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New Subaru Liberty Launched

Subaru Liberty (copyright image)

Home > News > Subaru

17th September, 2009

The fifth generation Subaru Liberty is now on sale in Australia with a sleek new look, superb safety, greater interior space and major technical advances.

The larger, significantly quieter cabin offers greater comfort, with better shoulder, head and leg room.

Fuel consumption is improved in every Liberty, including 11.0 per cent in automatic Liberty GT variants and 9.7 per cent in automatic 2.5i models (combined cycle).

Emissions performance is also refined across the range – automatic Liberty GT carbon dioxide emissions have reduced by 31 g/km to 228 in the combined cycle, a 12.0 per cent improvement.

The Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive Model Year 2010 Liberty achieves a five-star occupant safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP).

It raises the safety bar with the addition of a driver’s knee SRS airbag and an engine “cradle” that folds to absorb energy in heavy frontal collisions.

Driveability reaches new levels of excellence with the introduction of multiple technical changes, including the option of Lineartronicä Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) and Liberty’s largest engine yet - a powerful but compact 3.6 litre horizontally opposed six-cylinder boxer.

Remarkably, some Liberty models decrease in price by up to 7.8 per cent, others maintain the level of superseded variants - and none increase, despite volatile currency pressures this year.

Entry-level Liberty 2.5i starts from $33,990 Manufacturer’s List Price (MLP)*

The range topping Liberty GT Premium starts at $52,990 - $4,500 less than the superseded GT spec.B - while the new Liberty 3.6R Premium is the same price as the superseded Liberty 3.0R Premium.

The new Subaru Liberty variants offer European-type standard features including electric parking brakes, while dusk sensing headlights, rain sensing wipers, keyless access and push button start are added on premium variants.

New to the range are Liberty 2.5i Sports variants that include Lineartronic CVT transmission, plus sports front bumper and grille, Bilstein suspension, alloy pedals, 18-inch alloy wheels and Xenon headlights with washers.

Among the Liberty range highlights:

  • New platform produces significant space and safety benefits
  • Wider, longer cabin for greater comfort – three adults fit the rear seat
  • Significant fuel efficiency gains – all variants
  • ECO gauge encourages economical driving
  • Highest five-star ANCAP safety rating across the range – addition of knee SRS airbag; cabin strengthened in strategic areas
  • Lineartronic CVT available on entry-level and 2.5i Sports Libertys - contributes to fuel economy and requires no transmission fluid replacement, unless being driven in severe conditions continually
  • Introduction of largest Liberty engine yet – the compact and powerful 3.6 litre, six cylinder horizontally opposed boxer
  • Greater cargo carrying capacity
  • Six-speed manual introduced on entry-level 2.5 litre naturally aspirated models
  • Steering wheel paddle shifters standard on all automatic transmission models 
  • Reversing camera for Libertys with factory-fitted satellite navigation (SatNav)
  • Sash windows for greater noise suppression and security
  • New single-cradle engine bay design – reduces noise, enhances safety and refines ride and stability
  • Automatic on/off headlights that respond to specific driving conditions in GT and 3.6R models
  • Automatic windscreen wipers for optimum driver vision in GT and 3.6R models
  • Wider opening doors for easier access
  • Sophisticated Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive for added driving pleasure and safety
  • Voice activation system on factory-fitted SatNav for easy function selection
  • Standard dual zone air conditioning
  • Keyless access and push button start system on GT and 3.6R models
  • Electric park brake on all models
  • DataDot security on every Liberty – in line with the entire Subaru range
  • First service now at 12,500 kilometres/six months in four-cylinder models

It is 20 years since the first Liberty was introduced.

Nick Senior, Managing Director, Subaru Australia, said: “The fifth generation Liberty takes the model’s sophistication, safety, durability and innovation to a remarkable new level.”

Subaru Liberty (copyright image)

“New Liberty offers outstanding ride and handling, and every variant in the range offers better fuel efficiency and lower emissions.”

“Interior space is improved to in every key dimension. This includes 30 mm in width between the front seats and 68 mm in length between the front and rear seats, while rear legroom is up 99 mm and rear shoulder room 62 mm.”

“Safety is not optional at Subaru. That’s clearly demonstrated by the inclusion of dual front, side, curtain and driver’s knee SRS airbags, energy-absorbing engine cradle, framed door windows for added cabin strength and strategic strengthening of the body.”

“That’s in addition to standard Electronic Stability Control and ABS brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, plus a raft of other detailed safety features that shows Subaru isn’t resting on its laurels, despite being a leader in this field.”

He added: “The specification versus price equation is a compelling story.”

“Every Liberty is keenly priced. The fact that none have increased and some have actually decreased, while specification is enhanced in so many key areas, makes these vehicles an extremely attractive proposition.”

