Subaru Liberty 2015 review
Murray Hubbard road tests and reviews the Subaru Liberty with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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Sales of midsize SUVs are double those of similarly sized sedans and the trend isn't showing any signs of changing.
Elevating the ego and the drive height is one thing; ignoring the better dynamics of a lower, longer car is another.
The Mazda6 is a case in point. It's cheaper, roomier and better to drive than the company's undeniably good CX-5 SUV — yet the latter outsold the 6 by four to one last year.
A major equipment upgrade and minor price trims won't reverse that trend but should keep the Mazda6 at the top of the midsize list for private buyers.
A quick look at the exterior shows there's ... nothing to see. The changes run to a more chiselled grille, changes to the front and rear light clusters, new alloy wheels and a smaller sharkfin antenna.
Far more attention has been paid to the interior, with a new, higher-mounted seven-inch touchscreen with satnav and the latest MZD Connect multimedia software.
An electric parking brake frees up space for a Sport switch (on petrol models) next to the transmission lever. The redesign also give more space for the rotary infotainment controller. The GT and Atenza variants gain a "repeater" head-up display that projects functions such as speed on to a plastic screen mounted in front of the steering wheel.
More alloy finished headlights are intended to enhance premium feel and the seat cushions have been reworked to improve long-distance comfort.
Sluggish traffic highlights the refinement of the petrol engine's stop-start mechanism. The Mazda6 fires up as soon as pressure starts to ease off the brake pedal, meaning the engine is firing as the foot transfers to the accelerator, so there's no lag.
The sedan is then sprightly off the line and the six-speed automatic transmission shifts like a precision watch. All-round vision is good and all variants have a reversing camera.
The wide-opening rear doors are a boon for those cramming kids into car seats
The wide-opening rear doors are a boon for those cramming kids into car seats and the boot has decent space for a family of four, limited only by the lack of height imposed by the sloping roofline.
Opt for the equally good-looking wagon (at a $1300 premium) and you get 506L of room, extending to 1648L with the rear seats folded.
Good looks are backed up by good manners. The suspension absorbs small bumps with aplomb and takes the edges off the bigger or faster hits without bouncing the occupants.
Mazda has improved insulation on the roof, firewall and body to help keep exterior noise from the cabin.
This is the best handling car in the midsize field
By and large it works, though the petrol engine is audible at hard revs. Even then the sound from up front is a willing mechanical buzz rather than an asthmatic clutter.
The range-topping Atenza now has suite of advanced driver aids, from lane departure and blind spot warnings to adaptive LED headlamps and auto-braking. The technology can be optioned in the lower models at a cost of just on $1000 (depending on variant).
This is the best handling car in the midsize field. The Mazda's willingness to fire around corners — and hold its line over ruts — sets it apart from the mundane models that are purely family transport.
This makes it the pick for drivers who enjoy the occasional solo run through the hills. The light steering doesn't mask the tactile response that alerts drivers they're nearing the limit before things get ugly.
The Mazda6 makes a compelling argument for midsize sedan ownership
Despite its willingness to perform, the Mazda officially uses 6.6L/100km. Carsguide got to 8.0L on the Touring sedan we tested with little regard for economy.
The Mazda6 makes a compelling argument for midsize sedan ownership. It probably won't dissuade the majority from stepping up into an SUV but those who sample its charms could well be turned back to a conventional car.
Power front seats with leather trim, LED headlamps, Bose audio, seven-inch touchscreen with satnav, cruise control.
Auto-dimming rearview mirror, head-up display, keyless entry, powered sunroof.
The standard three year/unlimited km warranty is backed by 10,000km service intervals and capped price servicing that will cost $1875 for the first 60,000km. Glass's Guide predicts a 54 per cent resale value for the Touring model.
If leather seats aren't a priority, buyers can save almost $4000 with the base Sport version. It still looks and drives as well as dearer models.
|Atenza||2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$19,990 – 25,950||2015 Mazda 6 2015 Atenza Pricing and Specs|
|GT||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$16,990 – 24,999||2015 Mazda 6 2015 GT Pricing and Specs|
|GT Safety||2.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$21,987 – 23,555||2015 Mazda 6 2015 GT Safety Pricing and Specs|
|Sport||2.5L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO||$9,990 – 21,999||2015 Mazda 6 2015 Sport Pricing and Specs|