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Subaru Liberty ends 31 year run in Australia with 2021 Final Edition model

3 months ago

A final chance to snap up a Subaru Liberty in Australia before the badge is discontinued early next year.


Subaru’s slow selling Liberty sedan will be offered to Australians for the last time in a new, aggressive-looking Final Edition specification after the Japanese automaker confirmed in September that it was killing off the once-popular sedan, with the brand opting not to import to Australia the all-new Liberty already on sale in the United States.

Based on the 2.5i Premium, Subaru will bring 31 examples of the Liberty Final Edition to Australia – one for each of the years that this badge has been available on the local market. The 2021 Liberty Final Edition will be fitted with over $6,400 of extra equipment, Subaru says, but with a price increase of only $1,990, making the final send off $39,930 before on roads.

The Subaru Liberty’s three-decade run in Australia was punctuated by Wheels car of the year win in 1994. The model, which wears the Legacy badge in overseas markets, was renamed Liberty for Australia in a move deferential to local veterans’ support charity, Legacy Australia.

Rapidly declining sales led to the killing-off of the Subaru Liberty for Australia.

Subaru has hardened up the outer appearance with a STI front lip spoiler, a rear boot lip spoiler, a painted mesh grill, 18-inch STI alloy wheels and a series of black accents including the badging and mirror caps.

The last Liberty will be a more pleasant place to spend time thanks to the addition of a Harman Kardon sound system, along with Ultrasuede inserts in the seats and interior and a smattering of blue stitching added on the steering wheel, seats, armrests and dash.

A choice of three colours have been shipped to Australia: a magnetite Grey with black wheels, crystal black with silver wheels, and crystal white with gunmetal wheels.

Subaru Liberty Final Edition 2021 badge
The 31 ‘Final Edition’ examples bear a numbered plaque near the gear shifter.

Subaru Australia general manager Blair Read said the Liberty deserved a proper send off after 31 straight years in our market.

“We wanted to mark the end of Liberty’s distinguished history with the brand in a truly exclusive way and these individually numbered vehicles are a tribute to what it has contributed to Subaru over more than three decades,” he said.

The death of the Liberty has been a long time coming. With the rise of SUV popularity, sales for sedans have fallen through the floor, with less and less being sold each year.

Subaru Liberty 2004 fourth generation sedan
For many Subaru fans, the fourth-generation Liberty (2003-2009) remains this car’s high watermark.

Subaru sold 760 Liberty sedans so far this year, a number that was a healthier 1,205 this time last year. The 2020 sales are also in stark contrast to that of the Toyota Camry that managed to buck the trend and sell 11,164 units in the same period. Other alternatives that remain on the market include the incoming Hyundai Sonata N-Line and the Mazda 6.

We at Chasing Cars still believe sedans much to offer with examples such as the BMW 330i showing how well they can blend everyday usability, a nice ride and keen driving dynamics that many SUVs just can’t seem to match. However, market preferences for crossovers reflect the additional practicality and rugged image that a sedan simply doesn’t provide.

Those still wanting to buy a Subaru passenger car, without climbing into an SUV, will now have to seek out the Outback, with the raised wagon based on the Liberty’s underpinnings – and will feel familiar to past owners of the sedan.

Subaru Liberty 1994 second generation
The second-generation Liberty was a Wheels car of the year winner in 1994.

Subaru Australia’s corporate affairs manager, David Rowley, recently confirmed to Chasing Cars that the all-new, 2021 Outback would soon be on sale locally.

“The new Subaru Outback should be on sale in around the end of quarter one, or March next year,” he said.

The incoming Outback wagon is offered in the North American market with a carryover 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine making 136kW/239Nm, or a new 2.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol producing a healthier 194kW and 375Nm.

A rear view of the Liberty Final Edition for 2021.