The 2013 Subaru Liberty is now on sale in Australia, with the updated model boasting a new more efficient entry-level 2.5-litre petrol engine, added features, refreshed styling and a revised price list.
The Subaru Liberty 2.5i CVT, which benefits from the new engine, is now priced from $32,990 for the sedan and $34,990 for the wagon – $2000 cheaper than before. The CVT (continuously variable transmission) variants are the new base models in the range, with the old manual gearbox option now discontinued at the budget end of the line-up.
The Liberty 2.5i Premium with the same new engine is $1500 cheaper ($39,490 sedan, $41,490 wagon), while the automatic variants of the turbocharged Liberty 2.5GT Premium model rise by $1500 ($56,490 sedan, $58,490 wagon). All other prices remain unchanged from the previous model year.
The new FB-series 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer engine produces 127kW and 235Nm – up 4kW/6Nm from the old EJ-series unit. Subaru says the engine’s added low- to mid-range torque improves its driveability, while the new Lineartronic CVT is quieter, lighter and more compact than its predecessor.
This in turn leads to improved fuel economy, with the combined cycle figure of the 2.5i sedan models cut from 8.3 litres per 100km to 7.9, while the wagons sharpen from 8.3L/100km to 8.0.
Subaru has also upgraded the all-wheel-drive, suspension and steering systems of the updated Liberty range. The AWD system now offers greater precision in torque distribution between the front and back wheels, which Subaru says results in improved handling and stability.
New bushings have been introduced to improve NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels, the new stabiliser is thicker, the damper and spring rates have been changed for added stability, and extra welding and support have been added to the cradle frame and sub-frame for enhanced manoeuvrability.
Physical and software changes have also been made to the steering in the pursuit of improved responsiveness and NVH performance.
All 2013 Libertys feature a revised front grille and foglight surrounds, new alloy wheels, new steering wheel design, electronic park brake in the centre console, one-touch indicators, USB input and a new colour scheme across the instrument cluster, dashboard and centre console. All models except the entry-level Liberty 2.5i also score electro-luminescent gauges with a 3.5-inch colour display.
Liberty 2.5i Premium, 2.5GT Premium auto and X variants get Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system, making the collision avoidance technology available in a sub-$40,000 Subaru model for the first time.
Four new colours are available: dark metallic grey, deep sea blue pearl, Venetian red pearl and burnished bronze metallic.
Despite sales increasing 12.2 per cent this year to 4079 units to the end of November, the Liberty’s share of the sub-$60,000 medium segment has dropped from 6.9 per cent to 6.6 per cent in 2012. The Subaru is currently ranked sixth in its class, trailing the Toyota Camry (23,644), Mazda6 (5947), Honda Accord Euro (5876), Ford Mondeo (4692) and the Volkswagen Passat (4177).
2013 Subaru Liberty manufacturer’s list prices: