With the advantage of the governments investment allowance I decided to upgrade my Turbo Subaru Liberty with a new Generation 5 Liberty (called the Subaru Legacy in other parts of the world) that Subaru has just released. The Generation 4 changed very little over the Generation 3 models but the Generation 5 introduces a significant changes both internally and externally. Of course whenever a manufacturer makes significant changes there are those who like the new styling and those that dont. Thankfully I am those that like the changes.
I first had my eye on the new Subaru Liberty 2.5 GT Premium but they were in very short supply so I was forced to test drive the Subaru Liberty 3.6R Premium Sedan which has a 3.6 litre boxer 6 cylinder engine. What surprised me was the performance of the 3.6 which is a 191kw compared against the 195kw of the turbo. If you consider that the 3.6 uses standard unleaded but the 2.5 GT has to be fed 98 RON fuel then the 4kw difference could easily be made up by using the higher performance fuel in the 6 cylinder.
Leaving Kilowatts aside the performance of the two cars is very different. Like all turbos the Liberty 2.5 GT Premium lives on engine revs and it also features Bilstein sports suspension. The whole car is built around a sport performance and provides an excellent bang for your buck.
The Liberty 3.6R Premium Sedan certainly has power but its delivered in a much more controlled and smoother fashion and the ride is more comfortable.
The short supply of the Liberty 2.5 GT Premium meant that actually obtaining one for my time frame was difficult let alone negotiating on one which proved to be near on impossible. The Liberty 3.6R Premium Sedan was much easier to obtain in the specification I wanted and negotiating on the price was far simpler.
From an RRP perspective the difference between the Liberty 2.5 GT Premium Manual and the Liberty 3.6R Premium Sedan which only comes in Automatic is only about $1,000 but in reality the different negotiated positions meant the real difference was closer to $5,000 and the difference between automatic models was closer to $6,500.
Because of the price difference and the fact I was so impressed with the test drive of the Liberty 3.6R Premium Sedan it was a very easy choice to go for the more family friendly option and move away from the Subaru turbo’s. If the price was on par the decision would have been harder but I still think I would have chosen the same model. I must admit that whilst I will miss the rawness of a turbo boxer engine I am very happy with my choice as is the rest of the family. Maybe I am just slowing down with age.
Other than the engine and suspension differences there is very little differences between the two cars. The GT has the sports front spoiler and black carbon fibre inserts on the dash and doors whilst the 3.6R has the normal spoiler and timber look inserts.
The Subaru All Wheel drive system is again just beautiful to drive. It feels sure footed no matter the road or weather conditions. I have been driving a Subaru AWD for that long I find I have to watch myself whenever I am driving a non-Subaru car as its a lot easier to come unstuck. The latest Gen 5 cars have a stack of new safety features and technologies but you for the most part you only get to test those out when things go wrong.
Subaru also delivers in the bells and whistles department with a range of new features including keyless entry, voice control, 8 inch lcd screen for navigation, reversing camera, audio and dvd playback and the amazing 10 speaker McIntosh stereo system. The cars also feature rain sensing wipers, dusk sensing headlights and push button electric park brake. The two features I have found the hardest to get use to is the keyless entry and electric park brake.
The keyless entry works by the key transmitting its location inside or immediately outside of the car. It enables you to walk up to the car and it will automatically unlock itself and you get in and push the button to start the car all with the key still in your pocket. In fact the key is more of a remote control than a traditional key. It’s unnerving walking up to the car and opening it up without unlocking it. You start wondering if you ever locked the car in the first place.
The push button electric park brake is another weird thing that takes some getting use to. Ever since I first started to drive the park brake was a mechanical handle you had to pull on. To now just push a button to apply the park brake feels very weird and is taking some getting use to. You can take the park brake off manually but with the smarts in the car you don’t have to. If you have your seatbelt on you can just drive away and the park brake will be released automatically.
Just a few days before I took delivery the Subaru Liberty 3.6R Premium Sedan won the Best Prestige Car in the Australia’s Best Car’s Awards which is the car awards for the Australian Automobile Association on behalf of all Australian Motoring Clubs including RACQ, RACV, NRMA, RAA, RAC, RACT and AANT.
The new Subaru Liberty improves on what they already did well and throws in a range of new technologies. It handles like a dream and is as sure footed as ever.
If your looking for a new mid sized car I would strongly suggest you test drive the new Generation 5 Subaru Liberty range. Some of the lower models don’t have all the features as the premium models but they all feature boxer engines, all wheel drive and 5 star ANCAP safety ratings.
Subaru will have to really stuff up future models or one of their competition will have to create something special for me to move away from their range.