Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Subaru Liberty GT
Family firecracker
February 2007

OUR family has had a bizarre and exciting association with the Subaru Liberty.

When we tested one in 2000, the vehicle’s wonderful balance of performance, agility and comfort was put to the ultimate test in an adrenalin-charged blast to hospital, where my wife promptly gave birth to our first son.

The Liberty was also used to safely bring the little miracle home a week later, giving him an excellent introduction to quality motoring.

Three year’s on, it was Ground Hog day as a next generation version of the surefooted Liberty hurtled towards the birthing suite yet again for boy No. 2.

Considering we had tested a different car each week for the three years in between, the coincidence was staggering.

Our look at the latest Liberty GT, fortunately for my nerves, would not involve a baby run.

But if it did, I reckon it would have carved a few minutes off my PB for the hospital dash.

For a family-friendly medium-sized five-seater sedan, this is one slick ride.

Liberty GT has impeccable all-wheel-drive grip and handling, and exhilarating performance. The 0-100km/h dash can be made in a shade under 7 seconds _ then you have to take hold of your emotions, remember the laws of the land and relax your right foot.

At the heart of the GT is the same powerplant _ a 2.5-litre horizontally opposed DOHC turbo _ as the famed Impreza WRX.

For men who might struggle to gain approval from their partners to buy a noted look-at-me street racer like the Rex, this is the perfect option.

“It’s a wonderful family car honey _ there’s room for the kids, plenty of safety and comfort and (whisper this part) will help me achieve a personal goal of being the fastest dad in the street.’’

Liberty GT was previously available only as a 2.0 litre, in one specification. It has not been on sale since late 2005.

One of the biggest steps forward is the introduction of Subaru Intelligent Drive (SI-Drive).

This comes in Subaru’s turbocharged and 3.0 litre Libertys, offering three different driving experiences in the same car.

Drivers have the option to refine performance to suit their preferences by fiddling with a special dial 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.

There is also a steering wheel button to activate Sport # mode.

The modes can be changed while the car is moving.

The instrument panel includes an SI-Drive Multi-Function Display (MFD).

This communicates vehicle behaviour in the different modes. It includes an Eco gauge and Shift-up indicator (manual-only).

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.

However, enthusiastic blokes who love using the sports modes are unlikely to better the Liberty’s average fuel figures of around 10.9 litres per 100km.

The latest Liberty introduces a wide range of innovations including:

-- GT Spec B (Bilstein sports suspension)

-- 18-inch alloy wheels

HID self-levelling high and low-beam Bi-Xenon headlights

-- Telescopic steering wheels

Power driver’s seat with dual memory function

-- Dual zone air conditioning

-- Steering column Sportshift paddle controls, plus steering wheel audio, cruise, Information and SI-Drive controls.

-- Interior refinements across the range

-- Six-stacker in-dash CD players across the range – MP3 and WMA compatible

-- Brake Assist

All new Libertys retain their outstanding independent five star crashworthiness rating for occupant safety, from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

The GT Spec B we tested is priced at $55,990.

For this you get a world-class motor car that offers superb performance, great looks, safety and comfort and exemplary build quality.

It will always be part of our family album



ENGINE: 2.5-litre turbo-charged horizontally-opposed with Active Valve Control

POWER: 184 kW at 6000rpm

TORQUE: 339Nm at 3600rpm

TRANSMISSION: 5-speed Sportshift automatic, All Wheel Drive


0-100km/h: 7 seconds

FUEL ECONOMY: 10.9 litres per 100km (premium unleaded)

PROS: Build quality, handling, safety

CONS: Fuel economy, high price tag

BOTTOM LINE: $55,990 as tested