We recently received an email from one of our readers down under regarding the seemingly luke-warm (at best) reception that the Jeep Liberty has received. Here's what our reader had to say:
In Australia, where the KJ has been on the market for six months, it is unusual to see one on the road. In a market where 25% of new vehicles sold now have all-wheel drive capability!
Some dealers claim it is because sufficient stock is not available. Yet, there appears to be ample supply of the better-selling Grand Cherokee.
Despite positive road-test reports in Australian newspapers and auto magazines, the following facts will probably prevent the KJ ever being a hit Down-Under:
- The 'startled-rabbit' front-end styling is considered to be too 'way out'.
- The cargo area is too small for touring trips longer than two days.
- Most buyers consider it to be a 'soft-roader'. The soft-roaders from Japan and Korea are selling extremely well due to the fact that they are thousands of dollars cheaper than the base KJ and 'seem' to offer similar levels of equipment and performance. Even against 'real' 4x4s the little Jeep represents poor value. For the same dollars, or less, the potential customer can choose a Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Nissan Pathfinder or even a V8 Land Rover Discovery. All of which are more capable off-road and better-suited to Australian outback conditions.
- Chrysler has not made a right-drive compatible version. Park the KJ at the curb, between two cars, and then try to unload the cargo area. That big left-hinged tailgate effectively blocks off access to the curb. No other vehicle sold in Australia has this design anomaly.
Keeping in mind that this is just one reader's opinion, we still think some good points are made (especially numbers 3 and 4).
On another note, one of our sources is indicating that the Wrangler Rubicon may be delayed until 2004. We don't have any confirmation of this or any futher details, but we'll keep you posted as we find out more.