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Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

2010 (MY10) Subaru Liberty Review

It was back in 1954 that Subaru produced its first car, now some 55 years later, the once small and unrecognised brand has become a powerhouse for producing reliable and good performing vehicles.

Subaru has done exceptionally well of late, so much so that it even outsold Mazda, month on month, in the United States for the first time ever recently. In August this year, Subaru Australia sold 2602 cars and came in ninth overall in the national sales tally.

But what makes a Subaru a Subaru? Although the styling has been questionable in recent times, the Japanese brand has got its formula right with the launch of the fifth generation Liberty, known as Legacy in other markets, in Australia this week.

As a model that first came to light back in 1989, so far more than 130,000 of the Liberty model have been sold and there is no sign of that slowing down.

In order to launch the new generation Liberty and Outback, Subaru took a group of automotive journalists out to Daylesford in central Victoria to test the ins and outs of what will surely be the best Liberty to date.

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

To start with, lets come clean, the styling is questionable for some, although photos really don’t do it justice.

The new Liberty is a good looking car, but it was always going to be a big challenge to improve on the previous generation, which seemed to have it almost completely right in the looks department.

As a car, it certainly stands out and that was one of the aims of the new design, to have more road presence and attract buyers away from its Japanese rivals.

Along with the new shape, longer, wider and higher stance, there is now a 3.6-litre engine, taken from the Tribeca, that replaces the 3.0-litre.

Subaru has dropped the Liberty GT Spec B for now but will offer a standard 2.5-litre turbocharged GT variant for the enthusiast. It will also offer a sports version of the naturally aspirated 2.5-litre, now called Liberty 2.5i S.

Unlike some manufacturers that like to create Sport variants by adding a body kit and not much else, Subaru has taken its sporting heritage seriously. The Liberty S variants get sports tuned Bilstein suspension, carbon fibre dashboard and door trim highlights, xenon headlights, 18-inch wheels and of course, sports bumper and grille.

The naturally aspirated sport variants are only available with the company’s all new Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

One the biggest criticisms of Subaru has always been a lack of good automatic gearboxes with four-speed automatics still in use. Thankfully Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru’s parent company) has heard the call and built an entirely new transmission system.

As far as CVT transmissions go, almost all major car companies have now had a go, most notably the Europeans who started the trend some time ago.

Subaru says its CVT is similar to that of Audi’s but is completely built by Subaru in Japan, apart from the chains, which come from Germany.

For those of you who are unaware, CVT is a completely different type of transmission compared to your usual automatic. For a start, there are no real gear-sets, but two belts that produce an infinite number of ratios as the transmission adjusts while you drive.

This is great for fuel economy as you’re no longer ever in need of a longer or shorter gear. However given the infinite range of ratios available, in some cases CVT transmissions can take the edge away from the driving experience, but not so with Subaru.

The company decided that in order to stay sporty and provide a good feel to its owners, the CVT was to be programmed to behave similarly to a standard automatic gearbox.

This means when manual mode is used, via either the steering-wheel mounted paddles or the central gearlever, pre-programmed ratios  are selected, and although there could have been 60, it made sense to stick with six ratios.

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

By using the pre-programmed ratios, you can drive the new Liberty or Outback essentially the same as a manual or traditional auto, so you can engine brake using the gears and the revs increase as you accelerate (as oppose to staying the same while the ratios change).

Sound a little too complicated? No need to worry, it does all the work for you like a standard auto, only better, and it would take a real car enthusiast to even realise there is a CVT transmission in use!

The only limitation with the new transmission is that it currently can’t take the extra torque produced by the 2.5-litre turbocharged engine or the 3.6-litre engine so for now it’s only available on the naturally aspirated 2.5i.

To get the maximum volume of cars to the most buyers, Subaru will focus on four different types of Liberty for its customers in this segment.

Those after a flexible model can opt for the 2.5i or the 2.5i premium. If you’re after something more sporty the already mentioned GT and the 2.5iS fill the gap. Versatility is provided by the soon to arrive Liberty Exiga six-seater, whilst the recreational and more adventurous types would go for the Subaru Outback.

Technicalities aside, lets take a closer look at the new Liberty. The more notable change is the increase in rear-seat legroom, it now feels as big as a Ford Falcon on the inside and can easily and comfortably seat five adults for long distances.

Cargo space has been improved in both sedan and wagon variants while overall dimensions have increased in all respects. Not surprisingly, the weight has also increased, yet the fuel consumption has decreased!

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

The standard 2.5-litre has gone down from 9.4 litres per 100 kilometres to 8.4L/100km and CO2 emissions has also improved by nine to 12 per cent depending on variant.

The 2.5-litre engine remains relatively unchanged from the previous generation, apart from the addition of lighter pistons and better cooling.

The arrival of the new 3.6-litre engine also gives the Liberty range a new perspective, now powered by an engine that can easily match that of the local offerings, the 3.6-litre Liberty has great pulling power and serves as a more refined family orientated alternative to the turbocharged GT.

Speaking of the new 2.5-litre turbocharged GT, Subaru have changed the position of the turbocharger, it now sits closer to the exhaust (it’s energy source), the Japanese engineers made the change to create a more logical and efficient design.

Furthermore a bigger intercooler has been installed, allowing for full boost to be achieved in two seconds instead of three. The GT goes from 0-100km in 6.2 seconds, or 6.3sec for the manual, and it will do the 400 metre sprint in 14.4 seconds.

