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Subaru sharpens swansong Liberty, Outback

Safer: MY09 Liberty manuals get ESC, plus standard leather at base level.

Subaru goes all-five-star as MY09 Liberty and Outback manuals finally score ESC

23 Oct 2008

SUBARU has extended electronic stability control (ESC) as standard across its entire range following the release of upgraded 2009 Liberty and Outback models - around 12 months before redesigned versions arrive - and is now promoting every model in its line-up as a five-star crash safety performer.

Announced at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney, the move sees Subaru Australia also become the latest company to introduce a 2009 model range comprising higher prices, albeit only by up to $1000 on sporting GT variants – and this time accompanied by price cuts of up to $2000, on luxury Heritage versions.

As well as ESC for all grades, MY09 Liberty and Outback upgrades include leather upholstery (with a no-cost cloth trim option) and an auxiliary jack in the centre console as standard for all variants, plus satellite-navigation for selected premium versions.

Subaru says the addition of standard sat-nav on the Liberty 2.5i Premium, Liberty GT, Liberty GT spec.B, Liberty 3.0R Premium, Liberty 3.0R spec.B and Outback 3.0R Premium represents $3000 worth of extra value.

The standard fitment of the car-maker’s Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) system, with which 70 per cent of its range has been fitted for the past 12 months, to manual versions of Subaru’s mid-size Liberty and Outback twins mean all Subarus now receive a maximum five-star safety rating from the independent crash safety body Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

The potentially life-saving active safety technology became a prerequisite for achieving a five-star ranking from ANCAP this year, and now comes with 2009 model year iterations of the Liberty 2.5i manual, Liberty 2.5i Heritage manual, Liberty GT spec.B manual and automatic and manual Outback variants, reinstating their five-star status.

While the Liberty joins key medium-car rivals in Toyota’s top-selling Camry, the Mazda6, Honda’s Accord Euro and Ford’s Mondeo in offering standard ESC across the range, it also steps into a more rarefied group of mid-sizers that score a five-star safety rating (from Euro NCAP), including the Mondeo, Citroen’s new C5, the Peugeot 407, Renault Laguna, Volkswagen Passat and Saab 9-3.

The Liberty and its Outback crossover cousin, which is curiously dubbed a compact SUV like the Forester, first received five stars from ANCAP when fitted with an optional Safety Pack from 2004, before being joined by the all-new Tribeca in November 2006, and MkIII Impreza in October 2007 and the MkIII Forester in March this year.

2 center imageLeft: Subaru MY09 Outback.

On sale with the rest of the revised 2009 Subaru range now, the entry-level Liberty 2.5i sedan and wagon gains leather trim, power driver’s seat with dual memory and rear privacy glass.

Reflecting their newly-fitted VDC/ESC, manual versions rise by $500 to $32,330 sedan and $34,990 (wagon), while automatic versions remain at $34,990 and $36,990 respectively.

Similarly, the entry-level Outback 2.5i scores self-levelling rear suspension, leather upholstery, power driver’s seat with dual memory, rear privacy glass and VDC for the manual, which rises $500 to $36,990, while auto is unchanged at $38,990.

While the Outback 3.0R gains leather trim and the powered memory driver’s seat yet stays priced at $46,990, the top-shelf Outback 3.0R Premium auto wagon gains sat-nav and rises $500 to $54,790.

The Liberty 2.5i Heritage sedan and wagon gain a McIntosh premium sound system and manual versions fall by $1500 to $36,490 and $38,490 respectively despite the fitment of VDC, while auto versions fall as much as $2000, to $38,490 sedan and $40,490 wagon.

Both body styles of the auto-only Liberty 2.5i Premium fall by $10 despite featuring standard sat-nav, while the similarly-specified auto-only Liberty 3.0R Premium grades rise $500, as do all Liberty 3.0R spec.B and Liberty 2.5GT variants.

Flagship spec.B versions of the latter increase by $1000, culminating in the range-topping Liberty 2.5GT spec.B auto wagon at $58,990, all of which add standard sat-nav at a claimed $3000 of extra value.

“Liberty and Outback now represent even greater all-wheel drive value and are among the most comprehensively-equipped cars in their respective classes,” said Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior.

“Combined with excellent safety ratings, this makes them irresistible packages at a time when many buyers are turning to medium size cars, particularly those with impressive whole-of-life costs such as Liberty and Outback.”
Subaru Liberty/Outback range pricing:
Liberty 2.5i range:
2.5i sedan $32,990 +$500
2.5i sedan (a) $34,990 (no change)
2.5i wagon $34,990 +$500
2.5i wagon (a) $36,990 (no change)
Liberty 2.5i Heritage range:
2.5i Heritage sedan $36,490 -$1500
2.5i Heritage sedan (a) $38,490 -$2000
2.5i Heritage wagon $38,490 -$1500
2.5i Heritage wagon (a) $40,490 -$2000
Liberty 2.5i Premium range:
2.5i Premium sedan (a) $42,780 -$10
2.5i Premium wagon (a) $44,780 -$10
Liberty 3.0R Premium range:
3.0R Premium sedan (a) $51,490 +$500
3.0R Premium wagon (a) $53,490 +$500
Liberty 3.0R Spec.B range:
3.0R Spec.B sedan $52,990 +$500
3.0R Spec.B sedan (a) $52,990 +$500
3.0R Spec.B wagon $54,990 +$500
3.0R Spec.B wagon (a) $54,990 +$500
Liberty 2.5 GT range:
2.5 GT sedan (a) $55,490 +$500
2.5 GT wagon (a) $57,490 +$500
Liberty 2.5 GT Spec.B range:
2.5 GT Spec.B sedan $56,990 +$1000
2.5 GT Spec.B sedan (a) $56,990 +$1000
2.5 GT Spec.B wagon $58,990 +$1000
2.5 GT Spec.B wagon (a) $58,990 +$1000
Outback range:
2.5i $36,990 +$500
2.5i (a) $38,990 (no change)
3.0R (a) $46,990 (no change)
3.0R Premium (a) $54,790 +$500

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