best-selling compact SUV in the United States for 2005.
The major addition to the line was a diesel engine option, provided by long-time Chrysler supplier (in Europe) VM. Jeep Liberty was the first diesel-powered mid-size
sport-utility in the US, using a VM 2.8
liter common-rail turbodiesel engine rated at 160
horsepower (120 kW) at 3800 rpm, with an enormous 295 lb.-ft. (400 N.m)
at 1800 rpm. The diesel provided class-leading torque and towing
capability, with fuel economy around 25% better than the V6. It was coupled to a Chrysler 545RFE five-speed automatic. Diesel Liberty review.
The 2.4 and 3.7 liter engines continued, hooked up to a
new NVG 370 six-speed manual transmission (available on RWD models, and 4x4 Sport and Renegade). Due to low customer demand, the 2.4 was dropped after a single year; in 2006 buyers could choose V6 or diesel, in 2007 there was only the V6.
For full coverage of the basic Jeep Liberty, see our 2002-04 Liberty page.
The 2005s had many visible changes, with a new front fascia, grille, fog lamps, fender flares, and body
side moldings. Inside, the company moved the power
window switches, added new instrument panel cluster graphics and trim bezels,
and upgraded the seats.
Also new for 2005 was the Jeep Liberty Renegade model (pictured above), which sported a flatter hood, taller
grille, off-road foglamps, taillamp guards, fender flares,
higher ground clearance, rock rails, skid
plates, and optional P235/70R16 all-terrain tires.
All Jeep Liberty four-wheel-drive models were Trail
Rated, and used a coil spring independent front
suspension and link-coil rear suspension. With four wheel
drive and V6 or diesel engines, Jeep Liberty boasted 5000 pounds of trailer-towing capability.
This was the first year for Trail Rating, and the press release claimed the method was created “by
the Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC) and Jeep Engineering to
objectively measure and consistently predict off-road performance.” They used both field tests and computer
For 2006, the four-cylinder was dropped, making the V6 standard and diesel optional. The stability control system became standard, and the mini overhead console became optional on Sport C (it had been optional on Renegade and Limited). For 2007, the diesel was dropped, Sport and Limited were available in both RWD and 4x4, and a green metallic color was added; Renegade was dropped.
The Dodge Nitro was built starting August 2006; the
redesigned Jeep Liberty, on August 2007. Toledo North, whose first product was the original Liberty, was expected to produce 300,000 vehicles per year (225,250
Libertys were sold in 2006). The diesel option only lasted to the end of 2006. See the Jeep Liberty being built (2011 factory tour)
Diesel issues involving idle quality, glow plug operation, and high idle speeds after a warm restart can be fixed with a software upgrade (models made before May 15, 2005).
An engineer wrote, “The [ball joint] specifications were changed, the durability cycles were changed, as well as the loading factors, all downwards ... to reduce cost of SUV parts, because, SUVs aren't used offroad generally. The joints have a full lifetime as designed and predicted. The issue is not with the parts being poorly made, the issue is the wrong spec was used.”
All dimensions are in inches (millimeters) unless otherwise noted. Allpar does not trust the weight figures since they are exactly the
same as in 2004.
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