Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The latest Liberty has grown in size (it’s longer, wider & taller) and now even safer! Fans of Subaru’s frameless doors heritage should look away as the Liberty now has conventional window frames (but, with the change comes improved rigidity and less road noise). Even with the added weight of the all-wheel drive the Liberty is still lighter than most of its key competitors.
Not so good The new shape is not a classic beauty - a flat slab side profile and extra-sized, thick wheel arches (and wheels that as a result can appear undersized to the body above). The frontal styling is rather busy; however the rear design is more conservative.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The larger body translates to a significantly more spacious and comfortable interior. The driving position is excellent, the front seats are supportive and the rear seat legroom is now almost class-leading (rear seat legroom has grown by almost 10cm). There's a decent sized boot and the rear doors open further than previous model improving ease of entry and exit.
Not so good The quality of interior plastics still can’t match the best from European brands such as Volkswagen or Audi; the large protruding centre console is functional but not a thing of beauty; the rear seats don’t fold down to create an extra large boot.
Performance

Performance

Good 2.5i variant offers above-average performance (compared to its showroom rivals). GT grade's turbocharged flat-four petrol boxer engine now has a wider maximum torque range for more useable (and exciting) performance. 3.6L R: super smooth, more powerful and torque-y than the previous 3.0L range-topping engine. Phew.
Not so good The big improvement in cabin insulation means that the unique sound of the boxer engine is no longer as evident at start up (hmmmm...a good or not so good thing? It's up to you!). The manual can be slow to change gears simply due to the distance the lever has to travel between gates. At low revs the GT doesn’t feel terribly quick (however, this is a common trait for turbo petrol engines).
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The Liberty stills handles well, understeer is kept to a minimum and the chassis feels well balanced; ride has improved over previous generations, bumps and road imperfections are now filtered out better and the steering feels alert and alive. 2.5i grade has an excellent compromise between ride and handling (however, it does ride firmer than a number of other Medium's). Thanks to the AWD, when the roads are wet the Liberty has a distinct advantage over its front and rear-wheel drive competitors.
Not so good With all the new refinements, the 'raw-ness' of the Liberty GT has been filtered out. The 3.6L R is more a Luxury Cruise than Sports Car but, to be fair, Subaru are simply delivering what the market wants (and the GT grade fills the sports car choice anyway).
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good 2.5i is one of the most fuel efficient petrol engine Medium family cars currently on sale thanks to the CVT auto (continuously variable transmission) replacing the previous auto. A stronger body combined with seven airbags as standard on all grades and ESP contribute to a high safety rating.
Not so good If you require a flexible interior we’d go for the wagon over the sedan (the sedan's seats don’t fold down).