Heading out from Lakehouse resort in Daylesford, I took the Liberty GT and the 2.5i Sports for a spin around the country roads.

The easiest way to tell that you’re in a Subaru is the feel of being grounded thanks to the company’s symmetrical all-wheel drive.

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

Handling is improved thanks to the redesigned suspension, the rear set-up is now more similar to that of the Impreza and Forester allowing for better cornering ability.

During our test we had nothing but moderate to heavy rain, which as Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior said, was the perfect weather to appreciate the car’s all-weather capabilities.

Perhaps the only criticism I could mention regarding handling and driving dynamics is Subaru’s slightly intrusive Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or as Subaru terms it VDC, which tends to kick in a little early. It can of course be turned off if you want to chance your luck.

Some have wrongly criticised Subaru for sticking with the all-wheel-drive system, arguing that front-wheel drive would suffice while providing better fuel efficiency.

The Japanese manufacturer has debunked these claims, the new Liberty and Outback are still driven through all wheels but now provide better fuel efficiency than the majority of their competitors. Mainly thanks to engine refinement and the new CVT.

So far as the interior goes my biggest criticism of Subaru still stands, while it’s built great cars for the last 20 or so years, it continues to be let down by its interiors.

The use of hard plastics is still common place and even in the top of the range GT models, the interior’s otherwise classy look and feel is tarnished as a result. To make up for it, the GT premium comes with a McIntosh sound system and can be optioned with satellite navigation, Bluetooth and leather trimmed seats.

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

Safety wise Subaru stands as the only car company in the Australian market that has a five-star ANCAP safety rating for all its cars, other brands have five-star safety ratings across the range but some models may have been tested in Europe.

With the addition of the driver’s knee airbag, the fifth generation MY10 Liberty now has seven airbags. Active safety features include VDC which encompasses ESC, TCS, brake assist, ABS, EBD and more.

I can rave on about the car’s safety but it would be easier if you just watched this video of the Subaru Outback crash test, Outback is based on the Liberty.

Additionally, as a family car, it’s hard to argue with the all-wheel-drive system, it’s just much more sensible to pick a Liberty over its competitors for that reason alone.

Overall it’s hard to fault the new Liberty, it’s a solid performer as it has always been. However I suspect the styling may take some time to be appreciated by the masses.

CarAdvice will be putting the new Liberty through our Road Test regime in the near future so stay tuned.

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

Fuel Efficiency:

Liberty 2.5i manual : 8.9L/100km
Liberty 2.5i CVT: 8.4L/100km
Liberty 2.5i GT manual: 9.8L/100km
Liberty 2.5i GT auto: 9.7L/100km
Liberty 3.6R auto-only: 10.3L/100km

Model feature list:

Liberty 2.5i

  • ABS anti-lock brakes with four-wheel discs and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
  • Automatic transmission lock-out – need foot on brake, key in ignition “on” position, to release electronic parking brake
  • Brake Assist
  • Child seat anchor points
  • Curtain airbags – full length
  • Driver’s knee airbag
  • Dual front airbags
  • Dual front side airbags
  • Engine cradle – helps isolate the engine from the passenger cabin in heavy crash
  • Fog lights – front
  • Front seatbelts with pretensioners and load limiters. Double pretensioners on driver’s seatbelt
  • Hill start assist
  • Rear bumper reflectors
  • Rear door child lock
  • Seatbelt indicator lights – all seats
  • Side intrusion bars
  • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive
  • Three-point A/ELR rear centre seatbelt
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control electronic stability program


Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
  • Climate control air conditioning – dual zone
  • Cargo area light
  • Cargo security blind – wagon only
  • Centre-through rear seat – sedan only
  • Cup holders
  • Electric parking brake
  • Height and reach adjustable steering column
  • Height adjustable driver’s seat
  • Immobiliser security system
  • Leather trim gear shift (manual)
  • Lineartronic CVT transmission option
  • Map lights (2)
  • Leather steering wheel with audio and cruise control buttons
  • MP3/WMA compatible audio system
  • Multi-function trip computer
  • Paddle shift gear change (auto)
  • Power steering, mirrors and windows
  • Rear illumination LED instrument display
  • Rear seats auto fold function in wagons
  • Rear seats recline function in wagons
  • Remote central locking
  • Remote fuel lid release
  • Seatback storage nets
  • Six-speed manual transmission option
  • Six-stacker in-dash CD player, MP3/WMA, AUX jack with six speakers
  • Sports seats
  • Two remote central locking keys
  • Vanity mirror
  • 60/40 split/fold rear seat – wagon only


  • 17-inch alloy wheels – large steel temporary spare
  • Chrome-surround grille
  • Colour-coded mirrors and door handles
  • Headlights auto off
  • Privacy glass (rear)
  • Rear roof spoiler – wagon only
  • Rear wiper – wagon only

Other features

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
  • DataDot security technology
  • Electronic throttle control
  • Sedan auto boot release on key; unlock tailgate on wagon
  • Three-year unlimited kilometre warranty
  • 2.5 litre SOHC horizontally opposed boxer engine – 123 Kilowatts of power at 5600 rpm and 229 Newtonmetres of torque at 4000 rpm.