The new generation Liberty line-up comprises:

  • Liberty 2.5i – with the choice of Lineartronic CVT or six-speed manual transmission
  • Liberty 2.5i Premium – Lineartronic CVT, plus leather trim, electric sunroof and rear air vents
  • Liberty 2.5i Premium with SatNav – adds DVD, reversing camera and Bluetooth compatibility
  • Liberty 2.5i Sports – includes Lineartronic CVT transmission, plus sports front bumper and grille; Bilstein suspension, alloy pedals, 18-inch alloy wheels and Xenon headlights with washers
  • Liberty 2.5i Sports Premium – includes leather trim and power driver’s seat
  • Liberty 2.5i Sports Premium with SatNav – adds DVD, reversing camera and Bluetooth compatibility
  • Liberty 2.5i GT Premium with SatNav - includes turbocharged engine, factory-fitted SatNav with DVD, reversing camera, Bluetooth compatibility, choice of five-speed automatic, or six-speed manual, leather trim, sports bumper and grille, Bilstein suspension, alloy pedals, 18-inch alloy wheels, power passenger seat, Xenon HID headlights, McIntosh sound system and electric sunroof
  • Liberty 3.6R Premium with SatNav (sedan-only) – includes six-cylinder engine, factory-fitted SatNav with DVD, reversing camera, Bluetooth compatibility, five-speed automatic, leather trim, sports bumper, 18-inch alloy wheels, power passenger seat, Xenon HID headlights, McIntosh sound system and electric sunroof


Subaru Liberty is more spacious in every key dimension.

The wagon is 65 mm longer, 50 mm wider, 65 mm higher and the wheelbase is up 80 mm, whilst the Liberty sedan is 80 mm longer and higher.

The flowing headlight design integrates with the indicators, while fog lights are standard across the range.

Liberty 2.5i Sports and GT Premium models, feature sculpted front bumpers that differentiate them from the remainder of the range, plus 18-inch alloy wheels and a sports grille.

Highlighting Liberty’s road presence are flared wheel arches and projector-type low-beam headlights.

Liberty GT and 3.6R models have HID headlights with automatic washers. They also add automatic windscreen wipers that can activate when raindrops are detected.

Integrated fin-type wipers are positioned below the bonnet line, for a sleek look, while reducing wind noise.

All external mirrors feature integrated indicators and new motors reduce vibration by 54 per cent during use.

The framed sash windows enable a larger glass area for rear passenger doors, while improving cabin noise, structural rigidity and security.

Bonnet, sedan boot and wagon tailgate are all fitted with gas struts for easy operation.

A moulding behind the windscreen produces a smoother external appearance.

A newly designed petrol cap improves safety in collisions. The grip section is enlarged and the tether design prevents damage to the vehicle body when refueling.


  • Satin White Pearl
  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Sunlight Gold Opal
  • Camellia Red Pearl
  • Sage Green Metallic
  • Graphite Grey Metallic
  • Steel Silver Metallic
  • Galaxy Blue Silica


Liberty’s cabin features numerous detail changes to enhance occupant comfort, convenience and practicality.

Cabin dimensions are improved in every key area for greater passenger comfort.

The space between front seats increases by 30 mm and between front and rear seats by 68 mm.

Subaru Liberty (copyright image)

Rear legroom is up 99 mm, front hip room 89 mm and rear hip room by 34 mm.

Front shoulder room is up 48 mm and rear shoulder room 62 mm.

The improvements are equally impressive in cargo carrying. Wagons have an extra 31 litres and a 19 mm improvement in width at the wheel arch and 35 mm at the quarter panel.

Sedan boot space is up 47 litres.

Space between front seats is improved by the introduction of an electric parking brake – enabling removal of the traditional lever.

The new dual centre console features side-by-side cup holders and optimum elbow support, with greater internal storage space, capable of holding 19 compact discs. The storage area includes an AUX input and 12 volt power outlet. Models with factory-fitted SatNav include an RCA jack.

Newly developed front seats have longer sliding rails, plus electronic lumbar support for the driver on premium variants.

Front seatback height and frame size are increased for greater comfort and reduced fatigue.

In GT and 3.6R variants, the eight-way adjustable driver’s seat includes a memory function linked to the new smart key. One memory function can be stored on the key, while four can be stored with the combination of smart key and a new door-mounted memory switch.

Opening the door with the smart key automatically adjusts the seat to the position stored on the key memory.

Front passenger seats are eight-way adjustable on premium models.

The large, illuminated glove box can hold 30 compact discs.

Rear seat passengers have a 48 mm improvement in foot room underneath the front seats.

Larger rear seat head restraints offer greater neck protection while wagon rear seats introduce a recline mechanism.

Every Liberty has dual cup-holders in the rear centre armrest.

On the instrument panel, all four dials are always illuminated for optimum visibility.

A new ECO gauge encourages economical driving.

Instrument needles sweep on ignition and a low engine oil warning light is introduced on the main display.

A multi-information display with average fuel consumption indicator is located in the centre of the dashboard.

A new design three-spoke steering wheel features integrated audio and cruise control buttons. Use of some aluminium components has reduced its weight by 10 per cent, yet made it 10 per cent stronger.

Tilt adjustment is improved 2 mm to 20 mm, the same distance as the reach function.

Steering wheel paddle shifters are standard on all automatic transmission models, including those with Lineartronic CVT. They move in tandem with the steering wheel for easier operation.

Automatic transmission gearshift pattern is changed from gate to straight, for easier movement. Manual mode enables gear change using only paddle shift.

Driver knee space is enhanced, for easier entry, exit and improved comfort.

The automatic headlight function operates when AUTO mode is selected on the stalk. Four stages of sensitivity can be selected by the driver.

