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Old 09-09-2009, 02:16 PM
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Default ADM MY10 Liberty Reviewed

http://www.smh.com.au/drive/subarus-...0909-fgv0.html

Subaru's bigger, more frugal Liberty
JEZ SPINKS
September 9, 2009 - 12:49PM
MY10 Liberty 2.5i Sport sedan

MY10 Liberty 2.5i Sport sedan front studio. Photo: Newsdesk Media

Subaru's new Liberty range is roomier and uses less fuel, despite sticking with all-wheel-drive underpinnings.

Subaru says its new Liberty and Outback models prove the company doesn’t need to move away from all-wheel-drive cars to be competitive in fuel economy.

The new-generation mid-size twins have arrived in Australia to extend Subaru’s local policy of all-wheel-drive-only vehicles into its 11th year, and both vehicles improve fuel efficiency despite being bigger and heavier.

The extra weight of all-wheel-drive hardware compared with a front-wheel-drive layout typically penalises fuel efficiency, though Subaru Australia boss Nick Senior says it’s not the case with its new medium car that starts from $33,990.

“The new Liberty helps to debunk the myth that all-wheel drive is less economical than front-wheel-drive,” says Senior. “It demonstrates that all-wheel drive and good fuel economy are not mutually exclusive.

“The Liberty’s fuel economy improvement is a great story; it’s gone from near the back of the pack to class-leading.”

A new CVT auto replaces the old four-speed auto to help improve efficiency, and teamed with the revised 2.5-litre four-cylinder horizontally opposed ‘boxer’ engine makes the Liberty’s 8.4 litres per 100km economy superior to key rivals such as the Toyota Camry, Mazda6 and Honda Accord Euro.

The naturally aspirated 2.5-litre now has a fraction less power (123kW v 127kW) but maximum torque increases slightly to 229Nm and is delivered lower in the rev range (4000 v 4400rpm).

There are also efficiency gains for the modified turbocharged version of the 2.5-litre as well as the 3.6-litre six-cylinder borrowed from the Tribeca soft-roader to replace the former 3.0-litre six. Both are mated to either a new six-speed manual or a carry-over five-speed auto.

The 2.5-litre turbo is exclusive to the sporty Liberty GT Premium model. It boasts 195kW of power, but more tantalising on paper is peak torque of 350Nm delivered from 2400 to 5200rpm. Subaru will play another fuel efficiency car in November when the company’s new 2.0-litre turbo diesel ‘boxer’ engine debuts in the Outback in November.

It will make its way into Forester next year before being considered for its non-SUV models such as Impreza and Liberty. Subaru Australia believes the Liberty’s improved fuel economy and bigger size will make the mid-sizer more appealing “The Liberty is more attractive now to fleets and governments,” says Senior, “who are becoming more aware of fuel economy and emissions and factoring them into their decision process.

“We think there is also potential for [Liberty] with large car buyers. With its extra room and range of engines, we think we can appeal to the traditional Aussie large car buyer.”

The Liberty’s enlarged back seat accommodation is achieved through a new platform that includes an 80mm-longer (2750) wheelbase. The sedan’s length and height increases by the same margin; width expands by 50mm.

Dramatically wider rear doors – up by 405mm – are designed to improve entry/egress. As with the latest Impreza, the Liberty moves away from trademark frameless doors in Subaru’s quest for improved noise refinement. Boot space also benefits from the larger dimensions.

The sedan’s luggage capacity increases by 47 litres to 476L; the wagon’s by 31 to 490L – expandable to 1690L (up 64 litres) with split-fold rear seats not found in sedan.

The new Liberty joins its fellow Subarus in attaining a maximum, five-star independent crash rating. Standard safety equipment for all models includes stability control and seven airbags (including driver’s knee airbag). Subaru says a new ‘engine cradle’ – which mounts the engines to the Liberty’s body – improves crash energy absorption, as well as benefiting ride comfort and road-holding.

Most Liberty models are either unchanged or slightly cheaper compared with their respective predecessors, though Subaru has increased the medium car’s equipment lists. All Libertys feature (switchable) hill-hold assist, electronic parking brake, cruise control, foglights, DataDot security and, of course, the all-wheel drive system that will continue to be one of Subaru’s distinctions for some years yet.

“[The all-wheel-drive-only policy] has been a winning formula for us,” says Subaru’s Senior. “It would take exceptional circumstances to change that.”

Quick Guide: 2009 Subaru Liberty Range

2.5i

$33,990 is the minimum starting point for Liberty, for a 123kW 2.5-litre engine with six-speed manual. CVT auto (with paddleshifts) adds $2500 to the price; wagon costs $2000 extra.

Standard features include seven airbags, stability control, hill-hold assist, electronic parking brake, foglights, dual-zone climate control, trip computer, leather steering wheel, and 6-CD Kenwood audio.

2.5i Premium

Higher-spec version of 2.5i is CVT only and starts at $39,990 for sedan, $41,990 for wagon. Additional features for extra $3500 over base 2.5i: electric sunroof, leather upholstery, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, and rear air vents. For an additional $2500 premium, a Premium Sat-Nav trim level brings (obviously) satellite navigation, Bluetooth, single disc DVD/CD player, and reverse-parking camera.

2.5i Sports

Effectively a GT without the turbocharged engine. Same 123kW 2.5-litre as entry-level Liberty, but for higher starting price of $39,490 comes standard with alloy pedals, firmer (Bilstein) dampers, carbon-fibre-effect trim, a dash of leather for doors, 18-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, and sportier-looking bumper and grille. Premium and Premium Sat-Nav trim levels introduce similar additions to Premium version, with some minor variations. Sports also available as wagon variant.

