TAKE A BIT OF A LIBERTY
A SPACIOUS interior, strong performance, an upgraded interior and subtle styling changes make Subaru's latest Liberty an attractive choice in the medium car sector. And the stability of all-wheel drive adds greatly to its appeal.
On test was the top-of-the-range 3.6R, the sole six-cylinder in the restyled sedan’s range.
The AWD feature has made these cars popular in overseas markets, especially those with wet climates, but in Australia it’s the bonus safety and handling of the system that wins buyers.
Updated technology and revised pricing, thanks to the free trade deal with Japan, don’t hurt either.
But it’s an all-sedan range these days. If you need a station wagon, go for an Outback.
The range starts at $29,990 for the Liberty 2.5i CVT sedan, a cut of $3000. The mid-spec 2.5i Premium CVT is $4000 less, at $35,490, while buyers of the 3.6R will save a whopping $14,000. It now sells from $41,990.
All models get EyeSight technology, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, autonomous emergency braking, seven airbags, reversing camera and all the electronic safety acronyms of the day. The car also scored one of the highest safety ratings on record.
Eyesight warns the driver if the Liberty is getting too close to the car in front, but if the driver fails to respond it will apply the brakes to avoid a collision.
Pretty handy for today's mobile phone idiots who tend to drive with their brains in neutral.
It’s a pretty fast car, so it warns drivers of speed limits and police cameras via a sharp beep.
It has a smooth and eager engine that punches out 191kW and 350Nm and drives through a good CVT to take the car to the ton in about seven seconds. Fuel economy is not fantastic at an average 9.9litres /100km, but it’s pretty decent considering the power and AWD.
Drivers can also select the drive modes they like best.
The car runs beautifully with poise and handling and it has paddle shifts for sportier drivers.
A handsome, dependable mid-sized sedan with top safety, prestige, engineering and build quality – and a big fun factor.
The top-ranking Liberty has a lot going for it.