The windscreen wiper sensor automatically adjusts to operate at optimum speed. Five stages of sensitivity can be driver selected.

Standard dual zone air conditioning improves cooling and heating performance and reduces noise, while providing a more comfortable cabin environment. Push buttons are used for easier operation.

An external air conditioning variable compressor is used on 3.6 litres models, with compression capacity changed to suit the cooling load. A sub-cooled-type condenser is used, reducing the amount of refrigerant required, while improving cooling performance.

All models have an air conditioning dust removal filter and rear under-seat heater ducts.

All wagons feature a 60/40 split/fold rear seat for optimum cargo carrying capacity. A remote folding seat lever located in the cargo area simplifies operation.

An electronic switch can be used to open the sedan boot lid.

In sedans, the rear centre armrest folds flat for storage of long items protruding from the boot.

Subaru Liberty 2.5i S (copyright image)

For security and safety, a map light selector switch allows the driver to have the lights switch on when opening the car doors without the key. An overhead cascade light also illuminates the gear shifter.

A buzzer sounds if the driver’s door is opened from the inside with the lights still on.

Models with factory-fitted SatNav have an integrated Bluetooth microphone. The SatNav also includes voice recognition, for easy function selection. The driver can use voice commands to operate navigation, Bluetooth and the audio system.

Every Liberty has larger capacity door pockets with bottle holders.

Sedan boot lids feature gas struts for smooth operation and linked hinges, for a larger opening area.

In wagons, an electronic solenoid switch can be used to unlock the cargo door from the cabin.

The 'character' of individual Subaru Liberty variants is highlighted by different door trim – metallic, woodgrain or carbon fibre style – which is a continuation from the dashboard.

Noise vibration and harshness were significant priorities for Liberty’s designers.

Foam materials that expand with the heat generated during painting are inserted into the pillars, increasing sound insulation.

The density of the bonnet insulator is also increased, which assists in absorbing high frequency noises.

Models equipped with Lineartronic CVT have a tunnel insulator installed, to curb transmission noise.

Double layer seals are installed around the entire door opening, reducing cabin noise levels.

Liberty GT and the 3.6R use a sound insulating seal cover within the door.

Models equipped with McIntosh audio systems also come with outstanding sound insulating seal covers.

The cross-section of door sashes is built to provide a better seal, preventing wind noise in the cabin.

Door openings are enlarged by approximately 400 mm over the current model (280 mm for the wagon). This significantly improves access to the rear seats and makes the installation of child seats easier.

The use of partition sashes in the rear windows has increased the glass area.


The Kenwood Sound Meister with DOLBY PRO LOGIC is standard in Liberty 2.5i variants, producing an expansive, rich sound through the six speakers.

Newly designed door speakers provide optimum sound at low to mid ranges. The diaphragm shape uses a thicker wall cone structure to better control fixed resonance, resulting in a frequency response with minimal peaks and dips.

The tweeter position is changed from the top of the door to the side of the instrument panel. This shifts the sound stage upwards and delivers a more realistic, expansive sound.

Range-topping Libertys including the 2.5i Sports Premium with SatNav, the GT Premium and the 3.6R Premium, are equipped with the 10-speaker McIntosh system.

The radio uses an in-glass rear windshield antenna. An antenna amplifier is installed for stable reception, even with a weak signal. An Auto Gain Control (AGC) function is added, optimising reception in areas with weak electrical fields, producing constantly stable reception.

Volume is automatically adjusted in response to cabin noise depending upon vehicle speed.

Steering wheel audio controls ensure easy operation and minimal distraction from driving.

Models equipped with SatNav feature a high-definition eight-inch wide VGA monitor, improving visibility and readability.

The McIntosh system is distinguished by optimum 5.1 surround sound. There are front centre, front left/right and rear left/right speakers plus a sub-woofer, to deliver powerful sound at low frequencies.

Tweeter diameter is increased from 3.5 cm to 6.5 cm.

A wider bandwidth ensures better sound connectivity between the tweeters and door speakers.

The tweeter cone material is changed from PP to aramid, resulting in less sound distortion at high input levels, producing a clearer output.

Double neodymium magnets are used in the tweeters. An increase in magnetic power ensures faster vibration movement and therefore better quality sound.

A sealed woofer box is used in McIntosh-equipped wagons to produce more powerful, deep bass.

Rear satellite speakers are newly designed to increase sound clarity in the rear seats.

Reversing camera

Reversing cameras are standard on Subaru Libertys with factory-fitted SatNav.

An integrated back lamp makes the rear of the vehicle visible at night.

Guidelines displayed on the navigation screen assist in reversing and parking.

Keyless access and push button start system

A keyless access and push button start system are available on Liberty GT and 3.6R variants.

Using the keyless function, the driver simply places their hand behind the door handle to unlock the car, and presses a sensor button on the outside edge of the door handle to lock.

If the driver accidentally tries to lock the vehicle with the keys still inside, the doors will not lock and an alarm alert will sound.

If the driver is carrying the key, the engine can be started by simply pushing the engine start switch within the instrument panel.

When the brake pedal is pressed in automatic models, or the clutch pedal depressed in manual models, the push-button ignition switch indicator turns green, meaning the engine can start.

