Australian pricing and specifications have been announced for the 2018 Subaru Liberty, which maintains its $30,240 starting price despite sharper looks and more technology.
From the outside, you’ll be able to distinguish the MY18 Liberty from current models by looking for the revised grille and bumper, new wing mirrors and fresh alloy wheel designs. Liberty 2.5i Premium and 3.6R cars gain new LED headlamps, while the whole range has a tweaked daytime running light signature.
Behind the wheel, the dashboard from the MY18 Outback makes an appearance in the Liberty. Top-spec (Premium) cars get a bigger 8.0-inch touchscreen, and the entire range benefits from black trim and stitching around the cabin. Oh, and Subaru says the new steering wheel has a “solid, sporty look” as well. Sure it does, Subaru.
The third-generation StarLink infotainment system now supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the graphics are tweaked to be easier to understand on the move. Premium cars include navigation, capable of automatically displaying an ETA for home and work.
Rear-seat passengers benefit from dual USB ports in the new car, making it easier for kids to stay charged on long trips.
All cars want for little, but jumping from 2.5i to 2.5i Premium gives you electric (heated) front seats, a sunroof, folding mirrors, keyless entry/go, leather trim and a surround-view monitor. You also get adaptive high-beam headlamps with a turning beam.
Cars with the 3.6R powertrain share their spec with Premium 2.5i vehicles, but gain a 12-speaker audio system and chrome trim on their side skirts. Not exactly huge differences.
Subaru has been proactive when it comes to active safety, offering EyeSight across its range. Now in its third generation, the system is standard across the Liberty line-up, and has been improved to offer lane-keeping assist, better pedestrian detection and avoidance, pre-collision braking assist and smarter adaptive cruise control.
The company credits a smarter CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) camera for the improvements, and says the camera has been moved closer to the windscreen.
Like the Outback, the new Liberty benefits from a raft of small chassis and powertrain tweaks for 2018. The shock absorbers are designed to curb body-roll, the electric power steering has been revised to feel more linear at speed and the brake pedal is now set up to respond more smoothly.
In 2.5-litre four-cylinder cars, the continuously-variable transmission (CVT) has been retuned with seven artificial ‘gears’. Perhaps more relevant to most owners are tweaks to stop the transmission ‘clunking’ when shifting from Neutral into Reverse or Drive. The engine itself is around three per cent more efficient than before, helped by small changes like new rear-differential oil.
It still makes the same 129kW of power and 235Nm of torque as before, while the 3.6-litre boxer six still produces 191kW and 350Nm for 2018.
All prices exclude on-road costs.
Click the photos tab for more pictures. The 3.6R is in grey, the 2.5i Premium in white.