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.
[Related: Subaru XV 2017 review]
Join the newsletter!
Apple iPhone X
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
cloudandco Smart Cane
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
Toys for Boys
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Bose SoundLink Micro
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Xbox One X
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Hisense takes the fight to home entertainment heavyweights with flagship Series 8 and 9 ULED TVs
- 2 Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- 3 Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- 4 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
- 5 Oppo A77 smartphone: Full in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Microsoft takes $550 off the Alienware 15 gaming laptop as time runs out on PC deals
- How to automatically mute a website within Google Chrome, forever
- Amazon's Echo Show has dropped in price by $80
- FCC votes to kill net neutrality in an unsurprising move. What happens now?
- Microsoft knocks $550 off the fantastic Dell XPS 13 as last-minute PC deals get crazier
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- LG V30+ review: The videographer's smartphone arrives
- Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- Xbox One X review: Brave new world
- 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
- CCDevOps EngineerQLD
- CCFront-End DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior MySQL Database Administrator - SydneyVIC
- FTInfra Deployment Lead/- Windows 10 SOE rollout projectOther
- CCMicrosoft Dynamics AX ? Technical ArchitectQLD
- CCTransition Manger - Infrastructure ServicesVIC
- FTServiceNow Solution SpecialistOther
- CCSenior Data AnalystNSW
- FTOrganisational Change Analyst -Contract - $650 per dayOther
- CCProject OfficerVIC
- TPProject Manager - HR21 RolloutQLD
- FTUI/UX DesignerOther
- CCWeb Applications Project ManagerQLD
- FTBusiness AnalystOther
- TPSecurity Design OfficerNSW
- TPProject Manager - Credit CardsNSW
- CCAS400 Analyst ProgrammerNSW
- FTData ScientistACT
- TPData ScientistACT
- FTSenior Test AnalystACT
- FTJava DeveloperOther
- FTAutomation TesterOther
- FTNetwork ArchitectACT
- FTDevOps EngineerNSW
- FT.Net Technical / Team LeadOther