Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

It'll Change Your Mind; Try Rising above Your Prejudices and Give This Grunty Subaru the Time of Day

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

It'll Change Your Mind; Try Rising above Your Prejudices and Give This Grunty Subaru the Time of Day

Article excerpt

RELATIONSHIPS, especially when they are first starting out, can be tricky affairs.

Of course there is all the good stuff - the exhilaration of meeting someone new, the butterflies in the tummy, the adventure of discovery.

And then there are things that require a bit more effort - compromise, giving up that last bit of chocolate, allowing them to pick the movie.

Probably one of the most hair-raising bits is meeting their friends, people they have known for years, partied with, holidayed with and just generally run amok with. Sometimes they are warm and accommodating and generous in spirit which makes for a rather pleasant experience and new friendships are born. Sometimes they are not.

My husband has a friend (or as I like to call him, a "former" friend) who fits snugly into the latter category. A jealous, self-involved, mean-spirited spoilt brat who cares not one iota for anyone else's feelings. Legend has it that in the days when you could get a beer and steak for $5 and boardies were the accepted dress in nightclubs, he was a lot of fun.

Hmmm.

He drives a Subaru.

I hate Subarus.

Well, I did, that is until I was forced to step into the Subaru Liberty sedan. I had done so well to avoid them for so many years, even crossing the road so I didn't have to walk next to one. I tarred the car and its drivers with an unforgiving brush, refusing to even entertain discussion that it was a credit to its Japanese manufacturers.

How mean spirited.

Now I am happy to gulp down my humble pie, happy to acknowledge that Subaru has much to be proud of, happy to enjoy the ride.

Comfort

An increase in length between the front and rear axle as well as an adjustment in width allows all passengers to travel in comfort. The body structure is bigger and safer while the cabin is well laid out and somewhat stylish. The hard plastics seemed a bit dark but quality remains apparent. The introduction of an electronic park brake frees up some space between the front seats that can now be used for extra storage and holding the obligatory takeaway coffee cup. The driver's seat is electronically adjustable and certainly not sparing with comfort. The dash has that innate sporty feel with the blue circles lighting up in a brilliant white at night. The temperature gauge has been replaced by an econo-gauge that lets you know when you're gulping down fuel.

On the road

Significant changes to the turbocharger and intercooler have resulted in an increase in power and torque in the 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with, more importantly, the peak torque now available across a broader rev range. The Liberty is an excellent performer on the bitumen, its all-wheel drive nature putting paid to torque steer and wheel spin. It is thrillingly powerful and acceleration so effortless that you really have to watch the downward pressure on your right foot. …

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