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Lift for Liberty range
Specification levels and suspension refinement have been targeted in the 2002 Subaru Liberty range
28 Jun 2001
By JUSTIN LACY
SUBARU Australia this week released its 2002 model year Liberty range with the strongest facelift yet seen for the current generation car.
On top of the usual cosmetic changes, Subaru has targeted the Liberty's suspension and specification levels.
Pricing has increased across the range - up $60 and $180 for the GX manual and automatic models respectively, $600 and $720 for the RX manual and automatic and an increase of $600 for both Heritage models.
In the looks department, all MY02 Libertys receive clear-lens headlights with integrated indicators, a chrome grille surround with different mesh inserts for sedan and wagon models and revised front bumper profiles that also differentiate the sedans and wagons.
RX and Heritage models get slightly different fog lights, in line with the new bumpers.
Changes that are harder to spot include a revised bonnet design that is now made from aluminium and additional supports for the rear suspension sub-frame that are claimed to increase strength and benefit handling.
The manual transmission on RX models has been upgraded with a dual mass flywheel to reduce engine and transmission noise, vibration and harshness, as well as providing a smoother clutch action.
Inside there are now twin trip meters and improved lumbar support on the driver's seat, while the wagon models gain adjustable centre rear head restraints.
Seat and door trims on the GX and RX grades have also changed, with a new black pattern for the GX and a revised charcoal grey with black stripe arrangement in the RX.
The Heritage wagon is now fitted with a dash-mounted switch to enable the Vehicle Dynamics Control system to be turned off by the driver - particularly in snow, ice or mud conditions when some degree of wheel spin may be required to engage traction. Under normal circumstances the VDC system would prevent the car's wheels from slipping.
Sales of the Liberty have slowed in the past few months compared to the same period in previous years, but that has been attributed to "supply issues" by Subaru Australia spokesman David Rowley.
"With the introduction of the MY02 model we are hoping to turn that around and with B4 due shortly, we expect the attention it will get as the range-topping car to filter down to the rest of the Liberty range as well," he said.
In August Subaru will add the much anticipated twin-turbo B4 to the Liberty range as a long awaited successor to the RS Turbo.
The delay in bringing the sports-luxury model here means it will also be MY02 specification when it arrives, picking up the revised headlight, bonnet and bumper designs as well as new 17-inch alloy wheels.
The MY02 changes will filter through to the Liberty-based Outback range in the next two months.
For the remainder of the year Subaru is also planning to return an automatic WRX to the Impreza range, as well as adding the high-performance STi model before Christmas.
2002 LIBERTY PRICING
GX (man) $29,990
GX (auto) $31,980
RX (man) $36,980
RX (auto) $38,880
Heritage (auto) $41,890 Wagon
GX (man) $31,860
GX (auto) $33,850
RX (man) $38,290
RX (auto) $40,280
Heritage (auto) $46,590
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