By on July 13, 2007

front-front.jpgReaders may recall that my previous review of the Subaru Tribeca described the SUV’s front end as a flying vagina. Shortly after this aesthetic assessment hit the web, the San Francisco Chronicle canceled my regular reviews. Both Subaru and BMW banned The Truth About Cars from their press cars. While the column is history and the ban remains, Subaru got the message. The new Tribeca’s front end looks nothing like airborne pudenda, and everything like a Chrysler Pacifica. 

Subaru deserves props for abandoning the only automotive design capable of making a Pontiac Aztek look like a mistake (rather than an affront). But patterning the Tribeca’s snout after the prow of Chrysler’s bilious station-wagon-on-stilts is yet another mysterious miscalculation. While the Tribeca’s new nose is as innocuous as the previous one was pervy, why would Subie want potential customers to mistake its SUV for a failed product from a struggling American automaker?

At least the sanitization of the Tribeca’s Area 51-themed rear end leaves the Subaru’s butt looking like the posterior parts of the entirely successful (if now dated) Lexus RX. It's a distinctly upscale makeover compared the Tribeca’s side profile, which is now a dead ringer for the Toyota RAV4. Put it together and what have you got? Something deeply derivative and wildly innocuous with about as much Subaru brand DNA as Japanese knotweed.

interior.jpgThe Tribeca’s interior carries over from the previous version; it’s still swoopy in a vaguely nauseating sort of way, adorned with the same flat silver plastic that Revell uses to give their model airplane wings their trademark sheen. The cowled instruments make no sense in this application, aside from diverting your eyes from the over-sized, ‘70’s-style digital readouts hovering inside the climate control knobs. On the positive side, tweaking the Tribeca's stereo’s mid-range and treble controls delivers serious tuneage.

The Tribeca’s seats offer about as much lateral support as a Sit-‘N-Spin, with the extra disadvantage of a steering wheel that doesn’t adjust for reach. And if you’re thinking about using the Tribeca’s third row for anything other than the kiddies’ stuffed animals, it’s best not to mention the middle row’s fore and aft adjustment to sugar-crazed siblings.

Getting the “old” Tribeca to move out of its own way was like asking an inceberg to dance. Given the previous engine’s impolite appetite for premium fuel, there wasn’t much Subaru could do to rectify the Tribeca’s sloth. So they didn’t do much. They modified the existing H6 engine package to run on regular, added variable valve timing to the exhaust valves and fitted a shortened conrod. Voila! The Tribeca’s powerplant grows from 3.0-liters to 3.6-liters, increasing power by 11 horses (to 256hp) and adding 32 ft-lbs. of torque (up to 247 ft.-lbs.).

front.jpgFactoring the Tribeca’s 4250 lbs. curb weight, the SUV's gone from woefully slow to a kinda slow. Unfortunately the Tribeca still has a prodigious thirst for dead dinoflagellates. Call me carbon positive, but I reckon a SUV whose city mileage struggles to hit sweet 16 is OK if it accommodates seven genuine people and/or holsters a bad-ass V8. Otherwise, not.

More productively, Subaru took another bash at the Tribeca’s five-speed autobox, whose previous unwillingness to shift would test the patience of an opium addled Maharishi. Although shifts are noticeably faster and smoother, the engine now sounds like your mother’s old Hoover. Worse, the Tribeca’s slushbox remains obstinate on inclines, holding onto higher gears as if the lower ones didn’t exist.

The steering is equally unresponsive, with enough slop to feed a large family of pigs. But Subaru’s tweaks to the Tribeca’s rear suspension are easily the worst part of the car’s less than stellar driving dynamics. Not only does every lump and bump send a muffled shudder through the otherwise serene cabin, but it all goes seriously wrong over badly broken pavement.

On anything less than a smooth surface, the Tribeca’s newly recalibrated suspension’s rebound rate fails to catch up with even a minor series of horizontal jolts. I don’t know exactly what Subie’s boffins did to the Tribeca’s front McPherson struts and rear wishbone, but the result is so uncomfortable I actually began to feel carsick. No wonder Subaru removed the “B9” designation from the model’s moniker.

rear.jpgFor an automaker famous for creating cars that can carve-up a country road and leave it for dead, a company that advertised its car-based models as SUV alternatives, Subie's SUV is an unabashed and unforgivable brand betrayal. The only real question is when the company will "face" the fact that shooting the messenger doesn't alter the truth: you can't make a silk SUV out of sow's ear or, you know, whatever.

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62 Comments on “Subaru Tribeca Review...”


  • avatar
    shaker

    Chrysler/Cerebrus should mount a “cease and desist” order against Subaru using its “flying wing” grills on this and the Impreza. We really don’t need to see anymore of that stuff. It’s really hard to say whether it’s an improvement over the previous grills (which I dubbed “Hitler’s Moustache” — I know a girl with an ’06 Impreza; “Flying Vagina” would really put me in the doghouse)

  • avatar
    TwingoV12

    My automotive taste may be weirder than I previously thought, but I actually found and find the Tribeca to be one of the best-looking SUVs.

    Many SUVs try to look paricularly mean, rugged, and imposing. The Tribeca, by contrast, tried and tries to resemble more of a “normal” car, without the flash and the bling and the cartoonish design cues of the competition.

