Why fix something that isn’t broken? Such is the way of the car biz, and needed or not Jeep’s popular Liberty will get

mid-cycle upgrades in order to put a fresh face forward in its heavily contested compact sport utility market segment

The new 2005 model came barreling around, up and over a makeshift dirt trail within a temporary tent the brand set up just outside of Manhattan’s Jacob Javits conference center, the home of the New York International Auto Show, to demonstrate its various models’ legendary Trail Rated off-road capability.

One look at the changes will tell you nothing drastic was needed, with the most obvious modifications being minor adjustments to the Liberty’s front fascia,

grille surround, front fender treatment, and body side-moldings. The grille surround is flatter, taller and wider, more akin to classic Willys Jeeps than anything seen since. It now integrates the fog lamps next to its traditional seven slats, while the fenders incorporate wrap-around turn signals at front and much beefier flares all round.

I like the new design, especially in top-line Renegade form. It’s even tougher looking than the standard Liberty, with a distinctive “diamond plate-inspired” seat fabric, larger externally mounted fog lamps, a new flatter hood that adds to its WWII Willys styling cues, plus utilitarian looking taillamp guards, functional skidplates, rock rails, and rugged P235/70R16 all-terrain tires with a more aggressive tread pattern. Its roof rack mounted light bar is especially rugged in appearance, with only GM’s Hummer division offering an off-the-rack off-road lighting solution as bold and daring. While most people will never use this feature for its true purpose, it sure looks cool.