Subaru Australia has confirmed the new sixth-generation Liberty medium sedan will arrive in Australia in January 2015. The new model will present a more premium look that incorporates the WRX's 'hawk-eye' headlights and hexagonal grille.
Although pricing and details wo't be confirmed until December 2014, the Japanese company confirmed the sporty-looking Liberty will benefit from the most advanced version of its EyeSight driver assist system.
Eyesight features a collection of cameras, radars and sensors that can intervene to reduce the impact of – or even avoid – collisions by automatically applying the brakes and even steering the car. Subaru Australia says the advanced safety technology reduces the cost of ownership. Some insurers already offer premium reductions on cars equipped with EyeSight, including Allianz and IAG.
All variants of the new Subaru Liberty will be equipped as standard with the EyeSight safety technology, which now add features like brake light recognition and pre-collision steering assist. The various sensors dotted around the car have also been upgraded, providing "approximately 40 per cent improvement in distance and wide angle range" says the importer.
The full list of upgrades to EyeSight are as follows:
- Pre-Collision Braking – augmented with braking assistance.
- Pre-Collision Steering Assist – if the possibility of collision with a vehicle or obstacle in front occurs, Vehicle Dynamics Control activates to assist the driver in potentially avoiding it.
- Adaptive Cruise Control – improved performance when a vehicle cuts in front of the car during traffic jams and on highways. There are four levels of inter-vehicle distance setting.
- Overall performance improvement – uses latest 3D image processing for easier recognition of lateral and distant vehicles, stabilizing control in all speed zones and improving pedestrian pre-collision detection.
- Logic Improvements - contributes to better system operation, helping maintain performance in bad weather conditions.
- Structural revisions - Cameras are positioned closer to the windscreen to reduce cabin intrusion.
As well as a focus on safety, the next Liberty will build on quality and refinement says the company. Interiors feature a new infotainment system with a large touchscreen incorporating satellite navigation and harman/kardon speakers. New interior materials will also up the luxury ante, and more room is also expected.
The 2015 Subaru Liberty's new chassis gets new brakes, suspension and steering. A stiffer body is also claimed to improved noise, vibration and harshness levels.
Subaru Australia Managing Director, Nick Senior, said the safety updates in particular will ensure renewed interest in the sixth-generation Liberty.
"EyeSight driver assist takes our safety commitment even further, potentially preventing collisions or reducing the severity," Senior stated.
"Another hidden benefit of EyeSight is that, if a collision does occur, the [windscreen mounted] position of the cameras helps avoid potentially costly damage to them. Some competing systems have sensors and equipment located right at the front of the car, including the grille, and this can be an expensive repair exercise," he said.
Engines have not yet been confirmed, but Subaru Liberty cars making their way to Australia are likely to get similar engine type to the US, where the car is called the Legacy. That means 2.5-litre four-cylinder (130kW) and 3.6-litre six-cylinder (190kW) boxer engines. Subaru and Porsche are the only mainstream car-makers that use the boxer or horizontally opposed engine configuration.
Gearboxes will include Subaru’s Lineartronic continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with steering wheel paddles for the six-speed 'manual' mode. There has been no talk of the turbocharged 2.5-litre boxer four at this stage.
Subaru has canned the Liberty wagon. An alternative model, the Levorg, could be sold in Australia instead. Otherwise wagon duties will be left to the Outback.
Sales of the Subaru Liberty in Australia have been slow for the first nine months of 2014, with just 793 vehicles finding homes. This just 2.1 per cent of the medium car segment in which the Subaru competes which competes with the likes of Mazda6, Skoda Octavia, Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Passat.
Liberty is even outsold by the Kia Optima's 1046 units (2.8 per cent). The top-selling car in the category is the Toyota Camry with 15,781 units, or 42.6 per cent market share.
As can be found at www.carsales.com.au
Whilst we are yet to hear any confirmed specs for the engine and ECU combination we are hopeful that there will be means to use EcuTeK tuning software to allow access and customing tuning of the ECU, as we have done for many years with almost all of the turbo model Liberties, Imprezas and Foresters.
Keep an eye out in early January as we are hopeful that we will have had the chance to check out this new model and begin to give perspective new owners an idea of what products we will be able to offer them.