A Suba dooper van
The seven-seater Subaru Exiga could be on our shores soon, write PETER LYON and PAUL GOVER
AMINIVAN with a difference is getting closer to showrooms in Australia. The Subaru Exiga, which lines up closest to the Mazda CX-7 in a new-model showdown, is being assessed for a local launch and has already impressed the top man at Subaru Australia.
‘‘It is a category breaker. It ticks a number of boxes and follows the pattern set by the Forester and Outback,’’ Nick Senior says.
‘‘We’re calling it a versatile utility vehicle. It drives like one of our driver’s channel cars, but is versatile, with seven seats.’’
A first look at the all-new Exiga people mover in Japan points to a stretched Outback, and it does borrow heavily from the Liberty, Impreza and Forester.
But the Exiga is genuinely new, and taps the time of the original oil shocks in the 1970s. It is priced from about $45,000.
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The Exiga is slightly wider, longer and taller than the Outback, the extra roof height ensuring third-row passengers get plenty of headroom.
Its 80mm-longer wheelbase also aids in maximizing rear seat legroom, and in a car that is less than 10mm longer than the Outback.
Having botched several exterior designs big-time, including the 2000 bug-eyed Impreza, Subaru decided to play it safe with the Exiga.
The basic shape will date quickly and the only redeeming features are its wing-inspired grille, large sunroof and wide rear-door windows with superb visibility.
But it is a superbly assembled jigsaw puzzle of the very best Subaru technology, picking up the front end of the Forester with a new tail and the Impreza’s doublewishbone suspension.
The Forester also donated its engine, and the five-speed automatic with SI-Drive and brakes comes from the Liberty.
Ride quality and comfort levels, too, are in class-leading territory.
Subaru originally built the Exiga for Japan. Subaru US decided it would be too small, but Australia is keen and Senior is pushing.
Influence: the Exiga borrows heavily from the Liberty, Impreza and Forester.