If you were expecting revolutionary design from Subaru, we’ll laugh.
In the modern motoring industry, design & engineering go hand-in-hand. Some of the most breathtaking vehicles are the result of engineers & designers working closely together, altering dimensions and shapes to accommodate engineering demands, and engineers moving nuts & bolts to just the right places as not to upset the sheetmetal.
But if ever you needed evidence of a company run almost entirely by engineers, look no further than Subaru. Their 2020 Liberty (launched at the 2019 Chicago auto show as the Legacy) is a great example of that, with an all-new platform, a brand-new engine, and serious interior overhauls hiding underneath a body that, while handsome, will hardly get the neighbours’ curtains twitching.
While the styling is evolutionary, what lies beneath is a lot more exciting. The 7th-generation Liberty sits on Subaru’s new global platform which, according to them, is between 70% and 100% stiffer than the outgoing model, and is capable of absorbing some 40% more energy from frontal and side-on impacts.
And under the skin, there’s a new engine too. Base-models continue to run a 2.5-litre atmo flat-4 petrol with 136kW and 239Nm. But new to the Liberty is a 2.4-litre turbocharged flat-four, with a far more interesting 194kW and 376Nm. Like all Subarus, this power is put down to all-four corners through a CVT automatic, with the atmo engine motivating the Liberty to hit 100km/h in less than 9-seconds, while the turbo mill can do it in just over 6-seconds.
The inside of the Liberty is much, much improved over the outgoing car. The choice of materials, the build quality, and the presentation feels a lot more premium, and there’s a greater emphasis on technology than ever before. At the centre of it all (in flagship cars at least) is an 11.6-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen, controlling all the major infotainment functions, as well as the HVAC controls. Amazingly, it feels like Subaru has listened to all the gripes levelled at these all-digital systems, and left the temperature buttons, the front & rear heaters, and volume/tuner adjustments in analogue form.
If you can’t get a top-flight Liberty, you’ll have to make do with two 7.0-inch touchscreens instead.
In the US, the EyeSight suite of advanced driver assistance systems are available as standard, while a 180º front camera system, driver drowsiness alert, swivelling LED headlights, BLIS, reverse AEB & RCTA are all available as options. You can also add things like Nappa leather, smartphone mirroring, a Harman/Kardon audio system, and WiFi.
With the 7th-generation Liberty going on sale in the US by the third quarter of this year (as a Legacy), the subject of Australian availability comes to mind. When asked, Subaru Australia reminded us that the 6th-gen model we have now has quite a number of years left in it, suggesting that the 7th-gen model could be some way off. We’d love to welcome this new car sooner rather than later though, particularly with that tasty new turbo-4.