Subaru’s official images confirm the authenticity of leaked pictures of the new Liberty obtained by CarAdvice earlier this week.
The sixth version of the Subaru Liberty since the mid-sizer debuted in 1989 is due here in early 2015 and adopts Subaru’s new design language that is primarily showcased by the combination of a hexagonal grille and ‘hawk eye’ headlights.
Styling is likely to split opinions again, especially as the Liberty follows the new WRX in opting for a conservative appearance that contradicts a bold-looking preview concept.
The pictures suggest this is still a more dynamic shape than the slab-sided, US-centric approach of the current model.
There’s a more obvious wedge profile to the new Subaru Liberty that is 51mm longer, 20mm wider but 5mm lower – and the flanks are made more interesting visually by two character lines.
The bootlid now features an integrated lip spoiler and the reprofiled tail-lights feature LEDs.
Inside, the Liberty takes a slightly more evolutionary approach with design. The centre stack features a new infotainment touchscreen, which helps to reduce the number of buttons compared with the existing model.
A Harman/Kardon speaker system will be available, though it’s not clear whether the McIntosh audios of the current model have been completely axed.
Subaru says thinner door sash frames and revised roof frames have created more shoulder and elbow room for occupants, with extra space between driver and front passenger being used to enlarge the console bin and centre armrest.
Extra rear legroom comes into play despite no change to wheelbase (2750mm), though the current Liberty is already generous in this measurement.
A stiffened body and revisions to steering, brakes and the car’s underpinnings have aimed to improve both the Liberty’s handling ability and ride comfort.
Higher-spec models gain Stablex-Ride, which Subaru says combines revised damper valves and front strut cylinders to smooth the Liberty’s ride at both low and high speeds.
All-wheel drive is standard on all Subaru Liberty models again, of course, though active torque vectoring is a new feature available for the mid-sizer that will help push it around corners by prioritising torque distribution to the outside rear wheel.
New-for-Liberty active safety systems include blind spot monitoring, lane change assist that detects if a fast car is approaching the part of the road you’re turning towards, foglights that can automatically turn at night to better illuminate a corner, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert that warns the driver if objects are approaching when reversing out of a spot.
The company’s Eyesight driver assist system also gains enhanced stereo cameras that widen and increase the distance of the view by about 40 per cent to improve the response of the vehicle’s pre-crash braking system and adaptive cruise control.
Subaru has confirmed only two engines so far for the 2014 Liberty – the 2.5-litre four-cylinder and 3.6-litre six-cylinder ‘boxer’ engines that carry over from the current model.
The 3.6L joins the 2.5L in being mated to a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Outputs for the 2.5L rise marginally to 130kW (up 3kW) and 236Nm (up 1Nm), though Subaru says the engine’s mid-range torque is increased.
The 3.6L has the same power as before (190kW) but maximum torque actually drops from 350Nm to 335Nm – produced at the same 4400rpm.
No confirmation yet whether there will be another turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder.
The 2014 Subaru Liberty has been unveiled at the 2014 Chicago motor show, in a market where the model is known as the Legacy.