• Jun 25, 2008
Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2008 Subaru Exiga.

When we showed you Subaru's new MPV last week your response was pretty much unanimous: man that is fugly. The car's reception on the other side of the Pacific has been a lot warmer though, particularly for the headlights' signature blue flash; the only criticism is that it's taken Subaru way too long to get this car to market.

Make the jump to read our initial impressions of the Subaru Exiga.



Photos Copyright ©2008 Justin Gardiner / Weblogs, Inc.

The Legacy is the best selling station wagon in Japan, and has been since its inception, but that hasn't stopped its sales figures plummeting as Japanese family men abandoned the old two box format for MPVs, minivans and crossovers largely because they're larger, or more specifically, because they safely seat six, seven, or at a stretch, eight.

While Japan's birth rate may be one of the lowest in the world, multi-generational homes are still common, so when granddad, grandma, dad, mom and the kids head to the ancestral home in the boonies, five seatbelts just won't cut it. Subaru worked on a minivan for a few years, but the prototypes handled like, well, vans and the powers that be decided that they were not Subaru-rashii; they didn't have that thing that makes a Subaru a Subaru.

Plan B was obvious: take a Legacy, stretch the wheelbase a bit, chuck a couple of seats in the trunk but keep the center of gravity nice and low. And on roads clogged with boxy MPVs ( Toyota alone make 10 different models) the result doesn't look half bad. Most importantly it drives more like a car than any of its competitors. The only Japanese seven-seater that comes close to matching the Exiga's handling and performance is the unimaginatively named Mazda MPV, but only when bought in 2.3-liter turbo guise.

Which brings us to the Exiga's choice of power plants. Citing concerns about rising fuel prices and the environment Subaru only offer the Exiga with their EJ20 two-liter motor in either turbocharged or naturally aspirated forms. Now come on Subaru, is a two-liter, being flogged within an inch of its life in order to keep 2000 kgs of Exiga and occupants moving at a fair clip, any more economical or ecological than an EJ25, or better still, Fuji Heavy Industries superb flat-six 3.0 riding on their more prodigious torque curves?

The EJ20 does struggle when the car is fully loaded, particularly the non-turbo, but when you've got the car to yourself the Exiga feels surprisingly sprightly, even nimble. Don't kid yourself, you won't be seeing Petter Solberg catching big air in one anytime soon, but if you fancy a quick blast down a winding road after you drop the kids off at school, the Exiga GT will do nicely.



Inside the rearmost seats are fine for kids of childseat age and above, but anyone over 5' 2" won't want to spend a lot of time back there as the seat cushions are set too close to the floor to provide under thigh support. Elbow room isn't bad considering the scant external dimensions of the car and even with the third row full, non-NBA playing mid-row occupants won't be jamming their knees into the driver's back.

So how much bigger is the Exiga over the Legacy? Just 6cms longer, 4.5cms wider and 9cms taller, while the wheelbase has been stretched a full 15cms (6"), but somehow Subaru have kept its curb weight down to a nigh on identical 1,500(ish) kilos. More importantly the cabin is a whopping 88cms longer, 6.5cms wider with 8.5cms more headroom.

So would you like to see the Exiga sold Stateside? You tell us, because we can promise you that the top brass at Subaru are reading.



Photos Copyright ©2008 Justin Gardiner / Weblogs, Inc.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't hate this car, but they should have kept the concept headlights. It's just disappointing to see that Subaru still doesn't have the testicular fortitude to try anything stylistically brave with their cars. Don't get me wrong, I own an LGT and love it, but still think it could be a hell of a lot more aggressive looking.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Subaru used to be stylistically brave with some cars (XT, SVT, Tribeca) and prior to the mid-80s all their cars were "quirky." They have done better than they ever have by sticky with blah (unfortunately). The Exiga is almost the height of blah.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have a '05 Legacy GT wagon. I get compliments all the time. Of course, you can't get a legacy wagon no mo.
        FEW
        • 6 Years Ago
        im lookin to buy the LGT - am pretty serious about shopping for it at this point - havin a hard time finding one in white, manual and w/o the spoiler ... any suggestions?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I dunno. I agree with you to an extent, but not completely. We've got a blue '08 Legacy GT. Personally, I think it's a damn good looking car. It is not, as you said, very aggressive. But it's clean. I think it's a much better looking car than say, the Camry or the Passat. What would you do differently to make their cars more aggressive?
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Geeky1
        I agree with you completely. I think it looks good -- it's very clean but it doesn't really stand out in a crowd (in stock form). I like it when a car raises your pulse as soon as you see it. That's just me.

