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Driven: Early update for Subaru Outback, Liberty

Stature of Liberty: For the 2015 model, all Liberty variants got the company’s EyeSight safety system, but an early update has added Vision Assist as well.

Subaru adds EyeSight safety tech to all auto Outbacks, Liberty gets Vision Assist

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Subaru logo25 Feb 2016

By DANIEL GARDNER

ONE year after the all-new Outback and Liberty twins arrived, Subaru Australia has introduced an early update that brings extra safety equipment to all but the manual diesel Outback, and a local suspension tune for the Liberty.

Previously, only higher-specification Outbacks got the advanced stereoscopic camera technology, but in response to customer demand, the Japanese car-maker is offering the EyeSight system on all Outback variant except manual 2.0D.

The closely related Liberty has been equipped with the system in all three variants since launch, but to boost its safety stature in line with the Outback, the sedan range now has Vision Assist as standard on 2.5i Premium and flagship 3.6R.

For all but the entry 2.5i, the Liberty now has blind-spot monitoring, lane-change assistance, auto-dimming rearview mirror, headlight high-beam assistant and rear cross-traffic alert as standard.

With the EyeSight system, all equipped models have the added safety net of adaptive cruise control, autonomous braking and steering assistance for avoiding collisions, lane-departure warning and front vehicle alert, which prompts the driver if they have failed to notice the car ahead pulling away.

The Emergency Stop Signal (ESS) has been made standard on all Libertys, which flashes the hazard lights when the braking system detects an abrupt application of brakes.

In addition to the safety boost, the Liberty has also benefitted from chassis tuning from the Subaru Australia engineering team, which has fettled the suspension for a more compliant ride on Australia’s unique terrain, without compromising dynamic qualities.

The development team formulated a unique combination of damper and spring settings, which has “improved roll, pitch, dive and float control” for a flatter feel through corners and faster settling of the suspension over rougher surfaces.

Noise, vibration and harshness has also improved with the local work says Subaru, resulting in a more comfortable cabin for occupants whether tackling tougher terrain or faster road routes.

With the extra equipment, pricing for all but the entry-level variants has risen by between $500 and $1500.

Kicking off the Outback range is the 2.5i that is furnished with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) for an unchanged $35,990 before on-road costs, but its more handsomely equipped Premium equivalent now costs $500 more at $41,990.

All four diesel Outbacks have increased by either $1000 or $1500, with standard 2.0D manual and auto up $1000 to $36,490 and $38,490 respectively, while the higher-spec Premium equivalents are up by $1500 to $42,990 and $44,990.

At the top of the pack, the Outback 3.6R is now $500 more expensive at $48,490.

In the Liberty stable the top two 2.5i Premium and 3.6R variants now cost $500 more priced from $35,990 and $42,490 respectively, while the base 2.5i is still $29,990 before on-roads.

All other equipment and performance figures are unchanged with the 2016 Liberty and Outback update.

The shared base 2.5-litre boxer four-cylinder engines produce 129kW and 235Nm of torque when under the bonnet of both models, sending power to all four wheels via Subaru’s trademark all-paw transmission. Fuel economy is rated at 7.3 litres per 100km for both Outback and Liberty.

The 3.6R flat-six engine is also the same in both cases, with 191kW and 350Nm, returning fuel consumption of 9.9L/100km in either model.

A third engine option is offered for the Outback with a 2.0-litre boxer four-cylinder diesel that produces 110kW and 350Nm, while returning the best economy of the range and 6.3L/100km as a CVT or 5.7L/100km 100km when paired with an optional six-speed manual gearbox.

All Outback and Liberty variants get seven airbags as standard including driver’s knee and curtain type, hill-hold assistance, reversing camera, seatbelt indicator for all five seats, ESC, ABS and EBD.

Standard comfort and convenience equipment includes 7.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, USB and MP3 compatibility, a six-speaker sound system, leather steering wheel, Multi-information display, 60:40 split folding rear seats and two-way adjustable steering column.

A wide range of upgraded equipment is offered across the two model ranges depending on the variant, including leather upholstery, navigation, keyless entry and start, sunroof, SI-Drive switchable driving modes, posh sound system, rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing headlights.

2016 Subaru pricing*
Outback
2.5i (a)$35,990
2.5i Premium (a)$41,990 (+$500)
2.0D$36,490 (+$1000)
2.0D (a)$38,490 (+$1000)
2.0D Premium$42,990 (+$1500)
2.0D Premium (a)$44,990 (+$1500)
3.6R (a)$48,490 (+$500)
Liberty
2.5i (a)$29,990
2.5i Premium (a)$35,990 (+$500)
3.6R (a)$42,490 (+$500)
*Excludes on-road costs

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