Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Simplicity and Space Combine; Grant Edwards Finds a Sedan That Leans toward Function over Flair

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Simplicity and Space Combine; Grant Edwards Finds a Sedan That Leans toward Function over Flair

Article excerpt

THINGS are beginning to hot up in the mid-size sedan kitchen.

For some time it has been the domain of the dowdy and utilitarian. But the crowd is building as car makers fight for territory in wide-ranging segments.

Holden recently released its Malibu to replace the infamous Epica, while a reinvigorated Mazda6 reached showrooms late last year.

European and Korean offerings have also joined the battle in recent times, but the Japanese are holding firm as segment leaders.

Toyota's Camry has been a firm favourite, yet Subaru has also enjoyed steady sales with its Liberty range.

With generous interior space, all-wheel drive technology and an excellent reliability reputation, it's a formula that has led to strong buyer satisfaction.

Comfort

Functionality comes to the fore across the Subaru range.

Like its stablemates, you step inside the Liberty and the layout makes sense. The buttons are easily read, and you don't need to dive into the glovebox to explain various buttons.

The Premium model has a dark colour scheme, the black leather trim and console finishes are broken up by a horizontal metallic strip across the dash along with modern brushed metal inserts on the console which also flank the stereo/air con controls.

For the pilot there are two larger gauges, tacho on the left and speedo on the right, while centrally placed is a digital read-out which has a real-time fuel economy meter.

Unlike many other modern day vehicles you don't need a digital speedometer because the analogue offering is nicely legible. When you fire up the cruise control it does provide you with an exact speed.

Cabin space is particularly good for four adults courtesy of good leg and knee room. Some rivals have steeply raked exterior lines which reduces head room but the Liberty is more traditional in its styling and those in the back are thankful.

There are also vents in the rear seats for added comfort.

On the road

Nothing is complicated or hard work about the Liberty driving experience.

Direct steering, reasonable acceleration and all-wheel drive grip deliver predictability.

Sprint times of just less than 10 seconds for 0-100kmh are proof this is not a souped-up sedan in sheep's clothing, with constant power delivery rather than neck-snapping. …

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