Subaru Liberty 3.6R review: Ready come hail, rain or shine
A 25 per cent price drop makes this Liberty an even more compelling family sedan
- Comfortable, well equipped interior
- Competitive price
- All wheel drive
- 3.6R variant has a well designed infotainment system
- Doesn't accelerate as quick as rivals
- Less economical than turbocharged 4-cylinder rivals
Price$ 41,990.00 (AUD)
It was during the annual ANZAC Day rugby match. My Liberty 3.6R, on loan for the week from Subaru, sat idle in a car park, while I was left stranded blocks over in an old pub.
Half way through the televised match the pub turned to uproar and it had nothing to do with six points. The roof of the near-ancient building had begun to give way, water falling through the boards from the level above, casting a pool from the bar to all three doors.
Outside, Parramatta Road had begun flooding in sections, while other parts disappeared under a white coat of what amounted to snow. Such was the intensity of the hail storm.
An hour passed. The game ended. It was time to brave the weather and drive, responsibly, my family home. Few other cars would've been better suited to the occasion.
Inside, the Liberty is comfortable, solid and well equipped. Split climate control and heated seats warmed the leather interior nicely. The car is enormous, even by family sedan standards, and although its size bothers on tight bends, it provided welcome relief on the drowned roads on the way home.
Under the long hood is a 6-cylinder boxer engine. The horizontally opposed pistons mount deeper in the engine bay for a lower centre of gravity. The 191-kilowatt engine delivers power to all four wheels. If one wheel loses traction, three others are there to propel the car forward.
And on this particular day, the all wheel drivetrain earned its asking price.
The windscreen wipers and front lights were set to automatic and proved attuned to the weather. The driving aids we found annoying during sunshine began to make more sense in these conditions, even though we enjoyed them most when they were turned off.
Between the drive train, the build quality and its simple luxuries, the Liberty made us feel safe. We quite enjoyed the drive home and decided to go a little further to have some dinner.
Heavy rain carried over to the next day when the Liberty was scheduled to endure more punishment. On the calendar was a road trip to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, where the tight bends of the narrow roads would test the Liberty’s acceleration and agility, and the scenery would provide footage for a couple of action cameras being readied for review.
An hour into the drive and I was sold on the car’s infotainment system. Subaru has a knack for making complex technology simple. The large dash looks borderline barron and it’s all for the better. The Liberty offers all of the typical options without inundating driver’s with them. The result is an interior styled to keep the focus on nothing other than the drive.
The car’s engine is as civilised as its interior. It hums along, lazily at low revs, as it consistently builds up to speed. Accelerating from a standstill to 100km/h takes 7.2 seconds and maximum torque is reached at 4400rpm. Managing the power is an automatic CVT gearbox. It has a manual mode with paddles mounted to the steering wheel, but latent gear changes fail to make the Liberty’s drive sporty.
On the national park’s roads, which twist and turn like strands of spaghetti, the Liberty displayed poise. Its large body is always noticeable as the length of the wheelbase causes it to miss a corner’s apex, though the tenacity of the all wheel drive train kept it firmly planted. The rain had turned a trickling stream into an overflow of water, but it failed to phase this Subaru.
Two weeks earlier we found ourselves cackling on these roads behind the wheel of a VW Scirocco R. The Liberty has no business hooning. It serves the higher purposes of civility, comfort and safety.
The rain eased on the drive home. Our day traversing winding roads had consumed a hearty 13.5 litres of petrol for every hundred kilometres. We pulled over to refuel and on return to the car, we stopped and considered its place in the Australian market.
The Liberty is the beneficiary of a steep price drop following the Japanese Free Trade Agreement. The range-topping 3.6R is 25 per cent cheaper at $41,990, though the introductory 2.5i starts from $29,990. To think a car as familial in character as the Liberty could be so aggressive on price.
• 3.6-litre, 6-cylinder horizontally-opposed Boxer petrol engine
• Maximum torque - 350Nm@4400rpm
• Lineartronic CVT with manual mode
Fuel consumption per 100 kilometres
• 9.9L quoted
• 13.5L achieved
• All wheel drive
• 1645kg kerb weight
• 2.5i from $29,990
• 2.5i Premium from 35,490
• 3.6R from $41,990
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Ring Video Doorbell review
- 2 Sony Bravia 2017 TVs: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- 5 Tag Heuer Connected Smartwatch and Android Wear 2 review
Latest News Articles
- The 'Amazon effect' will drive autonomous vehicles, Nvidia CEO says
- Sony's clever image sensor helps autonomous cars see better
- Baidu to share autonomous vehicle technology
- Tesla to begin taking orders for its solar roof shingles
- Ford hires 400 mobile connectivity engineers
PCW Evaluation Team
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.
The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.
Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
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.
- Sony's latest Ultra HD OLED debuts in Australia
- Panasonic Ultra HD OLED TV Review
- GAMOSPHERE: Your August Roundup of Gaming News
- 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
- FTInside Sales SMSF SolutionsOther
- FTSenior System Analyst with strong XML expOther
- FTSenior Business Analyst – Office 365 ProjectOther
- FTWorkforce AnalystOther
- FTNetwork ArchitectOther
- FTSoftware EngineerSA
- FTLotus Notes Developer X 3Other
- FTSystems Programmer, InsuranceOther
- TPSAP Functional Consultant - Plant MaintenanceQLD
- FTSenior Java DeveloperVIC
- FTProject Support/Personal Assistant | 6mth ContractOther
- CCSenior .Net DeveloperNSW
- TPService Desk AnalystVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst - SAP HROther
- TPDomain ArchitectACT
- CCNetwork Design EngineerNSW
- FTSenior Business Analyst, CX Journey Improvement, TelcoNSW
- CCDesktop Support EngineerNSW
- FTGraph DB Specialist | 6mth ContractOther
- FTSenior Systems Administrator - Azure and Office 365Other
- CCNetwork Security EngineerNSW
- CCSenior Project CoordinatorNSW
- FTMajor Incident ManagerVIC
- FTBusiness Project Manager - TelcoVIC
- FTTechnical Business AnalystOther