2011 LA Preview: 2012 Jeep Wrangler Arctic and Liberty Arctic models

Riding on success of other special edition Jeeps, Chrysler announced Arctic versions of the 2012 Wrangler and the Liberty; those expecting a balls-to-the-walls Top Gear Arctic Hilux beater will be disappointed.

Now I don’t have anything against the scatter cushion-brandishing interior designers of the world, but when America’s off road specialists dish out aesthetic upgrades in the name of winter performance, I do wonder about where the company is going. These extra cost upgrades include some new paint options: Winter Chill, Bright Silver, Bright White and Mineral Gray (available only on the Liberty).

Essentially, Chrysler is now charging extra for different shades of white and gray, black wheels, some decals and different, but not groundbreaking tires. Gaudy Arctic Edition badges festoon the seats, fenders and instrument binnacles of both cars.

“There are few environments more grueling and demanding than the arctic, which is just the type of terrain legendary Jeep vehicles are engineered to conquer,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO — Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Not only will the Jeep Wrangler Arctic and Jeep Liberty Arctic appeal to our loyal enthusiasts, but their unique content will attract new customers to the Jeep brand.”

It’s not all bad though, the Wrangler retains it’s 285 bhp 3.6 liter ‘six, which is good for 21 mpg on the highway, not bad for a car shod with 32-inch tires. A five speed auto ‘box or a six speed manual can be had as well. The Liberty manages with a slightly less beefy 217 bhp and identical fuel mileage, but it does come with GoreTex seats. Both cars come with an automated low range gearbox though the Liberty offers a part-time four wheel drive system as an option.

– By: Sawyer Sutton