The standout improvement to the new Liberty line however is not its features, but its pricing.
For 2015, the all-new Liberty range, now available in sedan form only, is priced from $29,900 for the entry 2.5i model - a $3000 saving over the outgoing range.
That saving continues with the mid-range 2.5i, now $4000 more affordable. Most impressive, however, is pricing on the top-shelf 3.6R model, its $41,990 starting price representing a $14,000 saving.
Subaru Australia boss Nick Senior credited the improved pricing to movements in the currency exchange rate, the Free Trade Agreement with Japan, and pressure from European brands.
"Currency is always going to have the biggest impact on imported goods. It is clear that the Yen Australian dollar equation has moved into a more favourable range for us," he said.
“We have factored in the Free Trade Agreement, because we know it will be legislated in the near future. Therefore, it is prudent to act now."
“Also, the Europeans have moved into more mainstream segments and we too have changed strategy with Liberty in particular - making the price versus specification ratio more attractive than ever before."
Today's news of Liberty details and pricing follows a similar shake-up that came with yesterday's introduction of the new Outback SUV wagon, which now also replaces the Liberty wagon in Australia.
Two engines are on offer, a 2.5 litre four-cylinder and a 3.6 litre six, both arranged in Subaru’s signature flat configuration.
However gone is the turbocharged GT variant of the 2.5, and both engines are paired with CVT automatics. Unlike the just-launched Outback, a diesel won’t be offered either.
The 2.5 litre produces 129kW of power and 235Nm of torque, and changes made to the engine’s intake, exhaust, cylinder head and compression ratio yield a 7.6 percent efficiency gain compared to the last-gen Liberty.
Automatic engine start-stop is also standard, and as a result average fuel economy on the combined cycle drops to 7.3 l/100km.
The 3.6 litre flat six is also more efficient than before, though at 9.9 l/100km is still a thirsty unit. It’s substantially more powerful than the 2.5 though, with 191kW and 350Nm.
For both powertrains an active grille shutter cuts off airflow to the radiator when the engine is running cool, improving aerodynamic performance and reducing fuel consumption. at highway speeds
Both engines are backed up by CVT automatic gearboxes, with a six-speed manual mode accessible via a pair of steering wheel mounted shift paddles.
As with all Subarus bar the BRZ, drive is taken to all four wheels through an always-active AWD system, with a standard torque split of 60:40 front to rear.
As with the Impreza, Subaru has moved the base of the Liberty’s A-pillar further forward to create a greater sense of space, while relocating the wing mirror bases to the door to improve forward vision.
There’s also more room for front and rear occupants. The front seats are now 10mm further apart and offer more head, shoulder and elbow room, while the seat cushions themselves are more generously proportioned.
In the back, there’s 30mm more legroom and 10mm higher seat base to improve vision outside.
The boot is bigger than before too, offering 493 litres of seats-up capacity - 17 litres more than the previous-gen Liberty.
All models get dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, paddle shifters, dusk-sensing headlamps, rain-sensing wipers and 18-inch alloys as standard, along with Subaru’s EyeSight collision-avoidance system.
Stepping up to the mid-grade 2.5i Premium nets you power-adjustable heated front seats, leather upholstery, power-folding wing mirrors, satellite navigation, LED headlamps and keyless entry/ignition.
Spend a bit more for the range-topping 3.6R and you also get the more powerful flat six engine, along with a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, exterior chrome package and dual exhausts.
All Libertys now feature Subaru’s EyeSight active safety system, which uses a pair of stereoscopic cameras mounted behind the windshield to detect objects in front of the vehicle.
It combines the functions of radar cruise control, a collision warning and lane keep assist, greatly boosting safety.
Seven airbags are standard (front, front side, full-length curtain and driver’s knee), as is ABS, brake assist, traction control and stability control.
The Liberty is, along with the Outback, the highest-scoring Subaru tested by ANCAP with its score of 35.99 out of 37.
Pricing (excludes on-road costs)
- Liberty 2.5i CVT - $29,990 (down $3000 / 9.1 percent)
- Liberty 2.5i Premium CVT - $35,490 (down $4000 / 10.1 percent)
- Liberty 3.6R - $41,990 (down $14,000 / 25.0 percent)
- Outback 2.5i CVT - $35,990 (down $3000 / 7.7 percent)
- Outback 2.5i Premium CVT - $41,490 (down $2000 / 4.6 percent)
- Outback 2.0D manual - $35,490 (down $5000 / 12.3 percent)
- Outback 2.0D CVT - $37,490 (down $5500 / 12.8 percent
- Outback 2.0D Premium manual - $41,490 (down $2000 / 4.6 percent)
- Outback 2.0D Premium CVT - $43,490 (down $2500 / 5.4 percent)
- Outback 3.6R - $47,990 (down $10,000 / 17.2 percent)
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