Liberty 2.5i Premium adds:

  • Electric sunroof
  • Leather trim
  • Lineartronic CVT-only
  • Power driver seat – eight-way adjustable with dual memory and lumbar support
  • Rear air vents

Liberty 2.5i Premium with SatNav adds:

  • Bluetooth enabled with voice recognition
  • DVD/CD player (single disc)
  • Reversing camera
  • Satellite navigation – factory fitted
  • Three-pin RCA jack

Liberty 2.5i Sports adds (to 2.5i):

  • Alloy pedals
  • Bilstein suspension
  • Carbon fibre-type dashboard and door trim highlights
  • Leather door trim inserts
  • Lineartronic CVT-only
  • Sports bumper and grille
  • Xenon HID self-levelling low-beam headlights with washers
  • 18-inch alloy wheels – full size steel temporary spare

Liberty 2.5i Sports Premium adds (to 2.5i Sports):

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

  • Electric sunroof
  • Leather trim
  • Power driver’s seat – eight-way adjustable with dual memory and electronic lumbar support

Liberty 2.5i Sports Premium with SatNav adds:

  • Bluetooth enabled
  • DVD/CD (single disc)
  • McIntosh sound system
  • Power passenger seat
  • Reversing camera
  • Rear vents
  • Satellite navigation – factory fitted
  • Three-pin RCA jack

Liberty 2.5i GT Premium with SatNav:

  • Alloy pedals
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Choice of five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission
  • Dual exhaust
  • Dusk-sensing headlights – auto on/off
  • DVD/CD (single disc)
  • Electric sunroof
  • Engine cover
  • Leather trim
  • McIntosh sound system
  • Power driver’s seat – eight-way adjustable – and electronic lumbar support
  • Power passenger seat
  • Rain-sensing auto windscreen wipers
  • Rear air vents
  • Reversing camera
  • Satellite navigation – factory fitted
  • SI-Drive
  • Smart key access and push button start
  • Sports front bumper and grille
  • Three-pin RCA jack
  • Turbocharged engine produces 195kW of power at 5600 rpm and 350 Newtonmetres of torque at 2400 rpm
  • Xenon HID headlights with washers
  • 18-inch alloy wheels – full size steel temporary spare

Liberty 3.6R Premium with SatNav (sedan-only):

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

  • Bluetooth enabled
  • DVD/CD (single disc)
  • Dual exhaust
  • Dusk-sensing headlights – auto on/off
  • Electric sunroof
  • Engine cover
  • Five-speed automatic transmission-only
  • Leather trim
  • McIntosh sound system
  • Power driver’s seat – eight-way adjustable – and electronic lumbar support
  • Power passenger seat
  • Rain-sensing auto windscreen wipers
  • Rear air vents
  • Reversing camera
  • Satellite navigation – factory fitted
  • SI-Drive
  • Smart key access and push button start
  • Six-cylinder engine produces 191 kW of power at 5600 rpm and 350 Nm at 4400 rpm.
  • Three-pin RCA jack
  • Wood-type dashboard and door highlights
  • Xenon HID headlights with washers
  • 18-inch alloy wheels – full size steel temporary spare

Pricing (all manufacturer recommended price):

Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review
Subaru Liberty Review

Liberty 2.5i manual sedan $33,990
Liberty 2.5i Lineartronic CVT sedan $36,490
Liberty 2.5i manual wagon $35,990
Liberty 2.5i Lineartronic CVT wagon $38,490

Liberty 2.5i Sports Lineartronic CVT sedan $39,490
Liberty 2.5i Sports Lineartronic CVT Premium sedan $43,490
Liberty 2.5i Sports Premium Lineartronic CVT SatNav sedan $46,990
Liberty 2.5i Sports Lineartronic CVT wagon $41,490
Liberty 2.5i Sports Lineartronic CVT Premium wagon $45,490
Liberty 2.5i Sports Premium Lineartronic CVT SatNav wagon $48,990

Liberty 2.5i Premium Lineartronic CVT sedan $39,990
Liberty 2.5i Premium Lineartronic CVT SatNav sedan $42,490
Liberty 2.5i Premium Lineartronic CVT wagon $41,990
Liberty 2.5i Premium Lineartronic CVT SatNav wagon $44,490

Liberty 2.5 GT Premium manual SatNav sedan $52,990
Liberty 2.5 GT Premium auto SatNav sedan $54,990
Liberty 2.5 GT Premium manual SatNav wagon $54,990
Liberty 2.5 GT Premium auto SatNav wagon $56,990

Liberty 3.6R Premium auto SatNav sedan $51,990

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  • darren

    Having seen these in the flesh last weekend, they are an aggressive awesome looking car, for some reason none of the current Subaru’s look good in pictures, before u judge it wait till u see in in the metal.

    • johnnyli

      Totally agreed!!!
      I bought mine is because I saw the real one in the showroom…

  • Jake02

    I bought an MY00 Liberty wagon (in 2000 obviously) and it was a FANTASTIC car. Only the fact that the clutch was continually being eaten up (not in warranty either :S) and that I wanted a few more toys was why I got a new car. The new Liberty isn’t as much of an all-rounder though. I drove the base 2.5i on the weekend (thats all the dealer had) and its so friggin soft (so unlike my old 2.0litre base model GX)! Next car, I reckon Skoda (NOT Subaru) will get my money, for the second time.

    This Liberty looks so confused too. The interior I give the thumbs up, but the exterior…well…ugghhh! The headlights…(need I say more?) and the tailights (if you cover the middle part with your finger) are all Accord V6 (saloon) and Laguna Estate (wagon). The wagon has no roof rails (its a wagon – you’re meant to carry crap) and I hope you can get different wheels because they make the car look somewhat depressed :(

    I’m sure it drives really well (in the GT) and its comfortable but I’m not sure too many will look at the face and think mmmmmmmm thats good looking…

    • johnnyli

      the wagon has roof rails!

