Somewhat out of place in a rockcrawling mecca, the Compass Rallye package garnered more attention than we thought it might. Primarily an exterior appearance package, it adds deeper front and rear fascias, rear spoiler, sill panels, foglights in the bumper and driving lights on top of it, chrome exhaust tip, and five choices of monochrome paint. Black painted 18x7.0-inch wheels with polished rims and chrome center caps shod with 215/55R18 Firehawks should help handling as much as the look. There are no changes to the interior or running gear, and the package runs about $1800.
Two hours after they did it New York and the wind almost did it for them in Moab, Jeep pulled the wrapper off the 2008 Liberty. Resembling the result of a head-on collision between a Commander and the old Liberty, the new visuals include a seven-slot grille, squared lamp housings, front fenders, more upright, less roly-poly bodywork, and an available SkyRoof that opens most of the roof and slides both rearward and back to front.
The Liberty is two inches longer overall than its stablemate Dodge Nitro, and its wheelbase is shorter by almost three inches. However, the Jeep isn't appreciably smaller than the Nitro inside, and it's much more comfortable than the old Liberty, especially in the rear seat. It has the Nitro's reversible load floor system and optional MyGig as well.
The Liberty shares the Nitro's mechanicals with a few obvious changes. Only the 3.7-liter V-6 will be offered, with a six-speed manual or four-speed auto; no 4.0-liter/five-speed automatic and the diesel is now export only. Four-wheel-drive models get a proper low range with either a part- or full-time system, and the Liberty's wheel/tire packages are more suited to general and trail use--18s will be the biggest offered.