The engine can only be started when the key is inside the vehicle. Once started, if the key is moved outside the vehicle an alert will sound, but the engine will continue running.

If the smart key battery has drained and the push engine start function cannot be used, an emergency back-up is provided. The access key can be swept in front of the push-button ignition switch, allowing the system to check the identification, before using the engine start switch.


All new generation horizontally opposed boxer engines offer improved fuel consumption in the combined cycle.

For added range, the new corrosion resistant petrol tank capacity is increased to 65 litres.

An oil level light is added to all engines, alerting drivers to oil loss.

A voltage charging control system is used in the alternator to improve fuel efficiency. It reduces the charging voltage while the vehicle is idling, or being driven at a constant speed, and increases the voltage at slow speeds. Therefore, the alternator load on the engine is reduced.

2.5i SOHC normally aspirated

Weight and friction are reduced, improving both environmental performance and fuel efficiency, which is the same as the equivalent 2.0-litre engine, while exhaust emissions comply with the EURO4 standard.

Development has focused on delivering torque at low engine speeds, rather than maximum power output, resulting in enhanced drivability.

The engine produces 123 kilowatts of power at 5,600 rpm and 229 Newton metres of torque at 4,000 rpm.

The port shape is changed, improving both fuel efficiency and exhaust gas emissions.

To aid fuel efficiency, cooling performance is improved by increasing coolant flow and speed around the spark plugs.

Reduced piston weight lessens fuel consumption and enables better response.

The cam profile is changed to improve exhaust gas and output.

High ignition spark plugs are newly designed to improve fuel efficiency, while the ignition coil is changed from sequential to direct.

The intake manifold is changed to resin-based plastic from aluminium, for reduced weight. This improves torque characteristics and fuel efficiency.

A single muffler is used, improving both vibrations and power output, and reducing weight by approximately 6 kg. A new chamber has been added to suit the single muffler design. The amount of catalytic metal is also reduced.

2.5 DOHC turbocharged

Subaru Liberty GT variants produce 195 kW of power at 5,600 rpm and 350 Newton metres of torque at 2,400 rpm and are available with the choice of a six-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic.

Turbocharger design changes have raised performance and lowered emissions. The engine complies with EURO4 emission standards.

Peak torque is generated as low as 2,400 rpm and sustained smoothly at 5,200 rpm.

By locating the turbocharger directly under the crankshaft, exhaust gas travel is shortened, increasing response and emission filtering. This also helps lower the vehicle’s centre of gravity, contributing to optimum weight distribution.

Weight savings are achieved by using a simpler and more compact exhaust system.

Compressor size is increased, improving power output.

The intercooler is newly designed, including a 25 per cent larger core. This improves compressed air cooling efficiency. Output tank shape is also optimised, improving airflow distribution and reducing resistance.

The intake system turbo duct is newly designed. An injection-moulded duct is used ahead of the turbo, reducing airflow resistance and improving torque, while a blow-moulded duct is used after the turbo, optimising the intake layout.

Making turbo duct filter replacement easier, the rubber boots are placed near the air cleaner. The resonator size is decreased, while optimising noise suppression and reducing weight. To overcome suction noise from reduced airflow resistance, the intake duct moulding is integrated with the side branch, maximising noise suppression.

The tumble generator valve is newly designed to swirl the air/fuel mixture within the combustion chamber and improve efficiency, benefitting exhaust gas emissions and fuel efficiency.

A newly-designed electronically controlled throttle is installed. An aluminium valve is used, together with a smaller motor.

Auxiliary supports are added to the engine block, following changes to the mounting system. Combustion chamber shape is changed to produce better performance, fuel efficiency and reduced exhaust gas emissions.

Piston skirt shape is changed, reducing friction. Piston crown surface shape is also altered, improving power output, fuel efficiency and reducing exhaust emissions.

Newly-designed smaller capacity injectors produce higher pressure, while the fuel pressure regulator provides better fuel spray atomisation and optimises the spray angle, improving exhaust gas emissions during cold engine starts.

The high ignition spark plugs are newly designed to improve fuel efficiency.

A new exhaust Active Valve Control System (AVCS) is used to optimise cam timing, improving both fuel efficiency and power output.

The cam profile is changed to retain low speed torque while providing high power output.

Combustion improvements are achieved by reducing the exhaust valve opening timing, increasing low speed torque.

Complementing the exhaust AVCS, the oil pump is changed, producing reduced friction.

In the cooling system, the thermostat opening temperature is changed. Engine oil temperature, which changes with the temperature of coolant, is maintained at a higher level, resulting in reduced friction on all sliding surfaces and producing improved fuel efficiency.

The turbo engine alternator is also optimised, enhancing fuel efficiency.

The new exhaust system retains vibration suppression while reducing airflow resistance, which in turn leads to increased engine performance.

In the catalyst, the secondary air system is eliminated and purification improved, while the quantity of metal retention is reduced to comply with EURO4 regulations.

3.6R DOHC normally aspirated

The biggest capacity Liberty engine to date, the six-cylinder 3.6R is available with a five-speed automatic transmission and retains the same compact dimensions as the superseded 3.0 litre unit.