  • Captain Mainwaring

    The outgoing model was one of the crispest-looking wagons available, and sold largely on that factor. Now that it’s been replaced by a bloat-mobile with a CVT transmission, the all wheel drive chassis and wonderfully compliant suspension won’t be enough to maintain its position as one of the most desired cars on the market. So sad.

    • trackdaze

      Spot on. The previous liberty was like a well tailored suit and sold well because of it. nice clean lines, proportionatly just right. Now? Why does every new model (any brand)have to gain a ridiculous amount of height?

      A bit slow on the transmission technology subaru. So much so CVT’s have been superceeded by dual clutch manuals as the way to go. No problems managing the torque of the hipo models either just ask porsche.

      • MrQuick

        All new cars are getting higher because of ridiculous pedestrian safety regulations.

        Car bonnet lines and waistlines are being raised, and in order to get to the back into proportion again, the roofline is raised and you end up with this tall looking car.

        BMW addressed this issue with Chris Bangle’s flamesurfacing designs, but at the end of the day, get used to it, all mass produced cars are going to conform.

        Subaru is generally slow on most tech. They haven’t addressed engine efficiency either very well, and aren’t moving towards DI very quickly.
        The CVT box on this doesn’t seem too bad actaully, but at the end of the day it still is a CVT.
        Don’t think its a great point bringing up Porsche PDK boxes, they tend to make cars that cost 3 times as much.

        • trackdaze

          Fare enough on the porsche thing howabout their cusybro vw’s DSG or fords powershift that can handle the 340torques of the focus diesel smack bang in subarus market?

          On the height thing, imagine its a combination of packaging (the higher the seat is to the floor the greater the leg room) Focus groups would be hearing time and again about being able to see over the bonnet from SUV owners past and present. and the bigger must be better for each new model. Little wonder then the small-medium is gains sales ground on the medium large sector.

  • Aleks

    Lets face it you can say what you want, but the interior is just dreadful, how could anyone ever get used to that, forget the hard plastics, its their center console that kills them, now that they have replaced the liberty, every subaru has a shocking interior. I honestly cringe every time i look at it, that center console is just terrible. And what if you don’t have sat nav which most cars won’t will you just have a huge whole their.

  • Yanzo

    i would seriously consider buying one. buy some new shoes for it and like everyone else says it looks way better in person. but the cvt or auto is a no no for me, i’m a manual boy

  • DipStiK

    I am waiting for diesel and 5yr warranty, outback with 213mm clearance is for me :)

  • Tim

    Love the aggressive looks and the interior, a million times better than the 6 or Camry.

  • observer

    Check out Wheels current edition. Skoda Octavia wagon long term test drive crapped itself by breaking down and leaving the Journo’s wife stranded roadside.

    Electrical problems…Oh dear thats the 2nd VAG test car to die during a roadtest in recent times. Remember the Wheels Car of The Year 2008 evaluation process where
    the VW Tiguan driveshaft collapsed during simple slalom testing.

    Subaru goes from strenght to strenght increasing market share across Europe, North America and Oz because their cars are Reliable, Sensible, Safe, Strong Resale Values and lower servicing costs than the Europeans.

    • Jake02

      Thank you for your concerns. But what exactly gives you the impression that I’m going to listen to you and Wheels huh (just because I subscribe and they’re much better that the crap from Motor) ? That Octavia was on the Skoda Aus fleet (that exact car – N XR 74J – was at the press launch, meaning that it’s been driven and driven hard before) and doesn’t exactly represent what the rest of the Skoda range is like does it? The fact remains that in 18 months of driving, my Octavia has not had one problem (just as I expected – Skoda was the number ONE carmaker and the Octavia was the number ONE car in the Auto Express Survey last year and Skoda has better reliability than VW, as with SEAT) and I don’t expect it to.

      If Subaru keep producing cars that look like that, then its true that Skoda will receive my future business. And wow Subaru has lower servicing costs – get stuffed. A true customer will research ALL costs involved when buying a car and Skoda/VW/BMW etc services intervals are twice as long as Subaru making them cheaper in the long run (and servicing costs for my Skoda are cheaper than the Subaru, despite having a turbo etc and being more modern).

      • smokin’R32

        “Subaru keep producing cars that look like that, then its true that Skoda will receive my future business.”
        Funny that cause Skoda are consistently producing the ugliest cars in the business. That grill with those frumpy proportions, yuck

      • carson

        Mate you need to chill out. Id have to agree with smokin’ on this one too

        • Jake02

          carson (cresley?) – Geeze sorry, I didn’t realise that I was being OTT! The word one was in capitals to emphasise Skoda’s number one position – proving to Observer that Skodas do, in fact, not breakdown as much as he suggested and that Wheels car was a one-off…

          Smokin’ R32 – I realise that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’m stuggling to see how the Octavia RS is less attractive than any new Liberty. Its maybe in the fact that Skoda didn’t copy anyone for the design??? Hmmmm mind your own business!

          • Hayzel

            Jake 02 looking at your comment you are obviously a die hard SKODA fan. Your opinion and comment scream out bias and obviously you couldn’t accept people not liking skoda. Now shut up kid….

