The Subaru Liberty: The Perfect Combination of Style and Performance

The Subaru Liberty arrived in Australia in first-generation form in the early 1990s. Sold under the Legacy name overseas, the Liberty is a mid-sized passenger car – previously offered in both sedan and wagon variations. It is now sold as a four-door sedan today. A wagon version continues to be available, although riding on raised suspension and re-badged as the Subaru Outback, it’s treated as a separate model these days. Late model Subaru Libertys are fitted with Subaru’s renowned Boxer engine and all-wheel drive platform, and have lasted six generations in Australia.

The Subaru Liberty: The Perfect Combination of Style and Performance
The Subaru Liberty: The Perfect Combination of Style and Performance

If you’re in the market for a stylish and reliable sedan, look no further than the Subaru Liberty. Known for its impressive performance, advanced safety features, and sleek design, the Liberty is a car that ticks all the boxes.

Prominent features?

The Subaru Liberty is a traditional yet luxurious sedan, renowned for its Boxer engine, 4-wheel disc brakes, and high reliability. Additionally, the car offers good balance handling, reasonable price with various equipment. The standard active safety system includes emergency braking that operates at urban and highway speeds.

What might disappoint you?

The Liberty denies requests for maintenance service every 6 months/12,500 km, as recommended. For many mid-range cars, repair and replacement can take twice as long between trips before going to the garage.

What types of Subaru sedans are there?

For sedans, there is only the option of a traditional 4-door type, without the choice of 2-door or sports. The Subaru Liberty is an all-wheel-drive vehicle. It is classified as a mid-range car, with a reasonable price for users to choose from.

See more: Toyota HiLux is Australia’s best-selling car in 2022 as Kia, MG, Mitsubishi and Tesla sales soar

What features does the Liberty have?

  • Sound system with touch screen, radio, CD player, compatible with MP3, WMA and iPod, with auxiliary ports and USB input. Apple CarPlay / Android Auto connection, Bluetooth for calling and streaming audio, especially with voice command system.
  • Steering wheel controls for audio system, Bluetooth, and cruise control.
  • Dual-zone climate control system, allowing you to set different temperatures for each side of the cabin.
  • Automatic headlights that turn on when it gets dark.
  • Automatic rain-sensing wipers that operate when it rains.
  • LED daytime running lights.
  • Front LED fog lights.
  • LED tail lights, rear lights, and stop lights.
  • Reverse camera.
  • Leather-wrapped gear shift knob and steering wheel.
  • 18-inch alloy wheels, lighter and more attractive than traditional steel wheels, with full-size spare tire.
  • Paint finish that looks like metal or pearl. Available in 9 colors at no extra cost.
  • Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) with Sport and Intelligent driving modes.
  • Subaru’s active safety system EyeSight, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and emergency braking that works at city and highway speeds. (For more information on EyeSight features, please see the Safety section below.)
  • Seven airbags. Electronic stability control, which can help you maintain traction and is a mandatory condition on new cars. (For the location of airbags and more on EyeSight, please see the Safety section below.) Every Subaru Liberty is backed by a 5-year unlimited kilometer warranty.


Which engine uses the least fuel and why shouldn’t I choose it?

The 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine in the Liberty 2.5i and 2.5i Premium consumes the least amount of fuel, averaging 7.3 liters per 100 kilometers in official testing (mixed driving conditions).

The main reason you might not choose this engine is because the 3.6-liter, 6-cylinder petrol engine in the Liberty 3.6R Premium provides nearly 50% more power in most driving conditions, although it consumes 9.9 liters per 100 kilometers in official testing.

Official figures show that one of the two Liberty 2.5 models will consume more fuel than many other mid-size sedans. However, real-world experience from reviewers like us suggests that the fuel consumption of the car is average for the mid-size car segment.

A Subaru 2.5i Premium consumes an average of 10.0 liters per 100 kilometers in real-world comparisons with 10 other mid-size sedans in Wheels magazine’s September 2016 issue, using about 5% more fuel than the Mazda6 and 10% more fuel than the Ford Mondeo and Kia Optima GT. (The most fuel-efficient car rated was the Volkswagen Passat 132TSI, which uses 7.9 liters per 100 kilometers.)

Most mid-size cars have higher speeds, but the Liberty 2.5 moves smoothly and does not exhibit too much power on highways.

On the other hand, the 3.6R is one of the faster and more responsive cars among popular mid-size cars.