The dual AVCS incorporates variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust valves, optimising power delivery across the operating range. This also helps to reduce emissions. Dual AVCS also improves torque in low to medium speed ranges. Improvements to the filling efficiency at high engine speed produces an increase in power output and optimises fuel efficiency too.

The new engine offers better performance than the superseded 3.0 litre, while using regular 90 RON unleaded fuel. It produces 191 kW at 5,600 rpm and 350 Nm at 4,400 rpm.

It complies with EURO4 emission regulations.

Thinner cylinder liners have increased the bore diameter, without changing the pitch. Serrated ribs around the circumference of the liner provide better adhesion to the aluminium hoops.

In addition to the highly rigid aluminium die-cast block, sintered iron pieces are used around the cast crank journals. This restricts expansion of journal clearances, arising from thermal expansion, reducing engine vibrations and noise, and increasing output.

The intake and exhaust valve diameter are enlarged to increase combustion efficiency. Intake and exhaust port shapes are also optimised.

Piston skirt shape is now asymmetrical, to reduce friction. Asymmetrical angled split con-rods are used, following the increased stroke. Distance between the con-rod centres and the assembly method is changed, for an increased stroke, without changing the deck height.

The crankshaft stroke is increased from 80 mm to 91 mm and the web width from 85 mm to 94 mm, increasing the torsional rigidity. The crankshaft is heat treated for added strength.

Injector flow rates are increased to suit the greater engine capacity.

High ignition spark plugs are newly designed to improve fuel efficiency.

Coolant distribution around the cylinder head and block is optimised to assist in engine warm-up and fuel efficiency. Temperature variations between cylinders are reduced by arranging cylinder-cooling circuits parallel within the head, raising the knock limit.

Changes are made to the chain drive system, including the layout, sprocket tooth profile and cam chain pitch, to suit the higher engine output and reduce noise. Use of an 8 mm pitch cam chain reduces shock and noise when meshing with the sprocket. A vibration and noise reducing tooth profile is used for the sprocket teeth. A reduction type system reduces tension in the cam chain. This also increases chain reliability.

Long branch dual exhaust pipes are eliminated in favour of collection directly behind the port, for improved exhaust gas emissions. The rear catalytic converter is brought forward and split into left and right portions. The number of catalytic converters is also increased to two, improving exhaust gas emission. The length of the dual pipes is extended by 150 mm for increased power output. The new system reduces airflow resistance and vibration, which also aids engine performance.

Fuel consumption


Combined (l/100 km)/ CO2 (g/km)


Extra urban

Liberty 2.5i manual

8.9/209 (MY09: 9.0/213)



Liberty 2.5i CVT

8.4/198 (MY09: 9.3/219)



Liberty 2.5i GT manual

9.8/230 (MY09: 10.5/250)



Liberty 2.5i GT auto

9.7/228 (MY09: 10.9/259)



Liberty 3.6R auto-only

10.3/242 (MY09: 11.1/266)




Three transmission types are available on new generation Liberty, each contributing to improved drivability and fuel efficiency.

Subaru introduces its first Lineartronic CVT on entry-level Liberty 2.5i and 2.5i Sports variants.

Also new on entry-level 2.5i normally aspirated Liberty is the efficient six-speed manual transmission, which features on turbocharged Liberty GT too.

All automatic transmissions, including Lineartronic CVT, feature adaptive control, which helps select the optimum gear to suit driving style and road conditions.

Lineartronic CVT

The Lineartronic CVT has a compact layout and offers superb drivability and economy, while producing quick and smooth shift response compared to many conventional automatic transmissions.

The chain-type CVT produces enhanced torque delivery and lower friction, meaning better economy than belt-type CVTs.

It uses smaller pulley cores, resulting in a compact size.

Internally, the significant size difference between the smallest and largest pulley core diameters provides infinite variability between the highest and lowest available ratios – helping to keep the engine operating in its most efficient range.

Optimum balance of torque and engine revolutions produces smooth, linear acceleration.

Manual mode is enabled by moving the selector lever towards the driver’s seat. The steering wheel paddles can be used for temporary manual mode, even if the selector lever is not used. If the speed remains unchanged, the transmission will move back to the Drive mode automatically.

Six speeds, with larger steps between them, have been chosen for manual mode. This enables the required engine speed to be selected with minimal effort. The engine is protected by a function that automatically shifts up at high engine speeds, and down at low speeds.

The top of the CVT transmission tunnel is raised 60 mm. Legroom in the cabin is retained by minimising increases in transmission width.

The secondary pulley is positioned so that it does not come in contact with oil in the pan at high speeds. This reduces resistance from agitation and also improves fuel efficiency.

The variator (speed change unit) consists of a primary pulley (input side) and secondary pulley (output side), with a chain running between the two. The diameter of the surrounding chain can be changed as the V-groove within the pulley changes width, allowing the vehicle’s speed to change seamlessly.

The width of the pulley’s groove is changed by altering the balance of pressure within hydraulic oil chambers one, two and three. Guiderails are installed on both the chain’s tense and loose sides, reducing noise and improving durability.

The chain is manufactured by Luk and has a smaller minimum wound diameter than other steel belts used in CVT applications. Segments (elements) of belts held within the pulley consist of interconnected layered metal rings. As the wound diameter becomes smaller, stress within the belt increases (which forces the wound belt to straighten). Some 150 pins in 75 pairs connect approximately 900 plates in the same way as a bicycle chain, moving flexibly even when the wound diameter becomes small. These differences give the chain the same ratio coverage as a belt type CVT, while using smaller pulleys.

