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Car reviews - Subaru - Liberty - sedan/wagon range


The fifth generation all-wheel-drive Subaru Liberty has grown in every dimension

9 Sep 2009

SUBARU openly admits that its designers looked at appeasing American tastes with its bigger and brasher Mk5 Liberty range. Significantly roomier and more refined than before, the 20-year-old series introduces a number of new features including a CVT transmission for class-leading economy and low emissions. Some of the old Subaru characteristics have been exorcised from the latest Liberty, but there is still plenty to savour in the latest version, particularly if safety, security and dynamicism rate high on your list of priorities.
Model release date: 1 September 2009 to 1 December 2014

Previous model

Subaru Mk4 Liberty

Released: September 2003
Ended: August 2009
Family Tree: Liberty

SUBARU served up more of the previous Liberty’s award-winning formula with the fourth-generation sedan and wagon, splicing delicate Euro-like styling and interior presentation with the brand’s unique all-wheel drive and horizontally opposed engine philosophy. A myriad of models were introduced, powered by a variety of engine options. The base 2.0i featured a 101kW/187Nm 2.0-litre single-cam four-cylinder unit matched to either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual, until a facelift from early ’06 upped the power to 121kW thanks to a twin-cam head for the newly created 2.0R model. This survived until mid 2007. The gutsier 121kW/226Nm 2.5i always proved more popular since the series launch, and so become the entry-level Liberty after ’07. More power and refinement underpinned the 180kW/297Nm 3.0R, driving all wheels via a five-speed auto gearbox – except for the rare 3.0R-B six-speed manual rocketships. But the real performance lay in the 180kW/310Nm 2.0-litre turbo Liberty GT sedan and wagon, which arrived from ’03 with a five-speed auto but then was joined by six-speed manual versions with different outputs (190kW/330Nm) until the 184kW/339Nm 2.5-litre turbo GT replaced both in August ’07. The zenith of the Mk4 GT was the limited edition GT STI, with its 190kW/343Nm 2.0-litre turbo (five-speed auto) or 200kW six-speed manual alternative – in sedan and wagon guises.

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