        @Frank
        Good call, you'll love it. Finding an LGT without a wing is going to be tricky, though. They're out there, but not as easy to find as the ones with wings. If I were you, I'd buy one with a wing, remove it, have a body shop fill and respray the deck lid, then sell the wing on the forums at legacygt.com. You'll probably come pretty close to breaking even.
      • 6 Years Ago
      We are in the market for a family hauler.

      Our criteria are:

      Seats 6-7
      Highway MPG: 28+
      Price:
        • 6 Years Ago
        Not sure why that got cut off...

        Lets try again:
        We are in the market for a family hauler.

        Our criteria are:

        Seats 6-7
        Highway MPG: 28+
        Price:
      • 6 Years Ago
      I quite like it and would consider it over the Tribecca! I am also a 2004 Forester owner in need of a replacement soon...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Bleech, I am not a fan. I bet you get a free cup of soup with that family truckster. Looks good on you though.

      This and the Ford Flex may be the groundbreakers in a new class of large wagons the harken back to the days of rear facing third rows and wood panel stickers.

      I like the Ford better in execution. The Sooby interior is not doing it for me.

      The concept was so promising. This looks like a super size Vibe/Matrix, just my opinion. Not specifically ugly but for sure bland. A shame because the concept was anything but bland.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I disagree, I think it looks great (considering what it is).
        I would take this over a tribeca and ford flex.

        That flex is to much like a stretched Scion!!!

        Bring it to the USA
      • 6 Years Ago
      With the current gas prices, I would have to consider this for a replacement to our minivan. I don't think it looks too bad. It is not nearly as offensive looking as the Tribeca. If they take the Ford approach, we'll never see it in the states though.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Interesting. I'm wondering how much rear leg room that third row seat has. Lets replace the Japanese man in the photo with a 6'2" American man. Will he fit ?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Keep in mind, even an American child is rarely six foot two. Seven-passenger wagons are designed as family haulers, and the little kids go in the back.

        Personally I think it not only looks good, but it will be a sales success for Subaru if it is brought to the States. There are plenty of families out there now who need a big people-mover, but are paying through the nose for gas and looking for an alternative.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Legacy wagon was better.

      Bodywork is bland, and over-exaggerated, like Camry, and new TSX. Not a good direction.

      Interior is bland, and they even cut the 4-beam headlights to two reflector headlights.

      Nope. Another Legacy GT owner, and I am keeping my Legacy. If the '10 Legacy looks like this, I'll buy a used '09 Spec B to replace my '05 GT.

      Nope. Not feeling it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the Mazda 5 looks better but the good thing about this Subaru is the opportunity to open the market for other carmakers to follow. I would like to see the Euro Ford Galaxy in our shores. I drove the old Galaxy from the UK to Germany and was surprise of the quality.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think this is a very nice looking vehicle. If it comes to the states, I will buy it. I need something AWD, turbo and enough room for 7 in a pinch. Yup, I would mod it. The comment about 2.0 GT motor flogged within an inch of its life means the writer doesn't know much about the motor. Just look at the JDM STI. A US GT version would likely have the EJ255 (2.5L turbo motor) from the legacy/forestor/WRX though.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I like it, but I like wagons.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Actually, Mazda5/Premacy drives like a car, certainly in its Euro Specs, which chassis may be tuned differently than the one at the US version.

      And in European version it is available either as 5 or 7 seater.

      Throw in standard DSC and TCS and you have as sporty a minivan as it can get.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I soo wish that Subaru would import this. There are way too many 4500 lb 7 passenger tippy things out there. But there are NO alternatives for anyone who wants a roomy 7 passenger vehicle that doesn't wear truck tires and gets 16 mpg. All I want is a 7 passenger station wagon. The flex is close, but it weights the same as a Pilot, CX9, Veracruz et-al.

      Sheesh.

      200qa200k
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