Subaru Liberty 3.6R 2016 review
If Clark Kent was a car he'd be this
- Drives brilliantly
- Sticks to the road
- A bit thirsty
- Hard suspension for some people
A Clark Kent of a car – inconspicuous, dull-looking but super-performance underneath.
Price$ 47,600.00 (AUD)
I love Subarus but I look at them knowing that the beauty lies underneath. This looks like a completely inconspicuous executive saloon. But underneath is a rally car.
What the kids said
Ms. 3 said, “I like gold car!”
“Why do you like it?”
While one can admire the youthful optimism, she was far more gushing about every other car we tested. Especially the Ford Mustang and Lexus LX 570.
What the ladies said
“Ugly. It would suit a boring uncle.”
“It’s very blokey.”
“Very ugly car.”
“It’s not what I would call attractive.”
“Is it good looking? Not at all.”
We never once got called a wanker in this car. I don't think anyone even noticed us.
3.6l 6-cylinder, 256-horsepower (191kW)
What’s it like to drive
Just ambling round town in automatic is pleasant enough. There are three easily-accessible engine modes which are cleverly denoted by acceleration profile graphs: an economical low gradient, a fast rising maximum performance go-fast mode and and intermediate one.
Stamping on the loud pedal will always surge you forward after a minimal delay (which is affected by the performance curves) but it’s in manual where this thing shines. The flappy paddles feel sturdy and while they don’t offer the instant gear-change response of a top racer, they’re fast enough and pretty smooth.
In manual, this thing is incredibly quick off the mark and even quicker when overtaking. But while we’ve seen this before in the likes of the Ford Mustang, the grip on offer here is sublime. We threw this around some empty, bumpy country roads with tight corners and hairpins and never once heard the tyres squeak. I’m sure other drivers will find traction/speed limits on this car on the open road (rather than a race track) but I hope not.
It’s worth mentioning the ride, though. It’s not the softest suspension we’ve seen. You do feel the bumps and any moderate pothole, speed bump or lump in the road hit at speed – you’ll know about it. The low clearance and suspension means that despite the Subaru rally heritage, it’s not great for unsealed roads, even though it will clear them fast. But what an absolute joy to drive on the sealed roads.
Of course when you don’t want to be throwing it all over the place, the car drives very well in near-autopilot mode. By setting the speed and matching the distance to the car in front, long journeys become supremely effortless as the car automatically slows and accelerates according to what traffic is doing. This worked better than in other cars which often leave big gaps when traffic speeds up. Our only issue was pulling away from a near-standstill took too long and we’d have to intervene and depress the accelerator once more and set everything up again – but that only takes a few button presses.
The touch-screen console which primarily deals with sat-nav and media is responsive and easy to use. Shortcut buttons are also available on the steering wheel so you can control the system or your phone from there. There’s no DAB (digital) radio, but a Pandora music app is included. The sat-nav almost worked quite well, up until it took us on a five-minute detour to find a roundabout in order to make a simple U-turn after failing to adequately inform us about a quick sequence of turns. It knew about traffic without connecting to our phone too.
It will ping when leaving the lane but we found this feature quite haphazard. If it thinks you’re at risk of crashing it will light up and warn you. The reversing camera worked well but the rear and side sensors seemed to go off randomly on occasions when parking or leaving a parking space. There aren't any front sensors.
What's disappointing is the parking brake which has been emasculated down to a crappy plastic switch. While it can stop you at speed, it doesn't work great if, for example, you're parallel parking on a hill and don't expect to roll backwards with the car in Drive and the brake on - but you do.
What it’s like to be in
The leather cabin is very comfortable and there’s lots of headroom even for tall people. The steering wheel has a lot of movement adjustability and so everyone should be able to see the main dashboard. It’s quiet inside except for when you have the decent Harmon Kardon speakers pounding away. Visibility all round is good and all of the important buttons are easily accessible.
We used the low and high-performance profiles extensively but you’ll basically be getting around 12l/100KM out of this thing. Stated figures are 9.9l/100KM. The 2.5l engine has stop/start technology and is stated as being at 7.3l. Our 3.6R model isn’t the most economical car for sure, but for a quick quasi-racer, that’s not bad.
3.6R (our review model) $47,600, 2.5i Premium ($41,000), 2.5i ($34,600)
Would you buy it instead of a 10-year-old, $10,000 Subaru Forester?
No. The suspension is too hard and the clearance is too low. The old Forester is comfier. But If I didn't care about fuel costs and ate up a lot of road and lived somewhere that nice cars attracted abuse, I'd seriously consider it.
A Clark Kent of a car – inconspicuous, dull-looking but super-performance underneath.
- Review: Tudia Klip seeks to prolong the life of iPhone and iPad charging cables
- It’s not technology, but humans that may not be ready for self-driving cars
- Tesla: Autopilot was operating as designed in fatal crash
- US probes Tesla on autopilot system failures after fatal crash
- Honda's new motor for hybrid cars is a very big deal
- Fiat Chrysler launches bug bounty program for connected vehicles
- Tesla admits Autopilot was on during latest Model X accident
- Ford commits to Apple CarPlay, offering it with SYNC 3 for all 2017 vehicles
- Tesla ratchets up fully autonomous cars; watchdog group wants tighter safety regs
- Nissan, Renault tout plans to make 10 autonomous vehicles by 2020
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Huawei Mate 9
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 2 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
- 3 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 4 Garmin Fenix Chronos fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 5 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
Latest News Articles
- Lessons from SXSW: Life without Uber is mostly fine
- US Army shows off its 'hoverbike' delivery drone
- Intel buys Mobileye for $15 billion to challenge Nvidia for the future of self-driving cars
- First full-scale Hyperloop system is almost ready for takeoff
- Intel showed how 5G networking will power VR and self-driving cars
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Financial MarketsVIC
- FTProject Manager - Financial Forecasting SystemsNSW
- FTDesign Specialist - TelecomNSW
- FTField Hardware Deployment EngineerNSW
- CCWeb Data Entry PublisherACT
- FTProject Manager (Business Applications)NSW
- FTAGILE Implementation Manager ContractNSW
- FTSnr Salesforce Technical Consultant/Architect Global IT Company - SydneyNSW
- CCAutomation Test AnalystQLD
- FTSAS DeveloperNSW
- CCPerformance AnalystQLD
- FTTest SpecialistSA
- CCSenior Developer - Java - TelcoVIC
- FTIncident and Problem ManagerVIC
- FTSenior AGILE Business AnalystNSW
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- FTMid Level PHP DeveloperNSW
- FTSolution Architect l MS Exchange, O365NSW
- TPBusiness Analyst | HealthQLD
- CCBig Data Developer - Government - 12 Month Contract - SydneyNSW
- FTNetwork Services ManagerQLD
- TPBusiness Project Manager - DigitalNSW
- CCAutomation Developer - LinuxNSW
- FTMicrosoft Designer / ArchitectVIC