Goodyear Sizes Up
It's an extreme thing, we're told, and we like it. Making a move into the extreme vehicle niche, which we're assuming refers to vehicles similar to our daily driver project TJ, Goodyear unveiled plans to expand its cool Wrangler MT/R tires into the 37-inch category, offering variations in 15-, 16-, and 17-inch wheel diameters. The larger tire sizes are being manufactured at the company's Topeka, Kansas, facility, which has been producing large earthmover tires, known as OTR tires, since the 1980s. Since many of these OTR tires are 10 to 12 feet high, finding the equipment to build a 15-inch tire, which is small by OTR standards, was Goodyear's biggest obstacle. Topeka plant officials relied upon teamwork within the company to get the new Wrangler MT/R sizes into production. Twenty MT/R sizes are now being offered with the largest being the Wrangler MT/R 37x12.50R17 LT size made for Hummer military and civilian vehicles.
Liberty Gets Renegade Designation
The Renegade name first landed on Jeeps in 1964 on the inside door opening of the Jeep Wagoneer and went on to grace the hoods of scads of CJ-7s, beginning in 1976. Sticking with what fits, Jeep is once again using the Renegade moniker to represent yet another model; this time, the '02 Liberty Renegade.
In order to maintain years of heritage of the Renegade name, the Liberty Renegade has much to live up to. Since it has already been touted as "barely a Jeep" by hard-core Jeep enthusiasts, just being the Liberty alone left it some pretty big shoes to fill, particularly considering that most opponents deem it as the vehicle that killed the popular Cherokee after its 17-year run. And not unlike Jeep, the company has stepped up to the table with a vehicle that not only earns its Jeep name, but that of the Renegade name, too.
The Liberty Renegade starts out on the right foot with a standard equipment 3.7L PowerTech V-6 mated to either a manual or automatic transmission. The engine is said to provide the most power in its class, with 210 hp at 5,200 rpm and 235 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. Available in both two- and four-wheel drive, the Liberty uses a coil spring independent front suspension combined with a link-coil rear. New for the Renegade model are 16-inch six-spoke aluminum wheels shod with all-terrain tires, wider than stock fender flares with machined stainless steel bolt heads holding them in place and removable side steps. One of the most noticeable features of the Renegade is the integrated activity lightbar that houses four halogen lamps providing 150,000 candlepower. Another new aspect of the Renegade is the selection of available factory paint colors, which include Bright Cactus Green, Light Khaki, and Bright Silver. Additionally, the Liberty Renegade features a body color grille and cladding, with a two-tone front fascia. For those of you who just can't accept the new Jeep Liberty for what it is, try and find yourself an international version of the Liberty Renegade. It boasts of all the same features yet is called the Jeep Cherokee Renegade and will be available in countries around the world (outside the U.S.A.) as a 2003 model.