Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The latest Liberty has grown in size (it’s taller, longer and wider) and now even safer - plus the added weight of the All Wheel Drive and yet the Liberty is still lighter than many of its key competitors!
Not so good We don't love the flat slab side profile or the thick wheel arches (which make the wheels look disproportionately smaller than the body). The frontal styling is too busy; however the rear design is more conservative. The Liberty now has conventional window frames so fans of Subaru’s frameless doors heritage should look away (with the change comes improved rigidity and a quieter cabin).
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The new larger body creates a significantly more spacious and comfortable interior; rear seat legroom has grown by almost 10cm (class-leading!), driving position is excellent and you've got supportive front seats. The rear doors open further than previous model's, improving ease of entry and exit PLUS a larger rear opening and increased cargo capacity over previous generation Liberty’s.
Not so good The large protruding centre console is more 'functional than aesthetic'. The quality of interior plastics still can’t match the best from Volkswagen or Audi.
Performance

Performance

Good There's a lovely choice of engines: the 2.5i variant offers above average performance compared to its showroom rivals; the Turbocharged GT Petrol boxer engine now has a wider torque range with more useable performance; the range-topping 3.6R’s engine is super smooth and more powerful than the superseded 3.0L.
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 (shame). At low revs the GT doesn’t feel terribly quick but to be fair this is a common trait for turbo petrol engines.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good The Liberty handles well; understeer is kept to a minimum and the chassis feels well balanced - plus being AWD on wet roads the Liberty has a distinct advantage over its competitors. The ride continues to improve over previous generations, bumps and road imperfections are now better filtered out; steering feels alert and alive. The 2.5i has an excellent compromise between ride & handling (however, it does ride 'firmer' than a number of rivals).
Not so good The 'rawness' of the Liberty GT has been filtered out by all these refinements (we think that's a shame - you may not!?) The 3.6R is more a "luxury cruise" than a "sports car" (but to be fair Subaru are probably delivering what the market wants?).
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good The stronger body combined with seven airbags (as standard on all grades) plus ESC contributes to a very high safety rating. Thanks to the CVT (continuously variable transmission) replacing the previous auto - the 2.5i is one of the most fuel efficient petrol engine medium family cars currently available.
Not so good You’ll have to accept styling more tailored to North American tastes than European.