Subaru’s seven-seat Exiga: first pictures

Published: 17 June 2008

This is the Exiga, Subaru’s rather straightlaced seven-seat people carrier, designed to bridge the gap between the current Legacy and Tribeca. Based on existing Legacy architecture, the Exiga has a long 2750mm wheelbase, and at 4750mm long, 1775mm wide and 1660mm high, it’s roughly the same size as Ford’s S-Max.

There’s a choice of two engines – both 2.0-litre petrols and both flat fours. The 148bhp naturally aspirated boxer is hooked up to a four-speed automatic (when was the last time you heard of a new model arriving with a four-speed auto?) while the punchier 225bhp gets a five-cog self-shifter. Scooby anoraks will be delighted to learn that the standard car gets a plain-jane grille, while the turbo enjoys ‘a powerful wing-shape embellishment in dark plating on a metal mesh background’. Nifty. Four-wheel drive is standard, of course.

It’s not the most exciting car to look at…

Yup, style icon it most certainly is not, but the Exiga does have some neat design touches. When not in use, the third row of seats fold flat, and each row of seats is higher than the one before it, creating a theatre-like layout so all passengers get a decent view out, with the airy cabin feeling helped by the full-length sunroof. The left and right seats in the second row slide fore and aft, the rear doors open up to almost right angles for easier access to the third row, while the compact double-wishbone suspension and trick fuel tank have created a flat floor for third-row passengers.

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When does it arrive here?

It doesn't. At the moment, the Exiga will only be sold in Japan – there are no moves as yet to sell it outside its domestic market. But Europe – and the UK in particular –are keen to get the seven-seater over here to bolster the Subaru line-up. 'We’re pushing hard for it here the UK,’ said a Subaru insider, ‘but we’d only take it with turbodiesel power. And unfortunately that looks pretty unlikely – if it did get the green light, we’d be looking at least two years from now. Subaru in Japan hasn't really thought this through properly.'

Powered by the Legacy’s punchy turbo-diesel, and the Exiga becomes oddly desirable – or does it?

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars