The sixth-generation 2015 Subaru Liberty sedan due to launch in Australian showrooms during January will be the first model to get the car maker’s EyeSight driver assist technology suite as standard.
This means that every version of Subaru’s mid-sized Passat and Mazda 6 rival will come standard with Pre-Collision Braking (auto low-speed braking), a new Pre-Collision Steering Assist (auto low-speed obstacle avoidance) system and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Subaru says the latest version of EyeSight adds brake light recognition and an approximately 40 per cent improvement in distance and wide angle range. As before, the system uses stereo cameras mounted behind the rear-view mirror, rather than sensors mounted in the grille or bumper.
The Liberty’s system also gets updated 3D image processing to better recognise lateral and distant vehicles, better stabilising control in all speed zones and improved pedestrian-recognition abilities. A re-positioned camera closer to the windscreen is also less intrusive than the bulky old unit.
EyeSight has long been an optional extra for the company. In fact, Australia was the first market to get it outside of Japan when it arrived during 2011. Subaru has progressively rolled the technology out across other models over the ensuing time.
Up until now, Subaru has offered it in flagship versions of the Liberty, Outback and Forester. Now that the technology is poised to trickle down to other variants, don’t be surprised to see it feature on all Subarus within a few years.
At the same time as the Liberty media launch in December, Subaru Australia will also stage the local premiere for the Outback crossover, which will serve as the replacement for the axed Liberty wagon.
Subaru Australia corporate affairs manager David Rowley would not confirm that EyeSight would also be standard on that car like its Liberty sibling, but it would be strange if it wasn't. We'll find out soon either way.
Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior, meanwhile, said the decision to add EyeSight as standard was part of the company’s “elevated focus” on safety. It is company policy that all Subarus get a five-star ANCAP rating.
“EyeSight driver assist takes our safety commitment even further, potentially preventing collisions or reducing the severity,” he said.
“One of the nicest parts of my role are the emails, calls and letters from customers expressing gratitude for the great Subaru engineering that has saved them in dangerous situations and EyeSight has only increased that level of communication.
“Another hidden benefit of EyeSight is that, if a collision does occur, the position of the cameras helps avoid potentially costly damage to them. Some competing systems have sensors and equipment located right at the front of the car, including the grille, and this can be an expensive repair exercise.”
Interestingly, in Australia, EyeSight has attracted insurance premium reductions for vehicle owners from Allianz and IAG.
While safety is no doubt a key concern, one would suggest Subaru has been looking at all manner of ways to make the Liberty stand out, given Australia’s medium car segment is down 12.8 per cent this year as more and more buyers jump into compact SUVs instead.
Full details on the new Liberty will be released in December, so stay posted.