For the Liberty fraternity
Here’s the first look at next year’s new Sooby sedan
YOU are looking at more than just the new Subaru Liberty.
The car being unveiled in Chicago this morning, Australian time, is also a turning point for the company.
It’s either turning all the way to America, where Subaru’s new generation of SUVs has done nothing for design but everything for sales numbers and profits, or it is being pointed back down the Euro-Jap path it helped pioneer alongside the original Honda Accord Euro.
The signs are promising for a Euro revival with the return of the class and quality that once marked a Subaru as something special, before the grey days of the global financial crisis and dumbed-down engineering and stripped-out cabins. But (and it’s a big but) Subaru has not given us much in recent times. And that’s a worry.
The latest Impreza is worthy but dull, the WRX looks like underdelivering on over-hyped promises, and we’re not sure whether even the coming STI will have the impact that gave those three letters such a cult following.
“The Liberty is a car that’s synonymous with the success of Subaru. I think this is a very worthy next-generation Liberty,” Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior tells Carsguide.
“It’s a very important car. The first Liberty was in 1989, so it’s been 25 years.”
The new Liberty, or Legacy as it’s called everywhere but Australia, was previewed as a concept at the Los Angeles motor show in December and the formal presentation in Chicago reflects the importance of US buyers. The final production car looks almost identical to the concept — unlike the WRX, which lost the gee-whiz factor from its concept tease — with a bold body that also has some elegance and front-end impact.
It will not arrive in Australia for nearly a year, a delay that’s partly down to the decision by Fuji Heavy Industries to focus on production at Lafayatte in Indiana for left‒hand drive cars and the push for ever‒increasing US sales.
The 2015 Liberty package is built from a four-door sedan body with similar dimensions to the existing car. Subaru says there is more shoulder, elbow, waist and rear legroom, the front seats are mounted higher for better access, and vision is improved with windscreen pillars pushed forward, frontquarter windows and mirrors mounted on the doors.
Subaru promises more quality and comfort in a package developed under the theme “The fusion of design and engineering at a high level”.
There is no technical detail yet from Chicago but the car will be available with 2.5‒litre four and 3.6‒litre six‒cylinder petrol engines, at least in the US, with manual and CVT gearboxes linked to the brand’s signature all‒wheel‒drive.
There is active torque vectoring for improved cornering performance. The chassis has been completely revamped with more body rigidity for better ride control and reduced noise.
Subaru is making big claims on the safety front, from double‒chamber airbags for improved occupant protection through to improved Eyesight tech with rear cross‒traffic alert.