An atmo flat-six with 191kW and 350Nm sounds pretty good doesn’t it? However, in the case of the 2018 Subaru Liberty 3.6R, it doesn’t sound like much.
From the driver’s seat of the top-spec Liberty sedan, there’s not a lot to listen to except for road noise on some of our rougher Aussie roads – or whatever you’ve got playing through the speakers.
But the Liberty 3.6R is actually a good car. In fact, on a highway with a long drive ahead, it ticks quite a few boxes. It’s comfortable thanks to soft suspension, holds on well with wet or loose surfaces, pulls up faster than it feels it should, and when the CVT puts revs in the right place, will overtake with no problems.
Unfortunately, some of these traits also have a trade-off. It’s not a very fun car to drive.
Whichcar Range Review: 2018 Subaru Liberty
The engine feels like it’s not using all of its power, which often comes down to the CVT feeling sluggish in its responses. Subaru’s SI-Drive goes some of the way to addressing this with “S#’, or sports sharp mode, though this turns the throttle into a very touchy, almost binary thing.
The dampers, while comfy, make the Liberty feel a bit muted and remove some of the confidence an AWD system grants you. Capable Dunlop SP Sport Maxx tyres go some of the way to remedying this, but it’s not going to raise the adrenalin.
In pictures: 30 years of STI
But that’s okay, because the interior doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a fun car, rather a nice, cushy car. Its styling is inoffensive, and the touch points are all well thought-out.
It’s not MOTOR’s cup of tea for hard driving, but it’s difficult to argue with a car that feels pleasant if you’re not in a rush.
Nothing tepid, only the hot stuff on MOTOR reviews
2018 SUBARU LIBERTY 3.6R SPECS:
Engine: 3630cc flat-6, DOHC, 24v
Power: 191kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 350Nm @ 4400rpm
0-100km/h: 7.2sec (claimed)