|Check out the latest Liberty variant|
The Jeep's 2.8-liter, four-cylinder, DOHC, sixteen-valve, direct-injection, common-rail turbo-diesel clatters at idle and lacks some refinement, but it provides mighty torque to make up for its modest power output. The Liberty makes 148 horsepower in Europe, an alarmingly small number for such a comely vehicle, but it also has 266 pound-feet of torque on hand, which turns the vehicle into a really good hauler. We know, as we used it to tow an old racing car at unseemly speeds. The engine's characteristics are as well matched to the five-speed automatic transmission as Michael Moore is to hip shots. U.S. diesels are rated at 160 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque and have a tow rating of 5000 pounds.
Just before we drove the Liberty, we were testing a Kia Sorento, which proved that the U.S. industry needs to pay attention to the Koreans-and also that the Koreans will never really conquer world markets unless they wake up to what consumers demand. The Liberty scores over the Kia dynamically, because it has pretty nice steering allied to a firm, well-controlled ride, although it can get choppy on the poorest country lanes. It is actually wieldy and can be entertaining on the twisties.
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