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Subaru Liberty GT 2004 Review

This particularly blokey Subaru Liberty GT was such a car. The thrill of the traffic light take-off makes life worthwhile with Liberty's turbocharged, two-litre engine and silky gearshift.

But the zero to 50km/h sprint takes less time than you can say "hmmm" and it's back to steady coherence of road rules.

Just like one of my favourite U2 songs – Running to Stand Still.

It makes me wonder why Subaru, which makes its sought-after peppy cousin WRX, bothers with making a more understated version for grown-ups.

Subaru Australia general manager Nick Senior has called it "Subaru's interpretation of a European-style sports sedan".

Surely this Japanese car maker does not have to kowtow to Euro-styling. It already has a loyal fan club of drivers who understand the delights of a boxer engine and its off-road capabilities.

But I'm inclined to think the Liberty GT will be the choice for women, often decision-makers on the type of car a family drives, who must compromise with their men who want the go-fast WRX.

Liberty falls somewhere between the sporting man's plaything and the safety-conscious buyer's choice.

But while WRX owners hold a badge of honour with a car renowned among rally enthusiasts, Liberty GT owners lack the same grunty pedigree.

In fact, its shape and performance seem to blur with other new four-cylinder sedans on the road. I guess that's the problem with compromise.

It has all the things that make you go "VROOM" – engine hole thingy in the bonnet, high-performance tyres, fancy neon-like dash lights, black leather interior.

Under the bonnet, Subaru says the turbocharged engine can take you from zero to 100km/h in 5.7 seconds. Impressive.

Plenty of doof-doof too, with a sound system able to blast out from 13 speakers, squawkers, tweeters, woofers and a "super woofer" on the back shelf.

But the "it" factor is elusive.

Surely Liberty GT is a status symbol for the more family-oriented petrolhead – too young to drive a station wagon; too old not to be laughed at in the sporty WRX.

Costing $52,990, it would perhaps make more sense to pay an extra $2000 for the Liberty GT wagon which has more off-road, camper-cred.

A word of warning – an Australian summer and the skin-baking, sauna-like qualities of a black leather interior are a bad combination ... no matter how good the airconditioning is.

Pricing guides

Based on 65 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

2.5i 2.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $8,990 – 9,990 2009 Subaru Liberty 2009 2.5i Pricing and Specs
2.5i GT Premium 2.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $9,990 – 18,999 2009 Subaru Liberty 2009 2.5i GT Premium Pricing and Specs
2.5i Heritage 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $6,500 – 10,010 2009 Subaru Liberty 2009 2.5i Heritage Pricing and Specs
2.5i Premium 2.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO $8,499 – 10,999 2009 Subaru Liberty 2009 2.5i Premium Pricing and Specs