        • Jake02

          Hayzel – If someone was sayin’ crap about your car then I think you would defend it, especially when they things said were untrue. Go back under your rock – your opinion is not needed. Farking hell you lot take things the wrong way. Its none of your business, so just piss off. :D

          • Ace

            Yep Skoda’s look like crap… if it looked like a Ferrari you would not need to comment… or defend it… lol

          • The Real Car Fanatic

            If it was the Ferrari California you would, just to prove how narrow minded you are Ace.

  • average joe

    Will be interesting to see how the CVT fares – at least that acknowledge that they can’t handle any decent torque. I’m yet to see one that gets moving in less than a second from brake pedal to accelerator. Damn dangerous things at roundabouts.

  • o

    who designed this car………….o wait toyota now owns a huge part of subaru. The headlights in the 10th pic look massive. and the taillights look like something out of a 180 car after the high quality lights of the last gen and where are the frameless doors!

  • G

    Looks like a toyota camry got drunk, raped a honda and had a retarded child.

    Disgusting – good work ruining a stylish, unassuming sedan, subaru

    • CMF

      Disagree with you, but love the description…

  • zahmad

    Much much better pics….Local ‘Liberty” shots are way better! I know how you can fix the look of the car very easily and is probably what Subaru will do in the near future…

  • Nathan H

    Nice puff piece. I could rest my head on it and go to sleep, it’s that puffy. zzzzzzz. When I wake up though, I’ll look up through my bleary eyes and see a pig-ugly middle-age-mobile built around a CVT that curiously, jerks around like a fixed ratio box. Can anybody come up with a convincing reason to do this? I could teach a cow to quack, in mandarin, but it still won’t taste like peking duck.

  • fishman

    I don’t understand how a car that is bigger and heavier than the previous model and with the same engine, has reduced fuel consumption? Is this just fudging the numbers???

    No mention of the real world consumption in this first steer, so it will be interesting to see these stats when full reviews come online…

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      The engine is more fuel efficient helped along with the transmissions. Improving Engine technology and design is a great way of reducing fuel economy.

  • jay

    Is it just me or are all these new cars starting to look the same, FUGLY. The 6, the suby, the Accord, they all look damn clunky and heavy, is it getting hard to make a decent looking front end these days or what?

    Just read a review of the Suby and its CVT Tranny from the states 2/5.

    Give Kudo’s to VW and its new Golf, clean lines mostly, and it does not look like it needs to take a dump or go on a weight loss program real bad.

    Maybe I’m just over these “aggressive” looks that cars seem to need these days, then again maybe all these cars are starting to look the same.

    • Rental

      Gotta agre with you jay.
      Many cars have been getting more aggressive looking with creases, lumps and bug catching frontal add-ons.
      I reckon they’ve run out of ideas. The messy looking fronts are unnecessary and we are mature enough to like a clean, efficient and simple (and beautiful) design.
      Yes the Golf and the new Polo are good examples.
      And the Citroen DS is an older example of clean but not boring lines (I’ll duck now and await the abuse!)

      • Carfanatic

        I won’t abuse you, VW’s are still nice looking cars, hopefully the Germans won’t go ugly like everyone else has.

        • alex

          There is only one word to describe VW styling. Boring. At least Subaru have given it a go.

          • Simon

            I personally love VW styling and styling is the perfect word because they exude style.

    • QwkEddie

      Yes Jay I agree about the Golf’s lines,they are clean when you look at the MKVI Golf..oh! sorry I mean the MKII…no..no MKIII? no! MKIV? or is it the MKV? arghhh!,it doesn’t really matter,they all look the same to me!

  • jay

    Fishman thats one thing a CVT set up will do, reduce fuel usage. They made the car damn heavier than the prev model so they have to improve the fuel numbers somehow..enter CVT.

    • fishman

      Yeah, the CVT will make a big difference over a dated 4 speed auto – I thought the quoted figures were for the manual though…if it’s for the CVT then the numbers make more sense

  • Andrew Juma

    Why do all new Japanese cars seem to be smiling. Mazda 3, Subaru Liberty. Is this their new design trend? But seriously, this car is ugly, Tribeca ugly. Why do car manufacturers take a good thing and ruin it, again looking at you Mazda and Subaru. The only Japanese manufacturer that seems to get the replacements right is Honda.

    • Carfanatic

      Give it time and Honda will smile too.

  • http://OzMPSclub.com OzMPSclub

    Sorry Subaru as you have done with the Imprezza the Liberty has changed to a ugly duckling….my opinion and I have Mazda DNA……bring on the happy face

  • Martin

    To me, they have thought of nice design features individually for each part of the cars exterior, then at the last moment, put all these potentially nice design features together and they simply don’t work together.

    Three biggest niggles are the headlights; they curve upwards too much, the door handles are simply ugly and the wheel arches seem a bit… tacked on, like an afterthought.

    I’m sure it will go well though. Just a pitty about the look of the thing.

  • G

    Better interior, worse exterior. I reckon the 4GEN Liberty looked the best prior to the facelift. Actually, the facelift was ok, but the buttlift f**ked it up.

  • Mark Greenburg

    I love the PR shots – exactly your typical Liberty driver. Boring office slave (sedan) and boring suburban housewife (wagon).

  • dasferg

    Still looks like a Camry mated with a Holden Epica. Will be a good drive, reliable etc, but has become one of the herd. Moo.

  • Love GT-R

    I don’t mind the new aggressive look. I have to see it in the metal before making a judgement. It looks less fussy than the Outback.

