Statute of Lib­erty

This all-wheel-drive sedan re­mains a must-try for fam­ily buy­ers

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@cars­guide.com.au

AN­OTHER month, an­other tri­umph for com­pact SUV sales.

If th­ese have be­come syn­ony­mous with fam­ily cars, we urge you to at least con­sider the mid-size car seg­ment, one where ex­cel­lence has long been the de­fault and in which Subaru’s Lib­erty re­mains at the fore­front.

VALUE

The base Lib­erty’s bot­tom line of $32,990 is $2000 down on the out­go­ing model. This was needed to keep Subaru in the hunt. Stan­dard kit in­cludes a con­tin­u­ously vari­able auto trans­mis­sion, re­vers­ing cam­era, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, cruise con­trol, Blue­tooth with au­dio stream­ing and fog­lights. A $3000 op­tions pack adds rear air vents, seven-inch screen, leather trim on an eight-way ad­justable pow­ered driver’s seat and elec­tric lum­bar sup­port.

The Mazda6 starts at $33,460 with a six-speed auto and sat­nav, the Honda Ac­cord Euro Stan­dard is $32,640 with a five-speed auto and the Kia Sportage SUV matches the Lib­erty’s price and all-wheel drive sure­foot­ed­ness.

TECH­NOL­OGY

A new driv­e­train and han­dling are the big items in the Subaru.

Team­ing the up­dated 2.5-litre en­gine with a CVT has low­ered fuel use to 7.9L/100km and the CVT is a bless­edly un­ob­tru­sive sys­tem un­til you are stand­ing on the pedal.

Hard­ware and soft­ware have been up­graded to make the Lib­erty cling to the road even more tightly. The AWD sys­tem is now more pre­cise in front-to-rear torque split, the sta­biliser bar is stiffer and the spring and damper rates have been re­vised.

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