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by Tim Beissmann

A higher-riding version of the Subaru Liberty sedan will join the Australian line-up later this year, adding extra versatility to the all-wheel-drive mid-sized range.

The new Liberty variant sits 60mm higher than the standard sedan and is 70mm higher at the hip point. Its minimum ground clearance of 210mm makes it just 3mm lower than the Outback and 10mm lower than the Forester and XV.

Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said our market and China would be the only two regions in the world to get the high-riding model, a decision influenced by the two countries’ unique road conditions.

“It is still an enlightening statistic that around 60 per cent of our roads are unsealed,” Senior said.

“We see its main market to be in rural areas, but it will also be ideal for those with tricky driveways, those who travel with trailers and caravans, or just those who want a sedan where you can sit a bit higher.”

The high-riding Liberty will be available as a sedan only. It will be offered with the choice of Subaru’s 2.5- and 3.6-litre petrol engines.

The new variant is currently on display at the Beijing motor show, at the same time revealing the 2013 model year upgrades that will be applied across the range.

The 2013 Subaru Liberty on display sports a new grille and front bumper, side skirts with chrome highlights, exclusive 18-inch alloy wheels and a black-metal centre console. The electric park brake and SI-Drive switches have also been relocated for easier use.

While Subaru Australia is yet to finalise pricing and timing for the high-riding variant, it is expected to become available following the launch of the 2013 model year updates, which will arrive in local showrooms in the third quarter of 2012.