  • Forza M

    Carfantic, hopefully the germans wont make ugly cars? I am thinking 75 percent of the entire range at BM looks sh-thouse.

    Caradvice- speaking of sh-thouse, the new website design fits that bill

    Alborama – please dont try and tell us this car looks good, it is a disaster to look at. The previous gen Liberty was a beautiful sedan, this is not. I am a bit annoyed that you can say this thing looks good. I am sure many of your loyal readers (even the ones I give a hard time) will agree with me. We are car enthusiasts and we all know this thing looks crap.

    • Carfanatic

      Really? I bet you think Jennifer Hawkins looks ugly too?

      • Forza M

        No I think she is pretty tidy, your sister on the other hand is not much chop!!!

  • Motorhead

    The design reminds me of the Epica, which isn’t a good start.
    The let down of the previous Liberty & Subarus in general has been poor interiors, high fuel consumption & lack of refinement.
    I had a quick look at one in a dealership & the interior was marginally better then previously but I’d be interested to know how much they’ve improved in the other two areas in the real world, the CVT should help a little in both regards but I am yet to drive one I’ve been satisfied with.

    • blitzkrieg

      Most 4 cly cars are 1.6,1.8,2.0 and use about 7 to 9 ltrs per 100km.
      My lib wagon uses 9.5ltrs per100km,pretty good for a 2.5,i cant see where you can
      equate that Subarus have high fuel consumption Motorhead,that would be normal consumption to me.

  • RBH

    I’m sure the new styling is great from a packaging perspective, but the glasshouse looks too tall and out of proportion with the rest of the car. I think it’s a disappointing step backwards from the (quite attractive) previous model. Comparisons with respect to looks with the (unloved) Holden Epica are quite valid in my opinion except that I think the Epica actually looks slightly better than the new Liberty. Oh dear.

    I’m sure it’s a good car, but I couldn’t get past the appearance. Sorry.

  • Grant

    While the styling is controversial now, it will not be long before most people will be used to it. Everyone thought the new Impreza was a shocker, but why is it now outselling all the previous, well-liked models? I am not necessarily a Subie fan, but having seen and driven a new demo of this model, I am impressed to say the least. It looks much better in the flesh (particularly the black GTs), goes like a scalded cat, yet is much more refined than earlier models (still not perfect though, but then again, what is?). As the ad says, “If you knew, you’d be in a Subaru too.” Great job, Subie, though restyle those front headlights please!

  • RBH

    I still think the new Imprezza is a shocker. I know the move to being a hatchback has increased overall Imprezza sales, but the former WRX crowd are now driving Lancers, GTI’s and Mazda 3′s. If it’d been a good looking hatch, I suspect would have taken an even bigger slice of the market.

    The previous Liberty was a really handsome car IMHO. I doubt it costs that much more money to build a good looking car over an ugly one. So why go to market with an ugly one?

  • Ian

    Subaru have completely ruined the styling of the 2010 model. (Wagon in particular).
    I think they have tried to appeal to the US market and I can’t blame for chasing those sales.
    But the last model was so much better looking! Please bring back the Euro styling.
    The new model looks like Mt Potato Head styled. Squeeze it and wait till it bulges!
    It is hard to beat the sleek styling that looks like it has seen the inside of a wind tunnel.

  • Byron

    Front end looks like a Holden Epica gone wrong, & makes Epica look genuinely good, Side & Back view off a Honda Accord. Way to go! Interior is really good. Love the touchscreen. Subaru always make their cars look good inside, but not so much on the outside. I kinda like the styling, but i’d take a HSV E2 over this, sorry to say. Go HOLDEN

  • MY07GT-Owner

    My MY07GT just got superceded, but personally I prefer the older model. The new model has gone decidedly Saloon’ish (in the slushiest sense of the description). My MY07 is up for end of lease in 2 months, but I don’t think the new model is going to tempt me to refresh – I’ll either go elsewhere, or extend my current Lease.
    Such a disappointment… My first car was the ugly duckling DL1800 Wagon. It took me 25 years to forgive Subaru for that styling indiscretion. The MY07 turned me around. Shame Subaru only like a repeat customer once every silver jubilee !

  • mark

    looks like mitsi magnas were 7 years ahead of there time

  • miumiumi

    Regarding the tail, I think it is a trend. I mean it is a trend to copy the rich German car makers who have spent money on their designs. It is BMW and Mercedes who first extended the tails of their cars by fitting protruding rear bumpers. Then Toyota Camry followed. My biggest disappointment is Honda gave up the elegant clean lines of their 7 generation Accord Euro and copied a BMW body style of a protruding rear bumper. Now it comes to Subaru Liberty. No surprise! All in all, it is ugly. Audi is the one who still adheres to the philosophy of simple is the best. I have to say their cars are just elegant in terms of a clean body style. What about Skoda? It is something interesting. I would say Skoda retain the image as a company from a former Soviet ally, i.e. a country with an iron curtain, since you can tell by their designs. However, they have incorporated the latest technologies and are arguably one of the best quality car makers in Europe.
    When all Japanese car makers are going on the same track in the producing ugly piggies and I do not have that much to buy an Audi, I think I rather opt for a Skoda for the quality and value for money. But I really like to see the new generations of Hyundai, such as the US Genesis, to land on here. These are only my personal opinions, I do not intend to demean anyone.

