2001 Subaru Liberty GX Wagon 2.0 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


A fun, safe, practical and solid car!


Front under car plastic shield lost a mounting screw, making it fall down at speed... easily fixed.

Water pump replaced at 100,000km.

Rear plastic light strip on the boot has cracked with exposure and collects water, which it deposits on your head when the boot is opened. A replacement part is $600, so I put up with it.

General Comments:

I bought this car from my Grandmother to replace my 1992 model. As such I know its full history, and how it has been driven and looked after its whole life.

The car has been 100% reliable in both city and country driving, completing multiple 1000km plus trips faultlessly.

One of the reasons this car appealed to me was it's 4 star safety rating, 5 headrests and 5 lap sash seat belts to make it safer to have passengers.

The 2L engine is not overly powerful, but easily copes with normal driving; however load the car with 5 people and a boot load of luggage on a hot day with the aircon pumping, and it does start to struggle.

Overtaking performance is alright if you plan ahead. Much better from below 90kph when the transmission will kick down to 2nd gear and hold it to 110kph... if you try from even 91kph, you only get third gear and rather less acceleration. Changing manually doesn't help either.

Also, the transmission is set for economy rather than performance in town, and can sometimes try to hold 3rd gear at roundabouts, giving an unnecessary jerk when accelerating out of roundabouts, or a distinct lack of power when aiming for a gap in traffic. This is solved using the power mode on the transmission or changing manually. Country hills are easily taken in stride with the transmission changing down to 3rd. The larger 2.5L engine in higher models would solve the power struggle.

Cruise control makes for relaxing country cruising, and you don't need to stress about hills when the car does the thinking for you! The engine is incredibly smooth at all revs, and sounds absolutely wonderful when wrung out in the lower gears.

Visibility in all directions is exceptional. The front pillars are thin, preventing the blind spot common in newer cars. The center rear headrest occludes rear vision when in place, but you learn to look around it, and it does block the headlights of the car behind at night which can be handy!! There is storage for it when not in use (put it in upside down).

Economy is good but not exceptional. 8L/100km in the country regardless of load (ie even with 5 people and a full boot and aircon) and 10-11.5L/100km in town depending on load, aircon and traffic.

Services can be expensive; budget about $250 for a minor service and $500-1000 for a major service (like 100,000km)

The cabin is spacious and comfortable for 4 adults, but the middle seat in the back is a tad narrow. Ample leg room though, better than the next model. The outer rear seatbelts have a clever feature that when fully extended, they ratchet the whole way back in to hold child seats in place better. Unfortunately they are not too long, and larger passengers find that they regularly lock when they lean forward, trapping them in the seat and getting progressively tighter with every movement. This can be fixed by removing the seatbelt and retracting it, then putting it back on, but this can be dangerous whilst driving.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive over long distances, if a tad flat and lacking in rearward travel for people much over 6 foot.

The boot holds heaps of luggage and is sensibly shaped for fitting large items. The seats fold flat (with complicated head rest removal) to fit wardrobes or beds in the back. A single mattress just fits with the front seats moved slightly forward. The interior ambiance is peasant, light and airy. The wood grain dash adds a bit of class.

The stereo is fantastic with very clear sound, but the aerial incorporated into the back window is not good at finding reception in the country.

The car handles exceptionally well on bitumen and dirt roads and the ride is always smooth. Large bumps are absorbed without fuss, and heavy loads don't unduly affect the ride or handling.

The AWD system is perfect for beaches and dirt roads, but the lack of ground clearance means you can't attempt anything more challenging. The nose is prone to scraping on steeper driveways.

The car is very stable at speed and not susceptible to cross winds. It is maneuverable at all speeds and particularly fun to drive on twisty roads.

It is quite narrow making parking a breeze, even in tight spots, and the turning circle is relatively tight for the size of the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd May, 2010

2nd Mar 2012, 00:30

Agree with the problem of water into the rear tail light section, but would also list the clutch on the air conditioner as an expensive fault when it occurs - something for you to look forward to.

2001 Subaru Liberty RX 2.5 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Great car, pity about the driving position


I just bought it:

The dealer sold it with only one key. The new remote locking transponder key is an astounding $320 to replace. This is a blatant rip off.

The key barrel in the boot is falling out because of a missing clip and needs to have the whole barrel replaced to fix maybe $50 or so.

General Comments:

The car is tight, has reasonable power and handles well. The cabin and instrumentation are fine. The black upholstery (non leather) shows every bit of dust and dirt.

So far, the biggest issue I have with this car is that it is very hard to get a comfortable driving position. The transmission hump means that the left foot is kind of squeezed into an uncomfortable position for driving and no amount of seat adjustment can rectify it. My previous Eunos 500 had a perfect driving position and brilliant seats. This is a really crucial issue for me. It is like the car was designed for the US market and to make it RH drive compromised the ergonomics.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th September, 2006

21st Dec 2006, 21:35

Yes, I agree that the driver side (L) feet rest is very uncomfortable to rest on. but overall, the car is very well made and very happy with the car at the moment.

7th Feb 2007, 02:29

I'm the guy who wrote the original review. I've had the car for 4 months and done 30,000 km in it. I wanted to make a more comprehensive review of it:

Handling: excellent handling. The car is tight, sharp, has neutral handling, especially pleasing on turn in and on a winding road. Although somewhat lacking in power, it can be driven safely at 160 - 180 km /h, great for overtaking lunatic truckies on the Pacific Highway.

Comfort: Seats are a little flat and hard. I've found a better driving position, sitting pretty close to the wheel, front of the cushion elevated as high as possible and rear of the cushion as low as possible. It's still a little irritating (because I drive a lot of long haul stuff) Steering wheel has nice feel (leather). The transmission is well suited to the engine, with a drop back to third giving adequate power for most overtaking. Car begs to be driven hard, and feels stable and safe, with minimal drama.

Maintenance: Just had the 100,000 km service done. Wow.

Replaced all the fluids, plugs, timing belt as well as the pulleys - total cost $1600 (Australian).

The car looks great, and I really look after it. I cringe when someone with a big 4 wheel drive parks next to me or an old junker - they always open their door on your car and make a dent. Inconsiderate pigs.

Finally, I just took a test drive of a 2002 Liberty B4. My god, I want one. If Bill Gates or someone is reading this, could they please give me $25,000.

The B4 is highly addictive. You plant your foot and it takes off like a rocket. The leather seats are much more comfortable than the RX, and it had a Tiptonic transmission with shift buttons on the MOMO steering wheel, as well as Bilstein suspension and 17 wheels. I loved it. I gotta have one.