Subaru Liberty Exiga 2009 Review
Subaru has put the finishing touches to its Liberty range with the arrival of the Exiga wagon.
The family-friendly Exiga six-seater is much more than Subaru's traditional wagons — and while Subaru Australia is at pains to avoid the poison chalice description of people-mover 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 says. "It means we have now got 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've got the Outback range."
Pricing and sales
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 under 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 new generation 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 says. "With the depth in our medium wagon range we can meet the needs of the vast majority of customers."
Fit-out and equipment
The six-seat layout is not exactly what Subaru Australia had hoped for when the initial planning of the Exiga was undertaken 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 boast a roomy interior and executive feel to the cabin while 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, ABS, EBD, 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, 16-inch alloys, and DataDot security.
The Premium model adds leather trim, 17-inch alloys, power front seat adjustment, Bluetooth enabled, satellite navigation and reversing camera.
The Exiga cabin, at least in the Premium model we have experienced, is a nice place to be. The seating is comfortable in the front, just as comfortable in the second row and adequate in the rear for a couple of adults short-term. Children or those of smaller stature would be very comfortable riding the third row for any length of time.
While the luggage space when all the seats are deployed suffers similar shortcomings to most other six- and seven-seat models it is better than many in that it is quite useable for a jaunt to the beach, a shopping trip or some very lightly-packed travels.
Fold the seats down using the 50:50 split of the third row and luggage concerns disappear. Utilise the 60:40 split of the second row and you could move house with the Exiga.
Aesthetically the Exiga lacks the immediate charm of the Liberty. It is not unattractive but gives the clear impression of being the progeny of a Subaru that enjoyed a dalliance with a Honda Odyssey.
Dynamically the Exiga loses little to the Liberty it shares a nameplate with. The overall impression is, not surprisingly given its genesis, a little softer and less focussed than the new Liberty range and the nature of a CVT can rob a car — any car — of the feeling of get-up-and-go with its seamless acceleration. You can always use the shift paddles set behind the steering wheel to pretend the gearbox has ratios.
That doesn't make the Exiga sluggish — it isn't, and the proven 2.5-litre engine with its 123kW and 229Nm is a nice match to the car.
Steering is light but pleasantly precise and the ride well suited to Sydney's broken road surfaces with plenty of compliance in the damping without any tendency to wallowing.
Subaru claims a fuel economy of 8.6L/100km in combined cycle driving.
Subaru Liberty Exiga
Price: From $37,490
Engine: 2.5L/4-cylinder Boxer; 123kW/229Nm
Transmission: CVT automatic
Economy: 8.6L/100km (combined cycle)
Range and Specs
|2.5i||2.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$6,990 – 11,990||2009 Subaru Liberty 2009 2.5i Pricing and Specs|
|2.5i GT Premium||2.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$13,888 – 14,990||2009 Subaru Liberty 2009 2.5i GT Premium Pricing and Specs|
|2.5i Heritage||2.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN||$7,590 – 10,670||2009 Subaru Liberty 2009 2.5i Heritage Pricing and Specs|
|2.5i Premium||2.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$5,911 – 13,990||2009 Subaru Liberty 2009 2.5i Premium Pricing and Specs|