As Chrysler clearly hinted with the roll-out of its refreshed Jeep Grand Cherokee last month, the maker’s SUV brand will be a busy place in the coming months.
Not only will we see the updated flagship model but replacements for the small Compass and Patriot models. But wait, there’s more, as those commercials on late-night TV like to say. There’s an even smaller model to be built in Italy and rumor of a reborn Grand Wagoneer.
But one of this year’s most significant introductions – at least now that Grand Cherokee is out of the way – will be the rebirth of the Jeep Liberty.
As these spy shots illustrate, there are a number of major changes slated within a year for the mid-size Jeep line, which will turn into a sort of junior Grand Cherokee.
The extensive use of camouflage over the body means a completely new body shape is planned. The new Liberty will, like the Grand Cherokee, move to smoother lines, with fewer sharp angles in its sheet metal.
One thing that won’t change – much, anyway – is the use of the classic Jeep seven-slot grille up front, though the slots may be arrayed in angles instead of upright.
An update many have hoped for will be the shift to rear independent suspension, using what looks like high price cast aluminum arms.
Wheels, at least as shown on this prototype, will offer an upscale black chrome finish.
Dual exhausts indicate that the new midsize Jeep will perform well with the power of a mid-heavy duty trailer tower.
Short front and rear overhangs are in keeping with Jeep’s reputation for off-road capabilities. Though we anticipate the next Jeep Liberty to deliver a much more smooth and comfortable ride on-road – along with better mileage – this won’t be a soft-roader. You’ll still be able to get a trail-rated package, sources tell us.
Wheels offer a new spoke arrangement, while running lights in front are LED type.
Liberty will make its showroom appearance as a 2014 model late this year. Note that Liberty has no 2013 model. Its Toledo assembly plant shut down for changeover in mid-2012, but is scheduled for operations this summer.
We’re not going to hold our breath but we’d not be surprised to see the new Jeep make an appropriate appearance in the shadow of Lady Liberty at the upcoming NY Auto Show.
Credit: Jim Dunne CAR SPY
Tags: 2014 jeep liberty, Jeep Grand Cherokee, auto news, auto spy shots, car news, jeep liberty, jeep liberty spy shots, jeep news, jim dunne, paul a. eisenstein, paul eisenstein, spy photos, spy pics, thedetroitbureau