2009 Subaru Exiga

After teasing us with a series of shadowy pictures, Subaru fully revealed its newest crossover, the 2009 Exiga.

We first saw the Exiga – albeit in concept form – at the 2007 Tokyo motor show. Sure, it was gussied up with the typical show car bells and whistles, but we were told the concept wasn’t that different than the production vehicle.

From what we can see, that seems to be true. The Exiga’s basic form carries over from the concept with few changes, lending the seven-seat vehicle a wagon-like stature. Some design cues, particularly the car’s front fascia, have been toned down for production. The narrow headlights and sharp grille of the concept seem to be abandoned in favor of those similar to the Legacy sedan. The rear bumper skin is also more conservative in production form, but the Exiga – sporting large wheels and side skirts – still carries a sporty look.

Although it closely resembles the Legacy, the Exiga shares its underpinnings with the new 2009 Forester crossover. From its dimensions, the Exiga is slightly larger than the Forester (but shorter than the similar ), measuring in at 15.5 feet long, 5.5 feet tall, and riding on a 108-inch wheelbase. Exiga uses a strut-type front suspension, with a double-wishbone setup out back; Subaru’s SI-Drive controller – also found on the Legacy and Impreza – allows drivers to dial in ride characteristics for comfort, sport, and sport sharp modes.

Underhood, standard fare for the Exiga is a 2.0-liter DOHC boxer-four, identical to that used in the JDM Impreza. Should this engine’s 148 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque not be enough, buyers can opt for the GT model, which adds a turbo. The GT-spec mill produces 225 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque.

Non-turbocharged models make use of a four-speed automatic transmission, powering either the front wheels or all four via Subaru’s Active Torque Split all-wheel drive system. 2.0 GT models come standard with all-wheel drive, and an extra gear in the transmission.

While the Exiga is being launched in Japan, Subaru executives are still considering bringing the car to other markets. Should it reach the United States, the Exiga may lose its third row (to avoid competing with the Tribeca) and be sold as an Outback.