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COM­FORT, safety, ex­tras — this fam­ily-friendly ve­hi­cle has it all, writes KEVIN HEP­WORTH

HE ar­rival of the fam­i­lyfriendly Ex­iga sixseater wagon puts the fin­ish­ing touches to Subaru’s Lib­erty range.

The Ex­iga is much more than Subaru’s tra­di­tional wag­ons — and though Subaru Aus­tralia is at pains to avoid the poi­son-chal­ice de­scrip­tion of peo­ple-

Tmover, it makes no apolo­gies for the niche na­ture of the lat­est ad­di­tion.

‘‘Lib­erty Ex­iga is a ver­sa­tile fam­ily wagon that adds a new di­men­sion to our mid-size wagon line-up,’’ Subaru Aus­tralia manag­ing di­rec­tor Nick Se­nior said.

‘‘It means we now have the Ex­iga for fam­i­lies need­ing the flex­i­bil­ity of a six-seat cabin, we have five-seat Lib­erty wagon, and for those with a more recre­ational fo­cus, we have the Out­back range.’’

Sales tar­gets for the new model, which starts at $37,490 and runs up to $41,990 for the Pre­mium trim, are mod­est at be­tween 50 and 75 a month, par­tic­u­larly given the value equa­tion of the car, which comes in at up to $7000 less than the price of the equiv­a­lent Lib­erty wagon.

Some of the price dif­fer­ence is in equip­ment-level vari­ance but much of it is down to the Ex­iga not sit­ting on the new­gen­er­a­tion Lib­erty plat­form, but rather on a hy­brid of the Lib­erty and Forester/ Im­preza un­der­pin­nings.

‘‘With the same safety lev­els across all th­ese ve­hi­cles (five stars) it comes down to a life­style choice,’’ Se­nior said.

‘‘With the depth in our medium wagon range we can meet the needs of most cus­tomers.’’

The six-seat lay­out is not ex­actly what Subaru Aus­tralia had hoped for when the Ex­iga was first planned, but with the lack of a cen­tre rear lap-sash seat belt — and no en­gi­neer­ing de­vel­op­ment planned to pro­vide one — the seven-seat ver­sion avail­able in the Ja­panese do­mes­tic mar­ket is not a starter for Aus­tralia.

Without the ex­tra seat­ing ca­pac­ity the Ex­iga does have a roomy in­te­rior and ex­ec­u­tive feel to the cabin, and Subaru Aus­tralia has not stinted on the trim lev­els.

The base car comes with the com­pany’s Lin­eartronic CVT (con­stantly vari­able trans­mis­sion), a DVD en­ter­tain­ment unit with two ra­dio head­sets (more are avail­able as ac­ces­sories) for the rear seat pas­sen­gers, an­ti­skid brakes with elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, six airbags in­clud­ing cur­tain bags, sta­bil­ity con­trol, dual zone air-con­di­tion­ing, rake and reach ad­justable steer­ing, in­di­vid­ual for­ward and aft ad­just­ment on the cen­tre-row seats, rear seat re­cline, 400mm al­loys, and DataDot se­cu­rity.

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