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How Well Does A Jeep Liberty Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

Anyone who has driven in snow would undoubtedly understand what I mean. Driving in snow is both difficult and dangerous. Having a vehicle that goes well in these conditions certainly helps. This article will review some of Jeep Liberty’s features and see if it handles well in snow.

The Liberty 4WD performs well in winter with snow tires. The RWD version, on the other hand, lacks the snow handling capability. Traction features like EBD, ABS, ESC, TC, and EBA help in snow maneuverability. Especially when these features are combined with 4WD does the Liberty become a proper vehicle for snowy conditions.   

So, how well does a Jeep Liberty drive in snow? We will try to answer this question by first looking at what the owners of Jeep Liberty have to say about it. We will then analyze the car’s key specs, such as weight and distribution, wheelbase, and ground clearance. We will also be looking at safety features, such as anti-lock braking, traction control.

Finally, we would conclude by suggesting optional traction devices for further improving Liberty’s snow handling.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Jeep Liberty Takes (All Generations)

Experience Of Jeep Liberty Owners

Going through the forums and opinion articles on Jeep Liberty leaves no doubt that the 4WD version performs admirably when fitted with appropriate snow gear and passes with flying colors when driving through snow. The same cannot be said of the 2WD or RWD version, with owners even questioning why even have a 2WD Jeep Liberty in the first place.

Although there is no second opinion regarding 4WD Liberty’s snow handling yet, it is not possible without a good set of snow tires. With so many satisfied 4WD Liberty owners, it is a shame that Jeep had to discontinue its production in 2012 because it could not meet stricter emission standards set in 2007 for diesel engines. So let see what the owners have to say.

Many people often ask me – are Jeep Liberty good in snow. The simple answer is Yes. These Jeeps are well suited to drive in snow-clad pathways and other harsh conditions with aggressive tires, four-wheel drive, straps, and other essential equipment on board.

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I live on rural gravel roads in Iowa. We get some pretty decent-sized drifts in the winter. I lifted my Liberty with the Frankenlift II, got the skid plates, and AT tires. We have rammed thru some pretty good-sized drifts that were at least bumper high (unless they are long drifts, then we only attempt smaller ones). Nary a problem.

Snow will get packed in the front suspension sometimes, so you will have to keep an eye on that unless you have a heated garage to park in and let it melt out. The wife is not a born country girl and a novice to doing many 4 wheelings, but she is confident that she will be able to get out and make a run to town if need be.

I have rounded up livestock with the Liberty out in the fields during the winter and never have gotten in a situation that I needed to go get the tractor and pull me out. The Liberty is a pretty capable vehicle for snow, but I would recommend lifting it a little before attempting to do too much. And, if you are going to do anything serious, good AT tires are a must.

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I have to say I was wrong big time about my doubts! This vehicle handled the road conditions with absolute ease. Cars & 4×4 trucks were sliding all over the road and not able to climb the hill into my neighborhood.

The X passed by other drivers as they looked on in disbelief of my vehicle’s unprecedented ability to crest the hill with little effort!

The SH-AWD delivers!!! Halfway up, my hubris got the best of me, and I floored the throttle with my Liberty wanting more! The traction and power were superb, and I don’t recall, at any point, feeling out of control.

Feeling like a total asshole, I turned around and navigated back down the hill to offer my neighbors at the very least a lift to their house. I pulled the hill two more times that night, and I do believe I just sold more Libertys’ for the local Jeep dealer!

For those of you that may be questioning the YouTube videos of the Libertys’ performance in snow and ice; and wondering just how accurate they are, well they are spot on. I’m loving my X right about now…

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Helpful Functions Of The Liberty

According to research, 90% of drivers fail to apply the necessary brake force during an emergency. Mercedes Benz introduced the Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) feature due to this study.

EBA continuously measures and monitors the normal braking behavior of a driver. When the braking speed and force deviate from this pattern, the system concludes an emergency braking scenario. And if the brake pedal is not fully pushed, the system takes over and applies full brakes until the anti-lock braking system (ABS) stops the wheels from locking up.

Weight and Distribution

The curb weight is essential from a performance and safety perspective of the vehicle.

Lighter cars give better mileage, are more responsive to acceleration, and generally perform better. Heavier cars have better safety ratings and have better road traction.

The curb weight of Jeep Liberty range from 4076 lbs (RWD) to 4300 lbs (4WD), which is reasonably good curb weight, neither too light nor too heavy.

A more critical spec of a vehicle is the weight distribution on its front and rear wheels. From the table below, it is clear that the rear of RWD Liberty is very light compared to its front, and no wonder it performs poorly in the snow.

On the other hand, the Liberty 4WD version’s weight distribution is much better, and the 44/56 distribution shifts closer to 50/50 on braking. This provides equal traction to all tires allowing the car to brake evenly, which is essential when slippery road conditions.

2012 Trims & VariationsWeight Distribution F/R
Arctic RWD53/47
Sport 4WD44/56
Sport RWD53/47
Sport Latitude 4WD44/56
Sport Latitude RWD53/47
Limited Jet 4WD44/56
Limited Jet RWD53/47
Limited 4WD44/56
Limited RWD53/47

Ground Clearance

High ground clearance becomes important on uneven terrains such as snow. It is the distance between the chassis and the ground, and car manufacturers quote the unladen value. The Jeep Liberty’s ground clearance is 7.8 inches which is relatively good, especially when snow piles up on the roads.

Wheelbase

Measured from the centers of the front and the rear tires, the wheelbase impacts the weight distribution and thus affecting the balance and steering of the vehicle. Longer wheelbases provide more stability at higher speeds, while shorter wheelbases help corner faster.

The wheelbase of Liberty is about 106.1 inches, which is neither too long nor too short. This means that it would be relatively stable at higher speeds as well as perform decently while cornering. To find out more about the Jeep Liberty, take a look at its owner manual.

What Traction Device You Can Use On The Jeep Liberty?

In this article, we have touched upon the various safety features available in Liberty that help the driver navigate through snow. However, it is evident that those alone are not sufficient, and Liberty owners recommend using snow tires for better handling.

Traction devices are necessary to get the vehicle moving in snow or ice. The built-in safety features only work while the car is moving, so using snow tires or snow chains makes sense when driving in snow.

We have already discussed snow tires in detail. These are expensive and require professionals to install and uninstall, which is an additional cost. Snow chains are cheaper and easy to put on and take off but damage dry pavements and the car itself. SnowplowsSnow plows are generally used to remove snow but can damage the transmission of the vehicle. Click here to read more about what kinds of transmissions a Liberty uses.

If you are looking to buy snow chains, please check them out here, and If you are looking for snowplows, these can be found here. To ensure that you have the proper snow chain for your wheel size, you can find that out here on the peerless chain. Most of the chains are available for you to buy here on Amazon.

Happy driving.