GT Premium

Range-topping Liberty kicks off at $52,990 for six-speed manual sedan. There’s a $2000 premium for both a five-speed auto and wagon body style. Power comes from a turbocharged version of the 2.5-litre four-cylinder, lifting outputs to 195kW and 350Nm. Satellite navigation is standard on all GTs, as are Bluetooth, McIntosh audio, rain-sensing wipers, electric sunroof, leather seats, reverse-parking camera, xenon headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, Bilstein suspension, electrically adjustable front seats, and adaptive throttle sensitivity.

3.6R Premium

Sedan-only 3.6R exchanges old 3.0-litre six-cylinder for a 3.6-litre six from the Tribeca soft-roader. Power rises 11kW to 191kW, torque increases by 53Nm to 350Nm. Five-speed auto only. Standard equipment virtually identical to GT’s sans sporty suspension and body kit.

Outback

The ‘Liberty’ for buyers planning – or feigning – to venture frequently off road. Outback is mechanically identical to Liberty, but is wagon only and features tougher-looking body work and a higher ride height. Pricing starts at $37,990 for a model powered by the 123kW 2.5-litre four-cylinder, or from $48,490 for the 3.6-litre six-cylinder.
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Last edited by American Dave; 09-09-2009 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 09-09-2009, 02:24 PM
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http://www.smh.com.au/drive/motor-ne...0909-fgsy.html

Think of the 2.5i Sports as a GT Lite.

It’s for buyers looking for a sporty Liberty but can’t stretch to the GT Premium’s $52,990 starting price.

You don’t get the 195kW turbocharged version of Subaru’s 2.5-litre four-cylinder, though from $39,490 the Sports offers other key GT performance elements such as Bilstein suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Sports also gains sports bumper and grille, alloy pedals and xenon headlights. Unlike the GT, the Sports isn’t available with a six-speed manual – and it gets a continuously variable transmission (CVT) auto instead of the carry-over conventional five-speed auto.

The CVT is far more effective than the old four-speed auto. Acceleration is seamless courtesy of the gear-less transmission, though where most CVTs have a characteristic drone as constant revs are held during acceleration the Liberty’s tacho needle climbs correspondingly with vehicle speed before settling at lower revs once the car is cruising.

Drivers can use paddleshifters to change between the six artificial gears programmed into the CVT, though the transmission changes up at about 6000rpm rather than holding ‘gears’ to the 6400rpm redline.

The engine is respectably muscular, although you often have to strain your ears to catch the signature ‘boxer’ engine’s throb. And in performance terms, there’s no comparison with the GT’s terrific turbo engine (see separate first drive).

Although the Sports sits on the stiffer Bilstein dampers, the difference in suspension firmness compared to the regular underpinnings is not night and day. Although a definite verdict will have to wait until we’ve tested the new Liberty on our own choice of roads, suspension compliance seems to be excellent on all models we tested during the launch.

The Liberty Sports also tackled flowing country roads well, though the lack of tight corners on the launch drive means a full dynamic assessment must wait. The Sports is available in three trim levels (regular, Premium or Premium with Sat Nav) and two body styles (sedan or wagon).

Premium adds $4000 to the price tag ($43,490) and introduces an electric sunroof, leather seats, and electrically adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar support. Satellite navigation is an obvious inclusion for the $46,990 Premium with Sat Nav, though there’s also Bluetooth, McIntosh audio system, reverse-parking camera, dual electric front seats, and rear air vents.

The Liberty’s interior is undeniably a smart design, including brushed-metal effect trim, though overall material quality isn’t a step forward over the old model. The dash, for example, features no tactile, soft-touch plastics.

The wagon costs an additional $2000 over sedan versions. That brings improved practicality, however, as the sedan doesn’t feature folding rear seats. Every new Liberty features hill-hold assist, electronic parking brake, cruise control, foglights, stability control and seven airbags (fronts, sides, curtains and driver’s knee) as standard.
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:08 PM
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Saw one of these beauty's at Ozzy Park Subi the other weekend, I
can only describe it in 1 word.

SHWING!!!!!!!

Has some nice CF interior trims Dave, I'm waiting for the Tuned By version.
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:17 PM
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all the CF gear in the world wont help that arse..camry/nissan for the fail.
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:21 PM
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Doesn't look all that bad.

I still like the current models front end though.
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Old 09-09-2009, 05:24 PM
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electronic parking brake = FAIL for me
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by American Dave View Post
all the CF gear in the world wont help that arse..camry/nissan for the fail.
I actually wasnt very impressed when I first saw the Jap release pics
but when i saw it in the flesh I feel in love, looks so much better than
the pics.

Going to take one for a test drive on Friday me thinks.
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Old 09-09-2009, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by American Dave View Post
electronic parking brake = FAIL for me
Yeah what is with that? Also, how come if you want to buy a manual, you're limited to the base model or going all the way up to the GT? It seems odd for them to introduce a six speed manual, and then limit your choices if you actually want to buy one.

I saw a couple of lower spec models on Sunday. Very Camryesque on first impressions, but they'll probably grow on me.
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:06 PM
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Saw an Outback on the road the other day. Thought it was a facelifted Tribeca. It was huge!!
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Old 09-09-2009, 07:24 PM
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ewww
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