Ours is the last of the series 3 Liberty. I'm surprised the fuel consumption on the new ('04) model is worse than your 2002! All the road tests I've read indicate the new model is more frugal... Over the 6 years we owned it, our '97 2.2 LX wagon gave 31mpg around town. The current 2.5 RX gives 27. I believe that Subaru's tend to run rich, which could explain there relative fuel inefficiency, however, short of an aftermarket ECU, I'm not aware of any way to alter this or otherwise improve fuel consumption.
Thanks for the comments re. the new model.
Thanks for the response, I really have no idea how frequently or infrequently these pages are being read/monitored by yourself or others.
I am astounded by the figures you have quoted for fuel consumption. I also had a (series 1? ie. the one with the inflatable suspension raising the car some 2 inches) Subaru GX 2.2 Litre wagon and I got low fuel economy - about 21-22 mpg with city driving. The MY02 Liberty 2.5 Litre sedan (series 2 or 3?) was much better and gave me about 25 mpg on average, this was my car that was written off - such a shame!
However, my latest Liberty 2.5i sedan (MY04, series 4, I guess?) seems to only give me about 22-23 mpg around town, it definitely seems lower than my previous car. I don't want to sound too harsh - many aspects of the car have been improved. Handling, and in particular front wheel turn-in are greatly improved, the design of the rear end is of course more modern and neater, the body seems stronger/stiffer as well, and the 6 airbags (got the Safety pack model) are welcome. On a negative note - the sound system is awful ie. incredibly 'thin' compared ot the MY02 model - don't know if it's because of an inferior audio unit and/or smaller speakers. Also, the built-in sunroof does not automatically close when the car is off - a great oversight and endangers water/rain damage if you forget the roof is left open!
It could well be that by selecting the "safety pack" you have caused the fuel economy to be reduced. Extra weight etc.
I was interested to read your thoughts about your RX 2.5 Liberty. I've got an MY03 RX 2.5 and find that the fuel economy is pretty good. I consistently get between 550 and 650 k's to a tank.
Part of your problem might be that you are running it on 95RON. This model is supposed to run on 91RON. I tried 95 a few times and it completely changed the car. Poor fuel economy and made it a bit sluggish.
I've installed Header Extractors, a direct air feed and a hiflow diff back muffler. This has transformed the car totally.
Perhaps you do have a dud model as I've got none of the issues you are talking about.
As for poor fuel economy in the GenIV model - don't forget that they are quite a bit heavier than the previous models and if you have an Auto, your car will feel a little more sluggish and fuel economy will be decreased quite a bit more than a manual.