By using a chain CVT, a greater ratio coverage than belt-types is achieved within the same size, producing improved fuel efficiency. Belt CVTs also have relative slip and suffer from associated internal losses. Chain CVTs do not, so when operating within the most fuel-efficient overdrive region, transmission efficiency is five per cent better.

The front/rear switching system, positioned in front of the variator on ordinary CVT systems, is located after the variator. It also incorporates forward clutch and output clutch functions. A single pinion, aluminium carrier is used, reducing weight and lowering cost.

The forward clutch can be made to slip if there is uneven input, providing a torque fuse function, to protect the variator. The torque fuse allows for setting the minimum hydraulic oil required for driving power transmission, leading to improved fuel efficiency.

The CVT has a large lockup area and only operates as a torque converter during takeoff. This means the capacity of medium and high-speed ratios is raised higher than the superseded four-speed automatic, improving take-off feel.

A two-stage Ltd damper is used in combination with the large lockup area CVT to reduce muffled sounds.

A small internal pump is used within the oil pump, to reduce loss. A separate shaft is used to the engine shaft, with speed increased using a sprocket and chain system. This assures the required oil flow.

CVT-equipped Liberty has the same linear acceleration feeling and acceleration as traditional automatic and manual transmission models.

G-wave forms during acceleration are fine-tuned, giving the driver a faster sense of peak acceleration after depressing the pedal. This negates the sometimes-strange shift feel common with earlier CVTs, and improves drivability. Unnecessary accelerator use is therefore prevented and fuel efficiency improved.

Hill ascent/descent control and sporty driving criteria are also refined to increase driving fun.

Gear changes are designed to be almost instantaneous at 100 milliseconds or less, to increase response.

The CVT requires no transmission fluid replacement, unless being driven in severe conditions continually.

Five-speed automatic transmission

The responsive five-speed automatic transmission is available on turbocharged Liberty GT and 3.6R variants.

Fuel economy is improved through reduced friction and weight.

The transmission is ideally matched to the high power output of the turbo and six-cylinder engines.

An Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) warmer is used to improve fuel efficiency. At low temperatures, the ATF has a high viscosity and subsequently a large amount of friction. Heat is exchanged with the engine coolant in order to raise the ATF oil temperature as soon as possible, reducing friction immediately after engine start-up.

A wave plate clutch is used for the forward and reverse drive plates, reducing friction and improving fuel efficiency.

Blipping control is improved to enhance response when downshifting with the steering wheel paddles. It is now also used when shifting from fifth to third gear, producing a sportier drive and enhanced drivability.

Six-speed manual transmission

For the first time, the light weight and efficient six-speed manual is matched to the 2.5 litre SOHC engine on entry level Liberty 2.5i, in addition to the turbocharged 2.5 litre unit.

It aids optimum fuel efficiency, improved drivability and a quieter ride at higher speeds, due to wider ratio coverage.

The compact design is more than 20 kg lighter than the superseded unit, while retaining the same length as the five-speed automatic transmission.

Use of a shift cable greatly improves feel and noise levels, while friction loss is reduced by optimising lubrication paths, leading to improved fuel efficiency.

Shift feel and noise levels are improved when selecting reverse due to gear structure changes, adopting constant-mesh synchromesh.

Manual gear ratios:


2.5i naturally aspirated

2.5i turbocharged






















Final reduction



Subaru Intelligent Drive

Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive) is featured on Liberty GT and 3.6R variants, offering three different driving experiences in the same car.

Drivers have the option to refine performance to suit their preferences.

SI-Drive can optimise fuel efficiency and ride comfort in stop-start city traffic, produce a lively response in flowing freeway or town traffic, or a rapid sporty drive on the open road.

Each of the three modes is clearly displayed on the instrument panel:

Intelligent mode ensures gentle, smooth power output. It may contribute to greater economy in congested city driving at low to mid-speed, when teamed with a smooth driving style, or cruising on the freeway. Ideal for those searching for ride comfort and frugal fuel figures.

Sport mode optimises performance on city and highway drives. Good for routine, day-to-day driving. This is also the default mode.

Sport # mode boosts engine revolutions for sharp, sporty driving (cannot be used while the engine is cold). Provides dynamic performance for true driving enthusiasts through highly responsive engine and throttle control.

SI-Drive regulates the engine and transmission control units, and fine-tunes the electronic throttle control.

The control button is installed on the centre console. By pushing the dial, Intelligent mode is set. Sport mode is activated by turning the dial left and Sport # mode by turning it right.

The modes can be changed while the car is moving.

The needle of the ECO gauge stays in the green zone when fuel consumption is low, for the benefit of economy-minded drivers. Higher fuel consumption is indicated by the needle heading into the yellow zone.

The shift-up indicator, located in the tachometer on manual transmission models, uses a blinking indicator to advise the driver to change up a gear and save fuel when engine revolutions reach a certain level.

Internal testing by Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru vehicles, indicates a vehicle driven in Intelligent mode can record up to 10 per cent more range.