  • Radster

    Each to their own, but I will confess I didn’t think much of it in photos; however, I went to my local dealer and I actually like the look of it now. There’s a strength of purpose – even a muscularity – to the design which isn’t conveyed in photos. Anyway, I took it for a test drive and bought one! Took delivery of a 2.5i Sports Premium sedan last Friday and it’s the best car I’ve ever owned – easily beats my old VT Commodore and is a marked improvement over my previous Mazda6. The new Subaru Liberty is breathtakingly good on many levels and I’m more than happy to have given my hard-earned money to a company that is one of the leaders in the automobile industry.

    • blitzkrieg

      what do think of the hand brake on the dash,surely its dangerous if you need to apply in an emergency situation,taking your eyes off the road to pinpoint the button?

    • just bought one


      bravo. i just traded my07 cx7 bucket of crap for a new liberty GT. i have had 3 mazda 6′s before and then the cx7. mazda 6 looks great but cant compare in performance to the new GT. i get mine nxt week and cant wait to take to the adelaide hills in it.

  • Trevor Young

    I waited almost all year for the specs. of the new Liberty but my local dealer (in Coffs Harbour) seemed disinterested. So….I walked across the road and traded my MY07 2.5 Liberty (my second) for a Skoda Superb diesel. The main issue with the Liberty that I wanted clarification on was the annoying lull sometimes with the electronic throttle particularly when cornering or exiting roundabouts. My dealer told me it was a characteristic with the Liberty and there was no cure. I don’t believe that – its a problem that must have a solution Hope the new model is passed the issue. Otherwise, the Liberty was brilliant!!

    (Sprightly Bob)

  • B4

    I saw one in the flesh the other day,… and my jaw dropped! And not in the least positive way!
    I am a Liberty fan, drive a Liberty B4 and have always owned Subarus, so to see this monster (or Toyota looking monster) has turned me right off.
    I was in the market for a new Liberty, hoping that they would have improved some of Gen4 safety features, but without being too over zealous on the design. Well, I tell you, I’m looking elsewhere.
    Is it necessary to re-design a whole new look to a car just for the sake of it being the ‘next generation’?
    Tradition plays a role, just look at Porsche or VW Golf, in each new model, they still keep the traditional look of the car whilst improving all esle around it. And surprise surprise it works and sells.
    This all seems too familiar with Subaru, dejavu… remember when the Impreza got bugged eyed!
    For those that think ‘it’ looks aggressive, well my grandmother would think that.

  • fishman

    I have to agree with the previous poster – I saw caught one out of the corner of my eye driving past for the first time yesterday. It certainly catches the eye, but that is one seriously ugly front end….

  • Karl

    I took one for a test drive a few weeks back. I was impressed. I am looking at the Premium Model. I thought it looked good from both inside and out. Like all new models it will take a while to get used to.

    The power was good for a 4 (currently have a Commodore). When I took it for a test drive I didn’t realise I had hit 120kms it was so smooth.

    Looking a buying early 2010. Have considered the Euro and Maz 6, keep coming back to the Suabaru handling and quality. I think the Maz 6 has become overpriced, and the Euros tend to get dinged easily in the carparks along the doors (p’s me off). Plus the Honda seems pricy for what you get.

    OVerall I think the new Liberty will become accepted as people get used to seeing them. I did like the prevous model, though the new one is much bigger with a boot comparable to my Commodore.



  • Robert

    Like you Karl I have a Commodore (VR V6) and have been looking at Euros purely on fuel economy. Because I hate front wheel drives I gave the Liberty a spin and it impressed me no end with the markedly better handling. Just wish it had more power.

    As to the looks I’m not really fussed myself. It’s not ugly but it’s far from good looking. Bland is probably the best description. Personally I look for power, handling, comfort and fuel efficiency in that order. I couldn’t care about looks, after all, I can’t see the car while I’m driving.

  • Gavin

    Just ordered a new GT. An extraordinarily well specced car for the price with amazing performance, handling and ride.

    Keeping the 4 year old Forester Xt for the wife.

    I’ve had manuals all my life and tried the 6 speed but fell in love with the auto. A simple AMAZING car for the price. If you look at the competitors with similar “options” they are all Euros and start 20k more.

    The GT really is the business.

  • brocks-a-cheat

    now own a MY10 3.6l Premium, 4th Liberty and not the best looking MY07 SpecB was best, it sure as hell is the best driving car I have ever owned, awesome power, so quite and smooth, awesome to drive, well done Subaru…maybe by the designer some glasses, but the rest is 100/100 for me.

  • todd

    just bought one 2010 LIBERITY 2.5 SPORTS. brilliant !!!!!!!!!!!!! NEXT CAR WILL BE ANOTHER SUBARU AND MRS WANTS ONE TOO.

  • Luke

    Any owners able to share real world fuel economy figures on the base model 2.5 with CVT?

  • Alex

    Just bought one – a 2.5 i sedan. First Suby I’ve owned, great car. Very roomy inside, smooth auto drive, not sure about the CVT but time will tell. Re looks, just compare it with C and E class Mercedes!

  • Wheelnut

    I think that in terms of Looks; the new Liberty looks like a Holden Cruze/Epica – with the headlights and tail lights.. its also too squared off at the rear – more like a Honda Accord

  • Mac

    Currently driving MY09 sedan…..love that car.

    Looking to move to the MY 10 wagon..had a drive the other day.

    Looks like a hearse, sounds like golf cart……nuff said.

