Seven go Subaru
The wagon that gives you a little extra Liberty
THE options available to car buyers can be bewildering. Where once they chose a sedan or a wagon, today they have a vast range of choices, models that are targeted at specific market segments.
Families can pick from sedans, wagons, SUVs and people-movers, with many of these blurring the boundaries between vehicle types. Subaru’s Exiga is one such. It looks for all the world like a compact people-mover, but Subaru insists the vehicle is a family wagon, just a bit bigger than most.
The Exiga has a sort of utilitarian look, like most people-movers. It comes from its tall stance and boxy shape. It was conceived to fit into the Liberty range alongside the regular Liberty wagon and the Outback, giving larger families the benefit of a roomier cabin with the feel and finish of a regular Subaru.
Underneath the Exiga was a mix of Liberty and Forester/ Impreza. Inside there was plenty of accommodation for six, with comfortable front seats and equally comfortable second row seating.
The third row is really there for kids, and there’s ample room for them, yet it’s adequate for a couple of adults if you aren’t going too far.
With all seats up and in position there isn’t a lot of room for luggage behind the third row, but when the 50-50 split third row is folded there’s heaps, and with the 60-40 split second row folded there’s even more.
A well-proven 2.5-litre fourcylinder engine powers the Exiga with more than sufficient punch for the task at hand.
There’s just one transmission available, a CVT auto, which was perfectly suited to the job of shifting a family.
The CVT is not renowned for its sportiness, but the Exiga was a pleasant, steady driver. When it needed to be stirred along you could resort to the manual shift paddles and make like a manual.
As with all Subarus, the Exiga has the safety of allwheel drive, which added to its appeal. It’s well-equipped with dual-zone aircon, DVD entertainment, cruise, remote central locking and power windows and mirrors.
With a five-star tick from ANCAP, you could expect it to come with all the safety bells and whistles, and it did, with a raft of airbags, full anti-lock braking, and stability control the main features.
Subarus in general give little trouble and the Exiga possesses those family traits.
Servicing is all-important, always has been, but it’s even more crucial in the modern car with its fine tolerances. Missed or delayed oil changes can be terminal, so it’s vital that the servicing is maintained as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Given that the Exiga uses a CVT, it’s important to conduct a thorough road test, looking for any glitches in its operation. There are no specific reports of issues with the Subaru transmission (in contrast with the numerous reports of issues with the CVTs of other makes).
When testing a car equipped with CVT, drive it in as many situations as possible: highway speed, urban driving speed, walking speed, manoeuvring, parking and reversing. Try to take off on an incline, going forward and backwards. Observe for shuddering, particularly on take-off, hesitations, surging, or anything else that doesn’t seem quite right.
Make the usual checks for a service record to ensure the work has been done as required, and ask about oil use as Subarus can get through a little oil.
Exiga has a roomier cabin with the feel and finish of a ‘‘regular’’
SMITHY SAYS A practical family car — unlike most compact SUVs.