Liberty Exiga is clever package that's pleasant to drive and great value for money.
- 2010 Subaru Liberty Exiga 2.5i; 2.5-litre, four-cylinder, petrol; six-speed CVT; wagon - $37,490*
Smooth engine / CVT combination; spacious cabin & cargo area; AWD grip; comfortable ride Uncovered storage; second- & third-row ventilation; wing mirror visibility; speedometer error
Remember when a six-seater meant two vinyl bench seats, ventilation via the outboard passenger's armpit and a frontal shiatsu massage from Dad's elbow every time he changed gears? I know I do, and if our school holidays were anything to go by, the Subaru Liberty Exiga would have come as a god-send.
The latest people mover to join an increasingly busy market segment, Subaru's Liberty Exiga features three rows of two -- a move necessary to score a five-star ANCAP rating due to the seven-seat model's centre lap belt -- allowing more than enough space to spread out, even for lanky teens.
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A standard remote-controlled, roof-mounted DVD player with (2) wireless Bluetooth headphones ensures the kids are kept occupied, while up front, mum and dad are left in peace to enjoy comfortable captain's chair-style seating, a six-CD tuner and dual-zone climate control.
The base-model Liberty Exiga, as tested this week, also included cruise control, front fog lamps, power windows and mirrors and remote central locking as standard kit, but on the downside offered no Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, trip computer, auxiliary audio input, reverse parking sensors or reversing camera - most of which are reserved for the top-shelf Libery Exiga Premium.
The only other let down to Liberty Exiga's otherwise practical and roomy design is the abundance of uncovered storage areas, especially through the centre console, lack of second- and third-row ventilation outlets and small wing mirrors that make lane changing a little trickier than it otherwise needs to be.
With versatile seating for six - all with three-point seatbelts - the Liberty Exiga's seating arrangements are both flexible and simple to use with a nearly endless combination of seats and cargo space to suit just about any need. The large cargo area allows between 195- and 460-litres of space (between four- and six-seat mode) with that area almost tripled when both rows of seats are folded flat.
Again the only issue to plague the Liberty Exiga back here is security, with no standard cargo blind available. A 12-volt outlet is positioned on the right-hand side of the cargo area to power the fridge or airbed compressor. Seatbelts tuck neatly out of the way in side-mounted clips so as not to tangle your gear when unloading the boot.
On the open road the Liberty Exiga is a quiet achiever scoring a decibel reading of just 74dB at 100km/h. There's a little wind noise around the 'B' pillar, but otherwise the cabin acoustics are very pleasant with only a dull hum from the CVT and Boxer engine under acceleration.
The 2.5-litre engine is mated perfectly to a six-ratio, continuously variable transmission (CVT) for smooth acceleration and reasonably prompt changes under varied throttle pressure. The CVT also helps Liberty Exiga feel more gutsy than the on-paper specs would have you believe (123kW/229Nm) with brisk acceleration possible even when fully loaded. 0-100km/h is managed in under 11 seconds.
Steering wheel mounted paddle-shifts allow even more control over the CVT when so required, with the floor-shift also allowing +/- functionality. Access to the gearshift is also easy with the park brake moved to the floor (foot operated) and front cup holders placed in the door. Second row passengers score a neat flip up set of cup holders positioned in the rear of the centre console.
Braking is sharp with a positive pedal feel ensuring a confident stop. Liberty Exiga features disc brakes all round with ABS, EBA and EBD for added peace of mind.
With a tall, narrow body and softer suspension Liberty Exiga does present a fair amount of body roll through hard corners, especially when fully loaded. The large slab sides also make the car a bit of a windsock on gusty days. But despite all this the Liberty Exiga's cornering grip is relentless, with the ESC system not required once in our week of driving - even in very wet weather - Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive system making sure the car feels steady underfoot.
Speedometer error also scored a mention this week though fortunately it's on the driver's side of the battle registering 94km/h when indicating 100. Curiously the car needed to be travelling at an indicated 112km/h before 100km/h (actual) was attained. At least you won't get booked!
The Liberty Exiga is a welcomed addition to the people mover category and provides spacious versatility from a car no larger than the average station wagon. It's a clever package, great value for money and one car that is certain to prove popular with those wanting six-seat capacity without the drawbacks associated with larger SUV ownership and running costs.
CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go:
Road Test the Rivals:
- Honda Odyssey (from $43,990*)
- Kia Rondo7 (from $24,990*)
- Mitsubishi Grandis (from $44,950*)
- Renault Megane Grand Scenic (from $41,990*)
- Toyota Avensis (from $39,990*)
*Pricing is a guide as recommended to us by the manufacturer.
- Engine: 2,457cc SOHC four-cylinder (16 valve)
- Power: 123kW @ 5,600rpm
- Torque: 229Nm @ 4,000rpm
- Induction: Multi-point
- Transmission: Six-speed CVT (continuously variable transmission)
- Driven Wheels: All (with active torque split)
- Brakes: Discs with ABS, EBA & EBD
- Top Speed: 192km/h (Claimed)
- 0-100km/h: 10.9 seconds
- CO2 Emissions: 202g/km
- Fuel Consumption: 8.6L/100km (ADR)
- Fuel Consumption: 9.8L/100km (As Tested)
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 65L
- Fuel Type: 91 RON Unleaded Petrol
- ANCAP Rating: Five-star
- Airbags: Front, Side & Curtain
- Safety: ESC with Traction Control
- Spare Wheel: Space Saver
- Suspension: Strut (F) / Wishbone (R)
- Ground Clearance: 150mm
- Cargo Capacity: 195/460L
- Tow Capacity: 1,400kg (Braked)
- Turning Circle: 11.0m
- Warranty: Three-Year / Unlimited Kilometre
- Weight: 1,562kg (Tare)
- Wheels: Alloy 16 x 6.5-inch
- Overall length: 4,740mm
- Overall width: 1,775mm
- Overall height: 1,660mm
- Wheelbase: 2,750mm