2018 Subaru Liberty 3.6R Review

2018 Subaru Liberty Road Test, Review

The mid-size passenger car market is chock full of good cars and the Subaru Liberty is among the best of them.

There’s a huge amount of competition in this segment and while the Toyota Camry chews up most of the sales, rivals like the Mazda6, Skoda Octavia, Hyundai Sonata, and now even the down-sized Holden Commodore, are picking up the crumbs.

The Liberty, once one of, if not the jewel in the Subaru crown, continues to attract a respectable number of buyers each month, although it is a model that probably doesn’t draw the attention it deserves.


The Subaru Liberty has always been a good-looker, the earlier variants in particular cutting a very stylish figure, today though I wonder if it just a little too much like the smaller Impreza?

Regardless, the Liberty is an attractive offering with nice 18″ alloys and LED lights front and rear.

There’s also a comprehensive array of different paint colours on offer, best of all Subaru charges no extra for the metallic/premium finishes.

MY18 Subaru Liberty 3.6R interiorInterior

Pretty much standard Subaru feel and finish on the inside of the 2018 Subaru Liberty, consistency between models is certainly something Subaru must constantly strive for.

Nice seats, nice steering wheel, good visibility and adequate to good legroom front and back feature.

There’s no upper info screen in the centre of the dash like most other Subaru models, but the large centre infotainment screen serves to keep you informed/entertained.

There’s no digital radio though and that is a disappointment.

Reasonably-sized cabin storage areas feature throughout and everything fits together nicely.


Here in the top-spec V6 Subaru Liberty you will find a very strong array of standard gear, including:

  • 11-speaker stereo
  • Sat-nav
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Heated/electric front seats
  • Leather seats (partial)
  • Sports pedals
  • Push-button ignition
  • Electric sunroof

And to keep the traditionalists happy…yes, you get a CD player too!

Drive and Engine

191kW is a fair bit of power – it’s more than what some V8 engines packed just a decade ago, but the Liberty six-cylinder feels somewhat hampered by the Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT).

I’m not a great fan of CVT autos, though I felt that in the turbocharged Subaru Levorg it seemed to work pretty well.

Here though, where a naturally aspirated engine, and one known to now be a high-revving engine, it seems to not really work as well as I would like.

Again, can’t we just have a quality conventional auto transmission?

There are three drive modes available to you – and a fair amount of variation between the three in terms of acceleration, though the different modes do little to change the suspension feel which is particularly floaty in the Liberty.

Soft is the word that comes to mind and the post speed bump bounce is noticable.

Despite this, and with an obvious comfort tune, the Subaru Liberty handles adequately in the bends.


The 2018 Subaru Liberty range is covered by a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating and boasts the full array of EyeSight driver assist systems.

Good Bits

  • Standard features
  • Value for money
  • Styling
  • Fit and finish
  • Generous boot size

Not So Good Bits

  • No digital radio
  • Somewhat dull/dated driving characteristics

MY18 Subaru Liberty 3.6R side and rearSummary

There’s a stack of competition in this segment and the Liberty, with a whole array of comfort and luxury inclusions, is an attractive offering at a sensible price.

Perhaps not as dynamic on the roads as some of the competition, Subaru’s mid-size offering is still comfortable, roomy enough and sophisticated enough to make it worthy of a test-drive.

Facts and Figures: 2018 Subaru Liberty 3.6R

  • Engine: 3.6 litre ‘boxer’ six-cylinder engine producing 191kW/350Nm
  • Transmission: CVT
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Warranty: Three years
  • Origin: Japan
  • Price: from $43,140
2018 Subaru Liberty 3.6R
  • Overall Rating

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