Subaru’s boxer engine is different from conventional engines in that the pistons face each other horizontally and lie flat in the engine compartment instead of standing upright. This means that most of the weight of the engine is lowered to the floor of the car. (Engines like these are also described as boxers, because the horizontal motion of each pair of pistons resembles the punching motion of a boxer.)

With the unique feature of automatic stop-start, the 2.5-liter engine helps save fuel when driving in urban areas. The engine shuts off when you come to a stop and automatically restarts when you release your foot from the brake pedal to drive.

Every Subaru Liberty comes with a continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive.

subaru liberty inter 1

What are the main features if I upgrade?

Skipping the cheapest Liberty, the 2.5i, and opting for a 2.5i Premium will provide you with a smart key and push-button start, allowing you to unlock and start the car while the key is safely inside your bag or pocket.

The seats are upholstered in a combination of genuine and faux leather, not fabric. Both front seats are heated and power-adjustable. The driver’s seat has the ability to memorize your settings (so you can easily restore them after someone else has driven).

You also get a better entertainment system with a larger touch screen, 8.0 inches (increased from 7.0 inches), smartphone connectivity via Apple Carplay/Android Auto, and satellite navigation. It has an electric sunroof, LED headlights with high durability (instead of halogen bulbs).

The Premium version also provides additional active safety systems, including high beam assist, blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. (For more information on these, please see the Safety section below.)

Spending more for the 3.6R Premium will give you a more powerful 3.6-liter, 6-cylinder engine, with all the features of the 2.5i Premium version and a Harman Kardon sound system with 12 speakers. You also receive exterior changes, such as additional chrome accents on the trunk, door handles, and dual exhaust pipes.

Are there any drawbacks to the upgrade?

No, except for the higher fuel consumption of the 3.6R compared to the Liberty 2.5. And it will be even higher when driving in city because 2.5 engine has an automatic start system helps save fuel when driving in urban areas.

How comfortable is Liberty?

The comfort and lumbar support of the seats in the excellent both in fabric and leather upholstery as they are well finished.

The ergonomic relationship between the driver’s seat, steering wheel, pedals, and auxiliary controls is excellent.

Driving the Liberty is quite comfortable on well-paved roads, and the car also handles well on larger surfaces. However, it does not perform well on common rough rural roads and urban arterial roads

However, Liberty has a good soundproofing system to reduce noise from the suspension system as well as most of the tire and wind noise. The 2.5-liter Liberty responds quickly with just a light touch of the accelerator pedal and handles well for normal city driving. Although it performs well on highways, the four-cylinder engine feels underpowered when climbing long hills. If you have experience driving a similarly sized vehicle with a turbocharged gasoline or turbo-diesel engine, you may feel a lack of power in these situations when driving the Liberty 2.5.

What about safety in a Subaru Liberty?

The Subaru Liberty stands out with high active safety levels in all versions through the EyeSight system, as well as standard rearview camera, seven airbags, and electronic stability control. It has direct front airbags for the driver and front passenger; an outer side airbag for each front seat occupant to protect the upper body; a curtain airbag that extends down each side of the vehicle to protect the heads of the front and rear seat occupants; and a knee airbag for the driver.

EyeSight provides an emergency braking system. A computer monitors images from two cameras mounted above the windshield. If it detects an obstacle – typically another vehicle suddenly slowing down – it will alert you and if you don’t react quickly, it will brake for you. The system operates at all speeds below 145km/h, although (as with any similar system) how much it can slow down depends on the speed and conditions of the vehicle. EyeSight also alerts you if you’re drifting out of your lane (a sign of fatigue). The departure warning of the vehicle will let you know that the vehicle ahead has started moving at congested areas or toll booths. Adaptive cruise control maintains a safe distance with the vehicles ahead on highways. Linked with EyeSight, it detects brake lights and vehicles from a greater distance and wider angle, enhancing safety on multi-lane roads or when vehicles cut across lanes. The 2.5i Premium and 3.6R Premium models add this high beam assist feature (automatically dims headlights for oncoming vehicles), a blind spot monitor (alerts you when changing lanes if a vehicle is in your blind spot), and lane change assist (warns when a fast-moving vehicle is about to enter your blind spot in an adjacent lane). They also provide rear cross traffic alert, alert you when reversing if pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles are crossing behind you. The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) awarded the Subaru Liberty a five-star safety rating, the highest possible, in December 2014.

Will I enjoy driving this car?

