With each passing month, the camouflage on the successor to the dated Jeep Liberty gets thinner and thinner. What started as an awkwardly-cobbled mule loosely based on an Alfa Romeo Giulietta has now morphed into what's looking more and more like a production-ready vehicle.
The 2014 model-year replacement for the Liberty will be the most radical departure for the line yet. It will migrate to a car-based crossover platform with a transverse engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission, more than twice the ratios that were in the Liberty's four-speed transmission.
The new Jeep will likely also be the debut of the new, smaller 3.2-liter Pentastar V-6, the first displacement variation of the engine family since the debut of the engine in 2011, when it was offered solely as a 3.6-liter unit in both front and rear-drive applications. Official output figures are not known, but horsepower in the range of 250 and torque output of between 220-240 lb-ft are likely.
The interior shots also show a contemporary design with Chrysler's now-characteristic 8.4-inch touchscreen interface. Unlike the new Ram 1500 equipped with the eight-speed transmission, the Liberty successor appears to have a conventional console-mounted shifter.
After getting some criticism for some past Jeep models not carrying the "Trail Rated" badge, the new model is expected to have solid, if not Rubicon-conquering off-road capability. We get a clue to the new model's tractive options with the console-mounted control knob. We can't completely make out all the markings, but we do see "4WD", "Snow", "Sport", and what appears to be some variation of 4WD. A true low-range, perhaps? Let's hope our eyes aren't deceiving us.