Subaru's Liberty X.
Subaru's Liberty X.

Road test: Subaru Liberty X marks the spot for convenience

SWASHBUCKLING activities have been undertaken at Subaru Australia.

It seems "X" has marked the spot. First there was the "XV" SUV which has been an unprecedented success. Then we were introduced to "X-Mode" in the latest Forester for added off-road competence.

Now we have t he Liberty "X". It features an extra 50mm of ground clearance and an improved features list.

This new derivative provides easier entry and exit with an SUV-like ride height, making it more comfortable to load the kids, while also taking steep driveways in its stride.

With strong specification levels they don't sit in the bargain basement, with prices from $45,000 for the 2.5-litre and $56,000 for the 3.6-litre derivative.


Classy with an up-market feel, the X touches add some zest to the Liberty cabin.

The black colour scheme is broken up by a chrome strip which runs across the dash and into the doors.

Added extras include brushed gun-metal grey materials around the centre panel, console and steering switches. Soft-touch materials are used in the areas which matter most, with the use of hard plastics confined to the glovebox and at the base of the console.

The electronic park brake and SI-Drive (3.6-litre model) switches are also moved to the middle for easier access.

Both front seats offer good support and have electric adjustment, while those in the back should also have limited complaints. Head and leg room is reasonable, but as usual with all-wheel drives those who get the middle of the bench seat draw the short straw due to the transmission tunnel.

On the road

While no performance hero, the 2.5-litre boxer engine does the job willingly and without fuss.

Work it hard and you get the familiar continuously variable automatic transmission drone.

There are occasions when tackling steep hills or through winding rural stretches that you can make use of the paddle shifters on the steering wheel for more responsive acceleration results.

Steering is well weighted and the all-wheel drive aids quick directional changes.

What do you get?

The specification list is long, highlights include leather trim, reversing camera, sat nav, sunroof, smart key with push button start, power adjustment for front seats, sunroof, heated front seats, Bluetooth audio streaming and phone connection, along with 18-inch alloys.

X models also have the impressive EyeSight safety technology, which includes lane departure warning, radar cruise control and an automatic braking function which can avoid or lessen the impact of a crash.

EyeSight combines with your standard safety fare, such as stability control and anti-lock brakes, for a five-star crash rating.

Other options

No competitors can boast of the Liberty X's ride height, but key all-wheel drive competitors include the Suzuki Kizashi Sport ($39,990), Volkswagen Passat V6 ($55,990), while two-wheel competition includes the Toyota Camry Atara SL ($39,990), Mazda6 Touring ($40,350) and Ford's Mondeo EcoBoost ($37,740).

Running costs

Fuel consumption is good for a car of this size, around eight litres for every 100km.

Subaru has a good dealership network and an excellent track record for quality after sales service.


Storage options in the cabin include two bottle holders in the console and some handy areas for keys, phones, wallets or purses. The boot is wide and reasonably deep, although the opening is small and makes loading awkward items like prams difficult.

Funky factor

Styling is subdued and perhaps a little gawky from various angles. From the back the Liberty looks thin with the improved ride height, yet there are some nice creases in the bonnet along with pumped up wheel arches.

What matters most

The good stuff: Easy entry and exit, handy clearance on gravel roads, solid features list.

What we'd like to see: Cheaper variants, sportier styling.

Warranty and servicing: Three years, unlimited kilometre warranty. Initial lubrication service needed at 5000km or three months. Servicing at 12,500km or six months.

The lowdown

The Liberty X is an interesting proposition. The improved ride height would be welcomed by those who always groan when sliding into their sedan, or those who regularly travel on gravel roads, given it sits taller than some of the latest SUVs.

While there is impressive specification and great safety features, the $45,000 entry level price may be a stretch for many.

Yet the X offers high levels of comfort and convenience in a reliable package.



Model: Subaru Liberty 2.5X.

Details: Four-door all-wheel drive sedan.

Engine: 2.5-litre four-cylinder boxer petrol generating maximum power of 127kW @ 5600rpm and peak torque of 235Nm @ 4100rpm.

Transmission: Continuously variable automatic.

Consumption: 8.0 litres/ 100km (combined average).

CO2: 185g/km.

Bottom line: $44,490 plus on-roads.

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