Despite a larger body, Subaru Liberty has improved aerodynamics, chassis weight reduction, enhanced rigidity and improved fuel efficiency.

The new engine cradle design reduces noise, enhances safety and refines ride and stability.

Engines are mounted on the cradle frame, not the chassis. Four mounts use cushioning liquid-filled rubber.

Aluminium is used for the front and main brackets, as well as the front cushion rubber brackets, reducing weight and increasing rigidity.

Vibration is reduced due to the engine’s location in precise relation to the torque roll axis.

Cradle layout enables turbocharger placement under the engine, for reduced emissions in Liberty GT variants.


McPherson strut-type front suspension is mounted to the cradle, improving steering response, handling and overall rigidity. Increased stabiliser diameter also enhances roll rigidity, keeps the stroke in line and improves ride comfort.

The new compact double-wishbone rear suspension is mounted to the sub-frame.

The link bushes and shock absorber mounts are optimised for Liberty. Combined, these developments significantly lower overall noise levels.

Liberty 2.5i and 3.6R shock absorbers, feature low friction oil seals, guide bushes and hydraulic oil, to improve ride comfort and quality.

A new type of valve (initial valve) structure is used in the front and rear shock absorbers to improve ride comfort and stability.

Damping forces at high speed are retained, yet increased in medium to low speed areas, for both better operational stability and ride comfort.

Bilstein Shock absorbers are used in Liberty 2.5i Sports and turbocharged GT models, producing a sporty ride.


All Libertys achieve a high five-star crashworthiness rating for occupant safety from the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP), maintaining Subaru’s status as an entirely five-star rated brand.

Liberty achieves a three-star pedestrian rating.

Vehicle Dynamics Control, Subaru’s electronic stability programme, is standard across the range.


Safety’s high priority is reflected in the many changes to Liberty’s structure.

New design A-pillar and front suspension joints have produced weight savings of approximately 3 kg, while increasing suspension attachment point rigidity.

The move to a cradle frame has simplified reinforcing materials in the floor toe board and mainframe, increasing the amount of energy that can be absorbed during an impact, while saving approximately 6 kg.

For greater occupant protection in a heavy frontal collision, the engine cradle frame folds inwards, causing the engine to slide down, rather than into the cabin. Combined with Subaru’s cabin ring-shaped reinforcement frame structure, this has greatly improved safety.

The rear floor structure is simplified, with parts such as the closing plate eliminated, saving approximately 2 kg. This also increases balance, rigidity and control stability.

The bonnet is made of energy-absorbing steel to increase pedestrian protection, while a reduction in the number of parts has limited weight increase to just 6 kg, at the same time lowering repair costs. Use of gas struts allows easier bonnet opening too.

Optimisation of the under-bonnet area reduces weight and increases pedestrian protection.

The bonnet framework layout allows impacts to be distributed evenly.

The boot lid uses a single outer panel, with a reduction in the number of parts saving approximately 4.7 kg. Linked gas struts are used for easy opening.

In Subaru Liberty wagons, the cargo door panel now consists of four separate parts, providing a light weight and rigid rear panel. The roof spoiler is integrated with the talgate, saving approximately 1.5 kg. Use of a highly rigid pillar panel next to the rear window reduces the pillar width by 10 mm and increases visibility.

High tensile steel is used in critical parts of the body to enhance overall rigidity, while reducing weight.

Two impact beams are located in the front and rear doors. The door inner components are located to ensure maximum crushable space between panels, for added occupant protection.

High strength, high-tensile material (980 MPa) is used within the B-pillars and side sills, improving strength around the cabin.

The safety cell frame structure is improved so that it compresses gradually during a rear impact. This absorbs energy more effectively, despite the shorter overhang. The rear frame height is adjusted to suit that of other vehicles too. The rear bumper beam also helps reduce repair costs.

The radiator panel is connected with bolts, to help lower repair costs after a heavy collision. The lack of welding makes the panel replaceable, enabling easier repairs.

Clutch and brake pedals are newly designed, changing how they move in an impact. The number of parts is reduced, resulting in a shape with less weight and more effective shock absorption.

The footrest uses an impact absorbing material to reduce lower leg injury during major front-end impact.

In the rear seats, an upper cross-member is installed to prevent submarining.


A newly-designed brake booster includes a high response valve, which has drastically improved performance by around 20 per cent.

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Two new types of rear disc brakes are used: 16-inch solid disc brakes, and ventilated disc brakes on Liberty 2.5i Sports and GT models. All models feature aluminium callipers primarily for weight savings of around 1 kg.

All Libertys also have electric parking brakes. The system activates when the parking brake switch is pushed. The brake is released by pushing down the brake pedal and pulling the switch.

The parking brake is automatically released when drive is engaged and the accelerator pedal depressed.

For safety reasons, if a door is open or the driver’s seat belt is not fastened, the parking brake is not released even when the accelerator pedal is pushed down.

The brake can only be released with the switch after the ignition has been turned on.

All models feature four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes, with Subaru’s Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist.

An automatic electronic Hill Holder System activates if the vehicles stops on a hill with an angle of more than five per cent.

SRS airbags

A driver’s SRS knee airbag is used for the first time in a Subaru. This absorbs movement of the lower legs, distributing the impact energy and reducing injury. The size of the airbag and tether length are optimised to restrain the lower legs.

