The Rollover Risk of the 2012 Jeep Liberty Compared to Other SUVs

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The Liberty, throughout its 11-year run, never was the most beloved of all Jeep products. Perhaps it was the fact that it was the most car-like of all Jeeps until the car-based Compass showed up in 2007 to take the flak from purists; but more likely, it was just because it had the gall to try to "replace" the legendary XJ Cherokee. But, whatever its contemporary reception might have been, it remains a popular alternative to more bourgeois people carriers.

Rollover Resistance Test

  • The NHTSA tests new vehicles for rollover resistance using what's called the fish-hook test. During this test, the vehicle is accelerate to 35 to 50 mph on smooth pavement, turned almost 90 degrees to the left, and then hard right to see how often it rolls over. The NHTSA then assigns a "rollover resistance" rating using either the "five star" system, or a percentage based on how many times out of 100 it's likely to roll over during this test. Lower numbers are better. For these purposes, we'll compare all 2012 models with base two-wheel drive, where available.

Ratings

  • The Ford Explorer rated an almost car-like 16.9 percent, meaning that you've got about a one in six chance of rolling it under these kinds of testing conditions. Honda's CR-V rated a slightly worse but still respectable 17.4 percent, and the Chevrolet Equinox weighed in at 19.1 percent. The Chevy Suburban 1500 registered 23.7 percent, which is quite decent for a full-sized, 5,800-pound SUV. Ford's Escape rated exactly the same, which is somewhat less impressive, considering it had 2,300 pounds less mass to contend with. The tall, tippy and relatively heavy Toyota 4Runner hit 24.6 percent. But the Jeep Liberty is the loser of this competition. At 25.6 percent, it's the only one to exceed a one-in-four chance of rolling over and winding up on its roof -- which gives you some idea as to why Jeep included stability control as standard equipment. On a positive note, this isn't a bad rating by traditional Jeep standards, and the sides and roof of the Liberty are so flat that people might not even notice it's the wrong way up.

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