Jeep Liberty

I’ve been looking at Liberties and wondered if there are any canoers out there that have one, if so how is it for hauling your boat. I have a 15 foot mad river explorer. Thanks for any info.

My wife HAD one, It would haul our 16’ foot yacks with no problem with the proper rack set up, so it shouldn’t have any problems with a canoe. BTW we sold it as the gas mileage sucks!! don’t believe the sticker!! The thing was getting 18 highway on a GOOD day. My 4x4 suburban was and is getting better gas mileage!! I now notice they are coming out with a Diesel liberty that’s supposed to get like 27MPG that’s pretty good if its true. Also the steering on the Liberty is really sensitive, you sneeze and find your self off the road!! Also it’s a bit small for 4 folks and gear. However for Two folks its pretty nice and as far as off road ability well it’s a JEEP and beats all the other Little SUV’s and SUV wanabees hands down!! Off road the sensitive steering is actually nice as it turns really tight. One thing that’s a PITA in the Jeep is that the rear seats DO NOT fold all the way flat, so they are pretty useless in that mode, unlike my old Blazer where the did fold flat!!

I have had no problem hauling any of our canoes on my wifes liberty including our longest boat, a 16’ mad river explorer. I have also used it to carry two small solo canoes. I haul the boats on thule bars attached to the factory rack and I do tie a bow and stern line on the boats due to the short spacing between the belly bands.

Like swedge, I prefer my suburban for most paddling related activities but old faithful is getting tired. We now take the jeep on the longer road trips.


for about the same money
you can get a Honda Element EX 4x4… We love ours…you can add a Yakima attachment to the Honda rack and increase the load to 150lbs or just go sans rack and add a full Yakima or Thule.

Elements are still a bit small for 4 people and gear, 3 and gear seems fine. all 4 seats fold totally flat, the rear seats also fold up to the sides or come out for cargo… we get 24 to 26 mpg.

I owned a Jeep Wrangler before, liked it but was even smaller, less dependable, and like the man said, terrible gas mileage.

Standard or automatic
Swedge, which tranny do you have?

ask yourself if you need an SUV, if looking for awd there are many choices that are lower and easier to hoist a canoe on, more roadworthy, and more efficient.

Having said that, I’d like to suggest a look at the new ford escape hybrid.

It was the Auto, as i wanted it for towing a small trailer as well.

Forrester or RAV4
Look at a Subaru Forrester or Toyota RAV4. Both will likely last far longer with fewer repairs, while getting much better fuel economy. Best of all, they handle like cars, which underneath they are, yet have enough ground clearance, along with full-time AWD, to make muddy launch sites and snowy roads worry-free. Safety ratings are better too. Jeeps drive like the trucks that they are, and should be left to those who need a true off-road vehicle.

With a quality pair of roof racks from Yakima, Thule, or the like, mounted on factory roof rails, any car can safely transport any canoe, assuming the user ties it on intelligently.

Heavy load in the trailer?
If not, a manual transmission works just fine for towing. Both my tow vehicles are stick shifts and have no trouble pulling the snowmobile trailer with kayaks on it, or with building materials on it. I live in a mountainous area and the manual tranny provides far better control (both up and down the grades) than an automatic, with or without trailer. Gas mileage remains about the same either way. Neither vehicle has a huge engine: 3.0L V6 and a 4.0L I6. The former gets 25 mpg highway (2WD truck) and the latter gets 19 highway (Wrangler).

I wonder why the standard advice is to use an automatic for towing or heavy hauling. A friend of ours carries heavy loads with his full-sized pickup truck and manual transmission.

Lexus SUV
Saw a Lexas yesterday that looked like a grown up Liberty. Dependability would be there for sure, along with a big price tag, but it was pretty alright.


Do you really need an SUV?
I agree with questioning the need for an SUV. I have an ‘04 Honda CRV and love it, but getting my 13-1/2’ kayak on J racks on the roof is at times a struggle after a long paddle just because of the height. I’m 5’7" and female and need to haul a 2 step stool to be able to slide it up the back. Something lower would be easier to load/unload. I get 22-24 mpg consistently with the CRV and quality is good - the CRV is bigger than either the RAV 4 or the Suburu.

the Jeep would be Towing the Lexus!! Actually Off road is what the Jeep does best. If you dont go off road you might as well get a MINI-VAN!!! which is basically what those FO FO suv’s are!!

Yakima BoatLoader
I drive a Subaru OB, not very tall vehicle, and use Malone cradles. I have found a Yakima BoatLoader rack extension to be the berries for solo loading. Thule also makes a similar product.