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Subaru has chosen the 2019 Chicago Auto Show to unveil the seventh-generation Subaru Liberty, which is now based on the same SGA (Subaru Global Architecture) platform as the new Forester, Impreza and XV. Yet surprisingly, it’s not yet confirmed for Australia.
While the 2020 Subaru Liberty appears stylistically similar to the previous model, the car features a higher quality interior, much more technology and the return to a turbo-petrol engine in the form of a new 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit that replaces the 3.6-litre six in the Liberty 3.6R.
But while the new Liberty appears to be a big improvement on the current model, its Australian release is yet to be confirmed thanks to a cloud hanging over its right-hand drive production future.
Subaru Australia is yet to confirm a local on-sale for the car, saying its release is “unconfirmed at this time.”
While we cannot confirm (or deny) the car’s local arrival just yet, we can tell you all about it.
Subaru claims the new platform makes the 2020 Liberty more dynamic and better riding than ever before, thanks to a 13 percent increase in ultra-high tensile strength steel and a 371 percent increase in structural adhesive compared with the Impreza.
The body of the 2020 Liberty claimed to be up to 70 percent stiffer than before.
While the exterior of the 2020 Liberty is best described as evolutionary, the interior is a big improvement on the basic current model.
It’s clear there's been a push upmarket, with Nappa leather upholstery offered on high-grade models, leather on the dashboard and a huge 11.6-inch portrait touchscreen running Subaru’s 'Starlink' software.
All models in the US will be equipped with the company’s 'EyeSight' active safety technology with adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist and autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection as standard.
Measuring 4840mm long, 1840mm wide, and 1500mm tall, with a 2750mm-long wheelbase, the 2020 Liberty is 40mm longer than the previous model, yet curiously, all other dimensions remain the same.
The overall increase in length has allowed the Liberty’s boot floor length to grow and the North American specification has grown to 428-litres - though the current Australian model offers 493-litres, perhaps due to a smaller spare tyre.
Sitting on the 'Subaru Global Architecture' means the 2020 Liberty uses new engines - the 136kW/239Nm 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four from the Forester, and a new 194kW/376Nm 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that’s currently only currently used in the Ascent SUV in North America.
Replacing the current 3.6-litre six-cylinder engine (used in the Liberty and Outback 3.6R), the new 2.4-litre turbo engine is capable of a 6.1 second 0-97km/h (60mph) sprint - 2.3 seconds quicker than the base 2.5-litre engine.
While it offers more power than the previous 3.6-litre engine, the 2.4 turbo should also prove more efficient - the Liberty 3.6R is rated at 9.9L/100km on a combined cycle.
While the 2020 Subaru Liberty appears to be a big improvement on the current model, it is yet to be confirmed for right-hand drive production, let alone Australian sales.
We do predict the new generation Outback to make it locally, though that is unlikely to happen before 2020.