Today, June 1st, 2007, means that I can finally talk about the new crossover SUV known as the Subaru Tribeca. “Wait, are we talking about the same Tribeca?” you might ask, a bit confused after seeing the 2008 version, understandably so, since the face of the 2008 model year (MY) has completely changed and Subaru dropped the prenom of B9. The only things that stayed the same were the front and passenger doors; everything else was revamped from the engine (up from 3.0-liter to 3.6-liter) to the newly designed wider and taller front grille. The Tribeca runs on the aforementioned 3.6 liter engine and is connected to the 5-speed automatic transmission with that produces 256hp. It is an AWD vehicle that comes standard with Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) and Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) and four-wheel traction control system (TCS). For those that don’t know, a crossover, in Layman’s terms refers to a SUV built on a car platform rather than a truck.
I had the opportunity to take a first drive in the mountains of Palm Springs, California with the new Tribeca (keep in mind, this was around the time that the Tribeca went into production at the Lafayette plant) but couldn’t spread the good news until now, the day that the Tribeca hits the showroom floors and becomes available to one and all! This crossover was surprisingly quiet to the point that my driving partner and I didn’t even realize the engine was on when we first started it up. The quietness of the engine is also probably why we could hear Dave Sullivan, our Subaru expert from the backseat without a problem.
First off, this new member of the Subaru family could run with the big dogs like the Lexus RX350, Acura MDX, and Toyota Highlander, not failing to mention that Ford is also using this vehicle as a bench marker. The newly, redesigned 2008 Subaru Tribeca proved to be quite the luxury machine without having to pay the luxury prices (it is rumored to start at $29,950 like the 2007 Model Year (MY)). The interior of this car was fantastic, from the leather seating, the seat warmers and dual climate controls, satellite radio, the numerous seat settings (lumbar controls included) and the optional touch screen navigational system. However, I would not recommend the car for you speed demons out there, because I quickly realized how deceiving the speed was because of the smooth drive. At one point, when passing a Coke truck on the empty highway, I looked down and realized we were pushing eighty. This was after my passengers and I had discussed how slow we felt going the 60 mph of speed limit. Have no fears about burning through gas, because this model, unlike it’s predecessor (which ran on premium) runs on regular fuel and gets an EPA-estimate 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway.[div ytubelink] You can also view the video for the 2007 Subaru Tribeca on YouTube.[/div]
Subaru, in addition to thinking luxury with the 2008 Tribeca also remembered to think logically and realistically. For the family that is constantly in motion, Subaru made sure to include the now, almost commonplace, entertainment system. The Tribeca options offers the buyer a nine-inch LCD screen with remote inputs for video cameras and games with two wireless headsets and a remote control. They built cup holders into the doors that were easily cleanable, which is a must for the family on the move. The passenger seating also comes with a five or seven-passenger option. The third row aspect is enhanced by the safety catch that prevents those in the second row from unintentionally smashing anyone’s legs or feet in the row behind them. Another aspect where the Tribeca might have a leg up on its competitors is at the low center of gravity which allows to smooth cornering similar to that of a regular sedan, not as unstable as the usually SUV turn.
There were a few complaints with this new vehicle, and most of those are being worked out, according to inside sources. First, there was an issue with the lack of Bluetooth capabilities, which is an option offered by other competitors, though it could very well be on the way since Subaru just now got the high tech navigation system. The back hatch was also a bit heavy to pull down if someone (around my fighting weight of 100 pounds) was trying to juggle kids and groceries but don’t worry, the Subaru folks are looking for ways to put a push button system in that would allow the user to close the hatch with a simple motion, much like that found in the Audi Q7 crossover.
But, after all is said and done, the Subaru Tribeca can say something that is a key selling point, almost a trump card, something along the lines of “We have some of the highest safety ratings in our class.” The 2007 MY B9 Tribeca can boast that it received a four-star rating from the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the tests for rollover resistance (though no SUV to date has received a five-star rating in that test), which was the inspiration for the safety components of the 2008 MY Tribeca. The same goes for the front and side-impact crash tests. The Tribeca received five-stars for the passenger and driver seating positions from the NHTSA with the predecessor to the 2008 MY Tribeca. Subaru was also thinking safety when they designed the touch-screen nav system to notice if the commands were too distracting to do while driving. To ensure safety, if an address needs to be typed into the system, the computer will not allow the driver to tinker unless they are not in motion.
Overall, the 2008 Subaru Tribeca will offer the buyer similar amenities as its competitors while also succeeding in aspects like safety and drive-ability that are sometimes overlooked for the more cosmetic features.
*The new design
*The quietness inside the car; being able to hear passengers from the backseats
*The seating options, both the 5 or 7 passengers AS WELL AS driver seating positions
*XM radio with the navigation system or Sirius radio without the nav system
*High safety ratings
*LCD screens/video entertainment for the backseat passengers
*The built-in-catch to keep third row passengers from getting their toes/feet run down by the second row passengers trying to scoot back
*Stylish looks but still keeps functionality in mind, like the built-in cup holders that were easily cleanable
*The 2008 runs on regular gas over premium and has a larger tank, which makes fill-ups less frequent
*Affordable with many amenities
Dislikes: (though there is talk to remedy all of these)
*the back hatch needs to become a little more user-friendly for petite users
*lack of Bluetooth capabilities