Every Subaru Liberty also has dual front, side and curtain airbags.

Side and curtain airbags are enlarged for even greater occupant protection.

The layout of the SRS airbag sensors is optimised for faster response.

A powder-type gas generator (inflator) is used for the first time by Subaru for the side airbags, enabling less weight and smaller size. The folding method and shape of the airbag are optimised for super quick deployment and improved protection.


New design high-strength front seat frames and energy absorbing headrests provide enhanced protection against whiplash in heavy rear-end collisions.

Pad inserts are added to the head restraints, providing firm head support.

Though active head restraints are no longer featured, the new seat design reduces whiplash. The likelihood of neck injury is reduced by controlling occupant movement.

To help prevent whiplash, support is provided to the head as soon as possible. Seat rigidity is greatly improved, with the design holding the occupant’s body and head firmly in place during an impact.

Major changes are made to parts layout within the steering column cover. This ensures maximum space for knees to absorb movement during an impact, while a knee protector and EA foam result in greater safety.

MY10 Liberty Manufacturer’s List Pricing*

*Prices are Subaru (Aust) Pty Limited’s Manufacturer’s List Prices only and include GST on the list price but exclude dealer delivery charges and all other state/territory government statutory charges. "Drive away" prices are available from Subaru dealers.

Liberty 2.5i manual sedan


Liberty 2.5i Lineartronic CVT sedan


Liberty 2.5i manual wagon


Liberty 2.5i Lineartronic CVT wagon




Liberty 2.5i Sports Lineartronic CVT sedan


Liberty 2.5i Sports Lineartronic CVT Premium sedan


Liberty 2.5i Sports Premium Lineartronic CVT SatNav sedan


Liberty 2.5i Sports Lineartronic CVT wagon


Liberty 2.5i Sports Lineartronic CVT Premium wagon


Liberty 2.5i Sports Premium Lineartronic CVT SatNav wagon




Liberty 2.5i Premium Lineartronic CVT sedan


Liberty 2.5i Premium Lineartronic CVT SatNav sedan


Liberty 2.5i Premium Lineartronic CVT wagon


Liberty 2.5i Premium Lineartronic CVT SatNav wagon




Liberty 2.5 GT Premium manual SatNav sedan


Liberty 2.5 GT Premium auto SatNav sedan


Liberty 2.5 GT Premium manual SatNav wagon


Liberty 2.5 GT Premium auto SatNav wagon




Liberty 3.6R Premium auto SatNav sedan


MY10 Liberty engine specifications

Liberty 2.5i naturally aspirated:


Horizontally opposed




2,457 cc

Bore x stroke

99.5 mm x 79.0 mm

Compression ratio


Cam-train system


Fuel system

Multi Point Sequential Injection

Maximum power

123 kW/5,600 rpm

Maximum torque

229 Nm/4,000 rpm

Liberty GT Premium 2.5 turbocharged:


Horizontally opposed turbocharged




2,457 cc

Bore x stroke

99.5 mm x 79.0 mm

Compression ratio


Cam-train system

DOHC turbocharged

Fuel system

Multi Point Sequential Injection

Maximum power

195 kW/5,600 rpm

Maximum torque

350 Nm/2,400 rpm

Liberty 3.6R Premium naturally aspirated:


Horizontally opposed




3,630 cc

Bore x stroke

92.0 mm x 91.0 mm

Compression ratio


Cam-train system


Fuel system

Multi Point Sequential Injection

Maximum power

191 kW/5,600 rpm

Maximum torque

350 Nm/4,400 rpm

Liberty dimensions

Overall length mm

4,745 sedan/4,785 wagon

Overall width mm


Overall height mm


Wheelbase mm


Tread – front mm


Tread – rear mm


Min. ground clearance mm


Tare weight kg


2.5i manual – 1,398

2.5i auto – 1,432

GT Premium manual - 1,487

GT Premium auto – 1,522

3.6R Premium auto – 1,536


2.5i manual – 1,440

2.5i auto – 1,474

GT Premium manual - 1,529

GT Premium auto – 1,564

Fuel consumption and emissions (L/100 km/CO2 g/km):


2.5i manual – 8.9/209

2.5i auto – 8.4/198

GT Premium manual – 9.8/230

GT Premium auto – 9.7/228

3.6R Premium – 10.3/242

Fuel tank capacity (litres)


Recommended fuel requirement

2.5i – 90-98 RON

GT Premium – 95-98 RON

3.6R – 90-98 RON


Engine speed sensitive power assisted rack and pinion

Turning circle

11.0 metres, kerb to kerb diameter



Coil MacPherson strut-type


Double wishbone type independent



Vacuum assisted ventilated discs


Vacuum assisted discs – ventilated on 2.5i Sports and GT


2.5i: 215/50R17, 17x7 ½ JJ

GT Premium: 225/45R18, 18x7 ½ JJ

3.6R Premium: 225/50R17, 17x7 ½ JJ

Towing capacity kg:

With/without brakes

2.5i manual – 1,500/735

2.5i auto – 1,500/735

GT Premium manual – 1,800/750

GT Premium auto – 1,800/750

3.6R Premium auto – 1,800/750


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