Subaru's next Liberty midsized sedan has been spied this week for the first time, hinting at another new styling direction for the brand.
The new model will likely appear in the first half of 2014, keeping in step with Subaru's five-year product cycles. The current fifth-generation Liberty was launched in 2009 as a 2010 model.
The tester spied here is believed to be wearing its final production skin. Much of its look remains obscured, although it is clear the new model wears a similar roofline (with a stretched glasshouse silhouette) a longer rear deck and softened wheel arches.
New head- and tail-light designs can be seen beneath the camouflage, along with a more upright grille design. The side mirrors now sprout from the sheetmetal of the doors, rather than the A-pillar corners.
Engine options should again include a 2.5 litre four-cylinder petrol boxer - possibly an upgraded version of the current 127kW/235Nm mill.
The 195kW/350Nm turbocharged 2.5 litre boxer might again return, although we could instead see the Forester XT's 177kW/350Nm turbo 2.0 engine feature instead.
Six-speed manual and CVT automatic transmissions will likely feature, and all-wheel-drive should again be standard equipment.
A hybrid model is also believed to be in the works, and it is possible we could see the recent Viziv SUV concept's system make its production debut in the Liberty.
In concept form, the Viziv features a diesel-electric hybrid all-wheel-drive system, which sees the front wheels driven by both diesel and electric power, and the rear wheels driven by electric power alone.
Subaru describes the system as "independent rear motor-driven All-Wheel-Drive", with the rear motors increasing power when the steering wheel is turned, sending more torque to the outside wheel for improved cornering.
Subaru has confirmed plans to develop the new system for future production models, although it remains unclear which models will get the technology - and when.