Simon Lai road tests and reviews the 2015 Subaru Liberty 3.6R.
The 2015 Subaru Liberty 3.6R is the supped up version of Subaru’s Liberty range, boasting a 3.6 litre, six cylinder naturally aspirated boxer engine.
This power plant delivers more maximum output than the 2.5i models with 191kW of power and a lot more torque - 350Nm.
The Liberty 3.6R has one more driving mode option on top of the two on offer in the 2.5i versions. Sports sharp delivers a sharper yet acceleration curve (hence the name) coming so steep on the little graphic on the instrument panel, its nearly vertical.
The 3.6R in Sports Sharp is like a caged animal. It just wants to be let out and onto the road. Sure it has powerful and immediate acceleration but is a little sudden and can be hard to contain making for a less comfortable ride. The steering too is not so sure of itself at greater speed.
In its normal mode the 3.6R is frankly more than enough for everyday driving and can easily cope with overtaking and accelerating. When cruising along (like a normal person) it drives like the 2.5 litre variants and is smooth, stable and comfortable and is easy to not notice your speed.
The six cylinder wasn’t generous on the fuel either which comes as no surprise given the size of the engine. It registered a very thirsty 12.1L/100km over 300km of suburban driving.
As mentioned in the review of the Liberty 2.5i Premium, the car info available is very broad and upon checking the car’s short history I found it gauged 11.9L/100km over the 1600km lifetime.
Taking a closer look at the insides and the quality black interior has a high-end feel that is minimalistic with leather seats, glossy highlight panels and the centre console. This is accentuated by the touch sensitive buttons that surround the 7” touch screen adding to the smooth, sleek look on the centre display.
The touch screen itself is one of the best I’ve come across in this price bracket, easy to navigate, responsive, intuitive and with a load of options including car info such as oil temperature, acceleration, fuel economy and a maintenance schedule. Bluetooth was a breeze to connect to my phone.
Not to mention the sat nav is equally as impressive is simple to select destinations, alter them and cancel them.
The colour info screen on the instrument cluster is also a commendable inclusion, providing a whole range of information including digital speedometer, compass, acceleration curve for driving modes, warnings from the sensor cameras and also immediate directions from the sat nav.
Meanwhile, the buttons on the steering wheel controls are neatly arranged and have a relatively hard press, not cumbersome, just firm with a solid fit.
The A/C is button controlled with temperature dials and also features three level heated seats.
Internal features are not too dissimilar from the next spec down and except for the engine the 3.6 doesn’t come with many additional features. It’s equipped with a set of 12 Harmon Kardon speakers for a more pleasurable audio experience plus exterior chrome highlights and dual tailpipe, but doesn’t have auto start/stop.
One other minor irritation were the door locks which were very audible making a loud clacking sound when locking. Also, no auto locking function was seemingly available.
Space in the cabin is large giving ample legroom even in the back. While storage is adequate highlighted by the centre console hutch with soft touch open and close and the big centre box that seconds as a wide arm rest. Boot space too is long and wide.
The final attractive thing about the 3.6R is the price tag just over forty grand with prices starting at $41,990. I expected to pay more for the features they offer.
The Subaru Liberty 3.6R was definitely fun to drive but the more sedate and economical 2.5i Premium is more than adequate. Though I wouldn’t mind having either of them parked in my garage.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Subaru Liberty 3.6R
Engine: 3.6 litre petrol producing 191kW and 350Nm
Transmission: Six-speed CVT
Warranty: 3 year Unlimited km
Safety: Five Stars
Price: From $41,990