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Is the tribe becoming too big for the faithful family sedan but cannot consign it to the remainder section? Look no further than the Subaru Liberty Exiga seven-seater wagon.
Based on the Liberty platform, the Exiga started life as a six-seater wagon. Now, due to popular demand says the maker Subaru, an extra place has been set for someone in the 2013 Model Year vehicle, which went on sale in July.
The seven-seater comes in two models – the Liberty Exiga 2.5i, which includes a DVD, and the top spec Liberty Exiga 2.5i Premium (our test vehicle), which adds leather trim, satellite navigation, reversing camera, Bluetooth compatibility, eight-way electric driver and front passenger seats, and a new 17-inch alloy wheel design and new-look door mirrors. The former is priced from $37,990, the latter costs from $42,490, both plus on-road costs.
With a model upgrade midway through 2012 the entry-level Exiga added a reversing camera plus dusk sensing headlights and steering wheel Bluetooth controls, voice command, audio streaming, USB connectivity and AUX jack. Dusk sensing headlights were also added to the MY12 Premium model.
Liberty Exiga 2.5i’s factory-fitted 4.3-inch LCD screen displays audio information and reversing camera images. A saving grace on long drawn-out journeys is the roof-mounted, fold-down remote-control DVD system with infra-red wireless headphones which can keep even the most tiresome travellers in the two rows of rear seats occupied.
The wagon is powered by Subaru’s four-cylinder 2.5-litre horizontally opposed boxer petrol engine producing 123kW of power at 5600 rpm and 229 Nm of torque at 4000 revs. Expect to get fuel consumption of 8.6 litres per 100 km, while emitting 202 grams of carbon dioxide every kilometre in the combined urban/highway cycle.
With all seven seats occupied, there’s not much space in the back for two people’s luggage, let alone that for more than half a dozen. With the rear two rows of seats folded there’s a reasonably flat surface to take longer and more bulky items – even a street market marquee folded. Gone is the central storage compartment of the six-seater, but that’s understandable – you can’t expect to have everything.
Designers, it seems, did not spend much time on the exterior, the Exiga having a boxy, old fashioned look. The high sides, however, do make for plenty of head room – 40 mm better than the Liberty – and good visibility all round for the driver.
Liberty Exiga has 16-inch solid disc brakes with aluminium callipers for weight savings of around 1 kg backed up by the latest anti-skid braking system with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist. However, step into the past with an old-fashioned foot operated parking brake. Vehicle Dynamics Control, Subaru’s electronic stability program, is standard and the Exiga has a top five-star ANCAP crash rating for occupant safety and a three-star pedestrian rating.
There’s no arguing with the vehicle’s smooth operation, the new Subaru Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) seeing to that. An adaptive control helps select the optimum gear to suit driving style and road conditions. Driver demanded gearchanges within the CVT, at 100 milliseconds or less, are designed to be almost instantaneous to increase response.
A six-speed manual mode can be engaged by tapping the gear lever across. The steering wheel paddles can then be used for manual shifting. If the speed remains unchanged, the transmission will move back to the Drive mode automatically.
The tilt-and-rake adjustable steering column allows 40 mm of rake adjustment, while dual zone air-conditioning has been refined to reduce engine load and increase fuel efficiency, while double door seals and weather strips optimise window sealing and temperature insulation.
Subaru says comfort, noise, vibration and harshness were high on the designers’ list of priorities. Pity their colleagues did not attach the same importance to outward appearance. However, once you go past the dated ‘maxi taxi’ exterior the Liberty Exiga has much to offer, especially for the larger family, small sports team or groups of friends.
|2.5i||2.5L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$4,400 – 18,888||2012 Subaru Liberty 2012 2.5i Pricing and Specs|
|2.5i GT Premium||2.5L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO||$10,499 – 22,999||2012 Subaru Liberty 2012 2.5i GT Premium Pricing and Specs|
|2.5i Premium||2.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$12,450 – 13,700||2012 Subaru Liberty 2012 2.5i Premium Pricing and Specs|
|2.5i Sports Premium||2.5L, PULP, CVT AUTO||$13,990 – 15,888||2012 Subaru Liberty 2012 2.5i Sports Premium Pricing and Specs|