Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Thoughts on the 2008 Jeep Liberty


In addition, the mechanical transfer case worked well but many women did not like it due to the effort required, so they moved to an electronic shift, which is much easier.
Like I said, I had a feeling that the hair-gel crowd was throwing their shoulders out using the testosterone infused manual floor lever of the 02-07 Liberty to switch to the 4wd modes.
[...]in particular, since most Liberty buyers have been women, we wondered if that would be an issue. Ralph responded that historically, women will buy a man's car; what they liked about the Liberty was mainly the manageable size, which made it easy to park, fun to live with, and easy to own. It now looks more capable and rugged, which should appeal more to men, while still keeping the form factor liked by its current buyers.
So, we took a curvy car, bought mostly by women, and made it "tough" by removing the manual transfer case shift and making it push-button electronic, moved the spare tire from the gate to an under-vehicle mount ('cause hey, the driver won't be crawling around on the wet, muddy ground to pull off the spare, that's what some man who comes to help the driver will do) and made the ride less bouncy and bumpy 'cause women don't like being tossed around. But it "looks more rugged" so men will buy it...or something. Add in the longer wheel base and you just reduced your ability to turn the truck around on a motorcycle trail. Another feature women were probably annoyed with: turning around on a mountain trail. Like who needs that?

I think I made my opinion on the curvy shape of cars known some time ago. But since I like to hear myself talk (or type) I'll make it known again. Back in the day, like up through the sixties, men wanted curvy cars, there was an ideal that the car was a beautiful woman, and therefore the man wanted to be seen in something with feminine lines. Kind of like I fancy myself inside something with feminine lines. But that's another story. Over the years-- I'd say starting around the eighties, men no longer wanted to be seen riding a woman, they wanted to be seen riding another man. Somehow, everything got turned on its head: A man riding a woman: Gay. A man riding another man: Straight. Nothing to see here, please move along.

Anyhoo, while my truck was in for its 48k service, I was talking to the dealer the about the '08 and I told him that I was a bit old fashioned because I liked the tire on my 4wd vehicles to be on the vehicle, visible, accessible. Tailgate preferred. The roof can look cool if you have one of those cage-type roofracks. A friend of mine is partial to the hood, which I think was ok back in the sixties when even the offroad tires were fairly skinny, but unfortunately, you put a tire on the hood of a car these days and you're just going to seriously impair your visibility. Cool as it looks, it's a bit like wearing sunglasses at night. When the heavy shit comes down, you're going to regret it.

In general, I've had a chance to look around the '08 and it seems like they luxed it up. It seems more...refined. Like if you have a flat tire, you call AAA and wait by the side of the road in your black pumps, waiting for something with more testosterone to change the tire for you. After all, hell if you're going to be the one lying on your back in your Club Monaco shirt just to get the spare tire off the vehicle, let alone get it changed. I once helped a woman change a tire on her SUV because her own husband refused to do it. Spare tire mounting: under vehicle; Weather: Raining; State of clothes when finished: ruined; Her husband: smarter than I am.

Yes, the 02-07 Liberty is very easy to drive. One of the most forgiving vehicles I've ever had the pleasure of driving. My mom's luxury Cadillac forces me to use driving skills I haven't relied on in years. No wonder old people are always crashing through 15 isles at the Fred Meyer claiming the accelerator was "stuck". Good lord, her turning radius is measured in foot-ball field lengths, her stopping distance is atrocious, she has nearly zero visibility when backing up due to the highly stylish but nearly useless side-view mirrors. There's a mile of "invisible" trunk behind the rear window-- ignore the crunching noises, just parallel parking here! Her wheel base is something near to the U.S.S. Nimitz in length, it has zero clearance- you get more underside scraping noises off a speedbump at the Safeway than I do in 25 miles of ORV-only trails, and it's got more electronics prone to failure than anything the British could possibly dream up after a long gin-soaked night out on the town.

Believe it or not, I like the old Liberty and I feel that the 08 model year is a bit uninspired and, despite it's more "rugged looks" is less rugged and more fit for the latte-sipping hair-gel crowd.

I had something witty to say, but now it escapes me. I'll just end with:

04 Liberty RULEZ! 08 Liberty DR00LZ!

There, that's the smartest thing I've said all week.

**Update: I told you so.


Anonymous said...

For all of it's lack of refinement, I'll still take an XJ (cherokee, wagoneer) over anything newer.

Paul said...

I like the XJ, and I can empathize with fans of the XJ when they discontinued it in favor of the liberty. In my opinion, Chrysler had room for both those platforms, but then again, I'm not an automotive executive earning 9 figures and going over figures with my secretary Gladys at lookout-point.

Who's the richer man, I ask?

Anonymous said...

I am an XJ owner too and miss that platform. Never warmed up to the Liberty and it does not look like that will be changing soon.

Then again, I do like those new 4 door Wranglers for some reason.

BTW, this is Guy Montag from H&R at Reason. Nice site!

Michael Karesh said...

Inspired defense of the KJ, can't remember reading another like it!

Jeep is transitioning from making vehicles that perform like Jeeps to making vehicles that look like they perform like Jeeps...but don't.

I suppose there will always be the Wrangler.

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