People often ask me about fuel efficient SUVs. “Doug,” people will say, “What about fuel efficient SUVs?” These people aren’t very specific.
The truth is there aren’t that many fuel efficient SUVs, and I’m not entirely sure why. Yes, there are a few hybrids – but with the Escape Hybrid long gone, the cheapest one, Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid, starts above $40,000. That’s about where diesel SUVs start, too.
But that wasn’t always the case.
Behold, the diesel-powered Jeep Liberty, known as the Jeep Liberty CRD. It was sold in the United States from 2005 to 2006, which means at any given time there are only a few dozen on AutoTrader. But they’re out there, somewhere, with a 2.8-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder that made 160 horsepower and a muscular 295 pound-feet of torque.
If that sounds pretty cool, it is – especially when you consider the average asking price on AutoTrader is hovering around $10,000. Think about it: a compact SUV with tons of towing power and a fuel-efficient diesel engine! It’s the greatest car in the world!
Sadly, however, there’s one problem: it’s NOT the greatest car in the world. Part of the issue is that it’s still a Jeep Liberty, which means you have to deal with the, shall we say, inexpensive interior components clearly sourced from the same people who make airline headphones.
The other problem? Fuel economy, believe it or not. Despite its diesel powertrain, the Liberty CRD returned just 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway – far below most gas-powered compact SUVs today.
But it still exists. And it’s still pretty cool.