U.S. Subaru fans just can’t catch a break.
First Subaru teased them with the superb-looking Levorg wagon, and it’s unveiled this enticing alternative to the old Tribeca crossover.
The Subaru Exiga Crossover 7 is similarly girth-y, but it’s only available in Japan, and features a decidedly different interpretation of the midsize crossover theme.
“Exiga” is supposed to be a mashup of “exciting” and “active.” First shown as a concept at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the standard version of this people hauler has been sold in Japan for several years.
The Exiga is really more of a tall-roofed, seven-seat station wagon than a traditional SUV, applying the tall-roof concept of the Ford C-Max and Toyota Prius V in a much more attractive way.
This latest version features a taller ride height and external body cladding, making it a big sibling to the Outback and XV Crosstrek. Subaru is very good at building cars that like to pretend they’re SUVs.
Subaru fans will find the powertrain just as familiar as the styling motif.
Under the hood sits a 2.5-liter boxer-four engine, mated to a continuously variable transmission. It sends 171 horsepower to all four wheels, as is the Subaru way.
A vehicle this big could probably use a bit more power, but it’s hard to deny the utility offered by the Exiga’s seven-seat, tall-wagon packaging.
Nonetheless, the Exiga Crossover 7 is destined to be a niche model. Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries expects to sell just 600 per month in Japan, and nowhere else.
Despite its seven-seat layout, this Subie is probably too small to serve as a direct replacement for the Tribeca anyway.
That crossover will be much larger than even the outgoing Tribeca, thanks to the bloat effect that seems to apply to all new vehicle segments.
The Tribeca replacement will probably borrow styling from Subaru’s series of Viziv concepts, making it a lot less quirky – but perhaps less interesting – than the forbidden fruit that is the Exiga Crossover 7.