Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Review: 2006 Jeep Liberty Diesel

The week before Christmas our 2003 Subaru Legacy bit the dust. It had yet another head gasket go and the water pump needed replacing. I was sick of the (expensive) problems that it was giving me and didn't want to sink another $2500 into a car that was only worth probably $5000 (it had high KMs)

After a very quick search (I wanted a vehicle to drive before xmas) I settled on a 2006 Jeep Liberty Diesel at Summit Dodge in Fredericton.

I had a few basic criteria in mind when I started shopping. I needed something that was relatively rugged because we do occasionally venture into off-road situations. I also needed something that would pull my utility trailer. ("The gypsy wagon" as I call it) Other than that I didn't really have much preference.

I didn't expect to land on a Jeep. I have always had a soft spot for the Jeep Wrangler's but I knew that they weren't going to be practical for our family at this point. Out of curiosity I pulled into the dealer's lot with the expectation of looking at a few Wrangler's. So, what pulled me to this Liberty? Diesel.  (and the price was good)

There are very few Diesel Jeep Liberty out there. This might not sound like a selling point but the ones that do exist get very good reviews. They were only manufactured in North America for a few years and only a limited number were made. They just didn't catch on with the public. I've heard great things about the reliability of diesels and the better fuel mileage they get. So, I test drove this one, fell in love with the tractor-like diesel sound and signed the papers.

I have only had the Jeep for a month so far but I still really like it. I've had it off road a couple of times in some minor dirt and it handled really well. It is also very good in the snow. I've had my fully loaded utility trailer behind it and it was wonderful. With my Subaru, it handled the trailer but you could definitely feel it. With the Jeep, you can't tell the trailer is behind.

I did have a couple of hiccups in the first week. I had a BAS/ESP censor light come on after a couple of days and my CD player was acting up. I took it to the dealer, they reset two sensors, and I haven't had a problem since.

The only other (expected) downfall I've noticed is the fuel mileage. The Jeep definitely doesn't get great mileage. I haven't gotten a good working average from it yet but I will post that.

My intention is to update this blog post regularly, as required, with updates on the reliability and driveability of the vehicle. If you have any questions or comments about the vehicle please post below and I'll do my best to respond. I'm not a mechanic or professional test driver but I'll definitely give you an answer from a layman's perspective.

Here is a table that I'll use to track average mileages. I'll track and update this periodically as I remember to...

TypeMPGL/100km Trips Sampled
Highway19.711.9 3
City16.414.6 3
Average18.113.3 6
Advertised: Highway27mpgCity 22mpg


  1. Thank you Andrew. I just got a 2007 liberty diesel and found 70 liters can only driver about 480km in city, which is exactly 14.6 L/100km.

    Could you please let me know how to calculate the MPG?


    1. That's 20MPG which is AWESOME for any SUV! I'd be thrilled with that fuel economy!

    2. BTW there are 4.56 litres in a Canadian gallon and 62.5 miles per 100kms. So....14.6 L/100km. translates to almost 20mpg!

  2. Still a good mileage for the model. Mine hovers between 18-21 mpg.

    1. I've heard from a few owners that get similar. I've also compared it to the gas version which is slightly worse. I guess we don't buy Jeeps for the mileage anyways, right?

      I have noticed a big difference in my winter diesel consumption since I started religiously plugging it in when the temperature falls below freezing.

    2. I think it should be noted that unless you've owned/driven numerous SUV's like we have(including a notoriously unreliable Ford Flex!)20MPG around the city is exceptional. My wife and I have owned several SUV's because we have 3 kids and I've never gotten 20MPG with any of them. I would probably agree with you that most Jeeps are not fuel "sippers" but the diesel is definitely the exception by the sounds of things. I've never owned one but i was a bit surprised to see these posts.

    3. Thanks for your comment. This is my first SUV and I think I may have put too much trust in the advertised fuel ratings. I've had a fair number of people tell me now that it's not bad compared to similar vehicles. Diesel prices here are crazy high (even compared to crazy high gas prices) so that isn't helping ease the pain of an SUV fill-up either.

  3. I bought some fuel additive from bigmotorgarage.com my liberty went fro highway 19 to 23 average. My city 15 to approx 17-18 not bad. im just worried on getting parts for these vehicles in the future, since very few are made.


I appreciate your feedback, comments and other helpful input.