Auto Review: 2018 Subaru Liberty 3.6R

IT’S the forgotten space in the automotive world. The mid-sized family sedan. It’s been overrun by SUVs and utes and larger family cars. But with the death of the Falcon and the shrinking of the Commodore, can the Subaru Liberty offer an alternative.

Sitting proudly in that mid-sized space is a stalwart of the fight for the attention of car buyers, offering a roomy interior, loads of tech and dare we say it, the 2018 Subaru Liberty 3.6R might just be bloody brilliant.

Fitted with the outstanding sixth generation boxer 6-cylinder engine, the Liberty 3.6R is smooth, responsive and quiet, but put your foot down and you can hear that hint of angry, that sweet little roar from the twin exhausts, especially in Sports mode.

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The Subaru is extremely well behaved in ‘normal’ driving mode too, and offers a great driving experience, even when you’re stuck in traffic. That 191kW power plant, which pushes out 350Nm of torque, is coupled with a 7-speed CVT gearbox.

Inside, it’s very comfortable too, offering premium heated leather seats, a great driving position, easy to adjust electric seats and two driver memory settings, just in case someone messes with your favourite seating position.

The only small negative point is the head room in the rear seats. Taller people may not have enough of it. Leg room is, however, excellent, as is the upgraded and large infotainment system that now includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The sound pumps from an outstanding 11-speaker Harman Kardon system, and there’s voice activated SatNav, and a responsive touch screen. The Bluetooth connectivity in the Subaru is simple to use and you can plug in the phone via the USB port too.

There’s no issues with playing with your phone either as the system will read your texts to you and you can reply using voice as well. As if that isn’t enough, there is more safety technology than you can poke a stick at as well.

It has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating and is fitted with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist system, which includes pre-collision brake assist and adaptive cruise control. There’s also lane departure warning, a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alerts.

Adaptive driving beams that drop from high to low beam when approaching oncoming traffic or driving in well lit streets will also maximise night time safety. It’s genuinely a hard car to fault, and everything has that high quality Subaru look and feel.

The storage capacity of the 2018 Subaru Liberty 3.6R is also very generous at 493-litres, and the 60/40 rear seats also fold down to allow for longer cargo. A very convenient addition in a mid-sized sedan.

It comes in a host of colours, including Crystal Black, Dark Blue, Oak Brown Pearl, Tungsten, Dark Grey (our test car), Platinum Grey, Crimson Red, Ice Silver and Crystal White.

The Libery 3.6R definitely covers most of the bases when it comes to a family car, and we’d certainly have it on our shopping list. It hits the road at $43,140 plus on-roads. But we’ll end this review with an interesting little fact that doesn’t happen very often.

Subaru claims 14.2-litres/100km as a fuel economy figure for urban driving (9.9 combined). In genuine urban conditions, we managed 12.6-litres/100km, significantly lower than what’s claimed. Our combined was bang on with Subaru too.

Our test vehicle was provided by Subaru Australia. To find out more about the 2018 Subaru Liberty 3.6R, contact your local Subaru dealer.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness


Pros - comfort; luxury; technology.
Cons - insufficient phone storage; average rear headroom.
Tony Cavanagh
Tony Cavanagh
Tony Cavanagh has always had a thing about cars. He usually owns two at a time (there may also be a motorbike in the garage as well). Excessive maybe, but a car guy is a car guy. He's driven everything from Minis (the original ones) to V8 Commodores and 4WDs, as well as little go fast Japanese buzz boxes and hot hatches. He loves everything automotive, and doesn't have a clear favourite – yet.


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<strong>Pros -</strong> comfort; luxury; technology.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> insufficient phone storage; average rear headroom.Auto Review: 2018 Subaru Liberty 3.6R