Car Review: Subaru Liberty Premium And 3.6R

An emergency trip to the dentist drives the theme of this latest review of a pigeon-pair of sedans out of the Subaru stable, the Liberty Premium and Liberty 3.6R.

When my first seat back behind the wheel of a Subaru for about a decade put me into not one, but two different models of the Liberty over a couple of weeks, I was at a loss as to how to include both in a review.

A tough late afternoon lie down in the dentist’s chair soon fixed that problem.

As the dentist made even the extremely respectable pricing of the Subaru Liberty range look, for me, unattainable in the foreseeable future, my wife collected the Liberty 3.6R and set the tone for a debate over who would get which car if we actually owned them.

You know… If I was a dentist and could afford both the Liberty Premium at $35,990 and the 3.6R at $42,490.

Of course, my bid was for the top-of-the-line 3.6R with its 6-cylinder, 191kW, 350Nm boxer engine in addition to all standard kit on the Premium… but the wife was having none of that in the hypothetical debate over the “HIS” and “HERS” number plates which would adorn the pair.

I thought the premium finish of both models, the solid feel, and widened range of safety tech featured in both would be enough to distract her from the quite noticeable gap in power.

While the 2.5i Liberty Premium works with a very respectable 129kW and 235Nm from its 4-cylinder engine, the top-line model has a certain kick, and appeal, to it.

The Subaru Liberty Premium. AKA "HERS"

The Subaru Liberty Premium. AKA “HERS”

But no. She noticed. Probably as she put her foot down pulling away from the dentist surgery in bewilderment at the cost of my new porcelain capped chomper.

Moments into my first ride in the (passenger seat) of the 3.6R and I was drooling… so my driver pointed out. I would be lying if I said it was solely based on the Subaru.

I quipped that my driver might like to keep her eyes on the road and stick to driving rather than pass comment on my anaesthetic-inspired state of impairment to which, sharper than the Liberty’s all-wheel-drive assisted handling, she proceeded to point out the countless features of the EyeSight active safety system.

“You do know that it tells you if the car in front of you has pulled away?”

Yes, I did.

I also knew that Vision Assist features have been added to the EyeSight active safety system that was already standard across the board. These include blind-spot monitoring, lane guidance, auto-dimming rear view mirror and high beams, and rear cross traffic alerts.

My driver also knew and was also well-acquainted with the fact the EyeSight system includes adaptive cruise control, auto emergency braking, Pre-Collision Steering Assist and lane departure warning.

Had the pain-killers not have been wearing off, I might have asked her just how far she had actually driven the car on her way to pick me up from that appointment. But I didn’t fancy walking home like a bear with a sore head.

Safely home, my wallet lighter, the drool wiped from my chin and with the Libertys in the driveway, I came to the conclusion that the best number plates for them would be “OURS 1” and “OURS 2”

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