The Subaru Liberty offers a combination of interesting features without being obtrusive for drivers who enjoy driving their own car. On slippery or wet roads, you will appreciate its all-wheel drive capability. You almost never experience wheel slip on the Liberty because you may have previously experienced a short period replacing front-wheel drive systems such as the discontinued Mazda6, Toyota Camry, or Kia Optima (before electronic stability control was introduced). Besides providing a confident road-holding feel to the Liberty, the AWD system, by distributing power to all four wheels, provides balance and comfort to the vehicle. The front and rear tires resist slipping or skidding with each other because they are linked together.

The horizontal layout of the boxer engine lowers the weight of the Liberty, allowing for smoother cornering and better handling. The benefits of the boxer engine are more apparent in the 2.5i versions as the four-cylinder engine is shorter and lighter than the six-cylinder engine, resulting in a rearward shift of its center of gravity.

However, despite its good balance and maneuverability, the driving experience is somewhat uncomfortable. The Liberty’s steering is not heavy, making it easy and safe to drive, but it lacks the thrill for those who enjoy a more powerful sensation.

The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine of the Liberty is slower compared to many other mid-sized models with smaller four-cylinder engines and turbochargers. This sluggishness suits the non-responsive steering system and the relatively slow response of the CVT transmission for manual shifting.

The 3.6R Liberty addresses the lack of power in 2.5 seconds. It has a sweet and powerful engine sound that allows for more enjoyment, within the limitations of the steering system and CVT.

How is the rear seat space?

The rear of the Subaru Liberty has comfortable seating positions and ample legroom.

The rear passengers have separate air conditioning vents, as well as a center armrest with dual cup holders, padded exterior armrests, and storage compartments for bottles on each door.

There are also attachments for Isofix child seats in the outer rear positions.

Is there space for luggage?

The Subaru Liberty’s trunk has a capacity of 493 liters, which is equivalent to most mid-sized cars – even though the Liberty comes with a large spare wheel (located under the false floor in the trunk).

The absence of internal trunk hinges is a plus, meaning you won’t accidentally crush your luggage when closing the Liberty’s trunk.

The seats can be folded 40-60, providing the ability to carry larger or longer items when not needing the rear seats. The 40% rear seat backrest tilt allows you to transport very long items along the length of the car.

Where is the Subaru Liberty manufactured?

The Subaru Liberty is manufactured in Japan.

What can I be impressed by with similar cars?

Better fuel efficiency – and usually more power – from small turbocharged petrol engines or turbo-diesel engines. The Mazda 6, Volkswagen Passat, and Skoda Octavia offer fuel-efficient turbo petrols, for example, Toyota Camry hybrid.

Perhaps an SUV version. You would have to buy the Outback (a mix between a regular wagon and an SUV) if you want a rear door in a mid-sized Subaru. The Outback is based on the Liberty, but with raised air suspension and a slight off-roading tilt. The Subaru Levorg is an option if you want something sportier.


One of the standout features of the Subaru Liberty is its exceptional performance. With a range of powerful engine options to choose from, including a turbocharged variant, this sedan offers an exhilarating driving experience. Whether you’re navigating city streets or cruising on the highway, the Liberty delivers smooth acceleration and responsive handling.


Subaru takes safety seriously, and the Liberty is a testament to that commitment. Equipped with innovative safety technologies such as EyeSight® Driver Assist, the Liberty provides an extra layer of protection on the road. Features like pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning help to prevent accidents and keep you and your passengers safe.


With its sleek and sophisticated design, the Subaru Liberty stands out from the crowd. From its distinctive grille to its stylish body lines, this sedan exudes elegance and refinement. Inside the cabin, you’ll find a spacious and comfortable interior that’s designed with both driver and passenger comfort in mind. High-quality materials and thoughtful touches add to the overall premium feel of the Liberty.


The Subaru Liberty is equipped with an array of advanced technology features that enhance your driving experience. From the intuitive infotainment system to the available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ compatibility, staying connected on the go has never been easier. Additionally, features like keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, and a premium sound system add convenience and enjoyment to every journey.

Final Thoughts

the Subaru Liberty is a sedan that truly has it all. With its exceptional performance, advanced safety features, stylish design, and cutting-edge technology, it’s no wonder that this car has gained a loyal following. Whether you’re a daily commuter or an adventure enthusiast, the Subaru Liberty is a vehicle that will exceed your expectations.

So why wait? Visit your nearest Subaru dealership today and experience the thrill of driving a Subaru Liberty for yourself!

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