  • Des

    Hate it vehemently.

    I’m a current owner of a MY08 GT Spec B Wagon and by and large I’m happy with it (even with its problems).

    I look to punish Subaru by going elsewhere when the lease is up. Angry.

    Other posters to this article who seem to love the MY2010 a little too exceedingly are obviously Subaru employees.

    I curse Subaru with bad sales figures.


  • Johnny G

    I drove the ’10 Outback the other on Saturday & about to try the Liberty wagon. Was impressed with the car- although the Outback (not surprisingly) is woolly around corners due to ride height. Thinking of a 2.5 Sports, but want to know if the extra expense for Brembo’s & “18 inchers inhibit suspension/ ride. In my experience they generally do, so would rather spend the extra $2.5k on other gear- anyone tried the 2.5 sports wagon?

    As for looks, don’t mind it at all. I think the design better suits the wagon/ Outback, but at least they haven’t produced another Tribeca. That car had no features to even instill anger in anyone. It was so anodyne, vague etc, you would need a kilo of cocaine to get excited about it. At least this car has had genuine design thought put into it. Some may like it, some may not. Personally I think people will learn to like the car’s design.

    Cheers, John

  • Darren

    I have had my MY10 2.5 Premium Wagon (not sports model) for a couple of months now. I must admit i have mixed reviews on it. Te 2.5 couple with cvt auto has fantastic economy, highway driving i am averaging between 850-950kms to a tank, just amazing. Round town it is similar to previous models averaging aroung 450-500 city driving, but highway driving is brilliant.
    I also have the satnav system which is excellent (for something from the factory) if you have one of these you must get an iphone, it works perfectly everytime, it connects automatically to the bluetooth phone and audio streaming perfectly, they should give an iphone with the car when you buy one.
    But i do have some negatives about the car, and the biggest i really think is a major saftey concern for people who hace not driven a cvt transmission before. Couple with subaru’s fly-by-wire electronic throttle, it makes the car a little like a digital camera to use… when you push the accelerator there is usually a slight lag in response, worst case being when you shift from reveres into drive (after having stopped the car from reversing obviously) then accelerate forward, this can be anywhere up to 1 to 1.5 second delay. I’m not sure if this is normal but it happens when i reverse out of my driveway then drive up the street, i nearly got collected today because i could not get the car back into the driveway quick enough for an oncoming car. So if you buy a cvt, expect to change your driving style, and be aware of the potential delay…. very concerning at times i must admit….

  • gt2010

    I have a 2010 auto GT wagon. Best car I have ever driven or been driven in. The only car I have enjoyed the drive of this much was an M5.

    Everyone who has seen it has thought it looks absolutely fantastic. Most of these people are not previous Liberty owners, so are probably not as obsessed with the older models look.

    The extra space in the back is fantastic for the kids and it has as much if not more room than every other Wagon/SUV that we looked at.

    0-100 in 6.2 is not too shabby either!

  • John

    At least you guys got the better looking nose….The US version is pretty ugly. I will wait for the redux in 2 years and pray for your diesel.
    -John in CO

  • Adam

    Well…just took delivery of my new GT Liberty Wagon. Unlike the last series I think that the wagon looks better than the sedan, it does take a little getting used to. But OMG does it go like stink and handle, I test drove a Skoda v6 Superb, spongey and a bit soft, VW Passat R36, great drive but too expensive…Gave anything French a miss for obvious reasons and the rest of the Germans and Swede’s are too expensive for anything big enough (V70, 5 Series, E Class) or with a decent engine. Therefore in a wagon there is not much to get near the GT Liberty.

  • Alex

    Bought the bog standard 2.5i cvt Liberty sedan back in January. My first Suby having owned many cars including Mercedes. All round a great car and the AWD is awesome on the country roads I use frequently. The CVT is a bit hard to get used to but it far more responsive than it seems at first. I take the point made by Darren back in Feb about selecting Drive from Reverse etc but it’s not big problem. Still getting used to the looks, back end is quite neat, front a bit too assertive. But I just love driving it – when I can get it away from my wife!

  • Garry Moloney

    I purchased a MY10 Subaru Liberty sedan premium sports in Brisbane some two months ago. Not the prettiest vehicle around but it has a presence. I am having problems with the bluetooth via the Macintosh audio system. The Nokia mobile E52 will contect to the system and make/receive calls but the sound is seriously broken up and unauditable. I have read about problems with certain phones not being able to be connected. Can anyone assist.

Subaru Liberty Specs

Car Details
Body Type
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
Engine Size
Max. Torque
226Nm @  4400rpm
Max. Power
127kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
Bore & Stroke
Compression Ratio
Valve Gear
Drivetrain Specifications
Drive Type
Final Drive Ratio
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
9.3L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Ground Clearance
Towing Capacity
Brake:1500  Unbrake:710
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
Turning Circle
Front Rim Size
Rear Rim Size
Front Tyres
215/45 R17
Rear Tyres
215/45 R17
Wheel Base
Front Track
Rear Track
Front Brakes
Rear Brakes
Standard Features
Automatic Air Con / Climate Control, Power front seat Driver
Control & Handling
17 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Power Steering, Trip Computer
CD with 6 CD Stacker, Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors
Leather Upholstery, Power Windows
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags, Seatbelts - Pre-tensioners Front Seats, Side Front Air Bags
Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Service Interval
6 months /  12.5,000 kms
36 months /  999,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
Country of Origin