    @ the author: they cancelled your weekly column because of what? the word “vagina”?? or did you, in addition to using that word in a car review, insult the chief editor´s wife or something like that? ;)

  • avatar
    AKM

    I snicker every time I see one of those on the roads, whether it’s the new one or the old one. Why on earth would you get one of these rather than a Legacy wagon or outback?

  • avatar

    When looking at a picture of the interior recently, it just seemed odd to me. As I pondered the pic, I was unable to come up with an apt description of how I was feeling. You’ve crystallized my muddled feelings perfectly…

    The Tribeca’s interior carries over from the previous version; it’s still swoopy in a vaguely nauseating sort of way…

    Brilliant!

  • avatar

    The SF Chronicle canned me for the Tribeca review, under pressure from local Subaru dealers.

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Robert, If there was ever a newspaper/market to get canned from for mentioning the word ‘vagina’ in (gasp), it would be the SanFrancisco market. Maybe you should have made a reference to “boner-like styling” instead; that would have got their (or brought them to) attention.

    It’s crystal clear now. All Al-Qaeda has to do to inflict terror on SF is drive a sign-truck around with “VAGINA!!!” on it.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Robert is spot-on regarding the interior-looks like a dashboard seen in a funhouse mirror!

  • avatar
    TwingoV12

    [quote]The SF Chronicle canned me for the Tribeca review, under pressure form local Subaru dealers.[/quote]

    Wow, that´s annoying. And a little scary, perhaps….

    What was that old proverb again? “Only tell the truth to people who are worthy of it”?

    Anyway, keep up the good work :)

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    The front end of the new Tribeca almost makes me like the original. The light/grill/sheetmetal proportions were better, even if it was ugly as sin.

    16mpg and a tiny 3rd row? Its GMC Acadia time.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    My Uncle bought one of the B9 models. The car looks like an alien and rides worse.

  • avatar
    snoissea

    It’s amazing to me how far off the mark Subie is on this vehicle. They got so much wrong and so little right, you’d think they were worshiping at the alter of GM. I had been really impressed with Subaru as of late, but this monstrosity makes me wonder if they really are in tune with their raison d’être.

  • avatar
    Blunozer

    I will respectfully disagree with you on the interior. I find it a lot classier looking than most.

    Other than that, the Tribeca has always seemed “wrong” to me. Subaru’s raison d’etre was to show the world how useless big and heavy SUVs actually were… Then they built one to really prove it.

    The Outback is better in every way.

  • avatar
    kazoomaloo

    Initial disclosure: I treasure and love Subaru, the company and most of their products, more than I love my family and home. I can’t help it.

    However, I agree that the Tribeca is something of a disaster (Certainly the previous model). For starters, it’s off-brand as one of the main appeal of a Subaru was that they didn’t offer a big gas-guzzling SUV but still provided bad-weather capability and outdoorsiness. Another thing – blech-worthy outside styling and the interior made me feel like I was in a Sci-Fi movie when I sat in one at the auto show. No thanks. Therefore:

    Flying Vagina? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Oh man!

    Also, the only thing I love more than Subaru is the First Amendment, and that was pretty lame how you got the boot, however I recognize that for the most part the auto review business is one of unbridled blind promotion and gentle criticism, even of bad cars, to keep the automakers happy and the writers employed. Whatever though, no decent newspaper should ever cave to the pressure of interested parties like that.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Just after I turned 17, I left my home in rural Ohio for the bright lights of Manhattan. I was so naive back then, that I thought “TRIangle BElow CAnal” was a sophisticated way of saying vagina.

    Odd coincidence.

  • avatar
    jrlombard

    Ironic that the major newspaper from one of the most “tolerant” cities in the U.S. fired you for using the word vagina…

    Spot on review for the Tribeca. I haven’t found any value in it since it’s debut. I think the fact that it’s muddled Subaru’s brand DNA is the least of it’s problems. Styling (or the lack thereof) and efficiency being the two greatest issues it faces.

    I actually had a co-worker ask if it was worth considering. She’s married, no kids (one dog). I asked why she wouldn’t consider the Outback or Legacy GT instead? “I REALLY like the styling on the Tribeca,” she said.

    Proof positive that beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

  • avatar
    Megan Benoit

    Why does this vehicle even exist, indeed. And I’ll second whoever said that it was Acadia time with that sort of gas mileage. But I do like the looks better than the original… it’s like a Pacifica, but a less squat and chubby one.

    God forbid Toyota takes over Subaru. Then there will be no less than six of these, all geared towards various niche outdoorsy-type groups.

  • avatar
    DrBiggly

    It was interesting that Robert mentioned the hideous in-town gas mileage as being so terrible when their salesmen are touting the SUV as one with good gas mileage. At least, that’s what they are trying to do last I talked to a Subaru salesman about one. It smelled suspiciously of BS and the aforementioned 17mpg in town is only slightly better than a Suburban weighing a huge amount more. They weren’t just worshipping at the altar of GM with this one, they let GM best them in the SUV making department. They should drop it like a bad habit and focus on their core market rather than trying to further obfuscate their brand. Sadly, the first failure wasn’t bad enough so they have headed back into the ring for round two. Isn’t insanity defined as trying the same thing time and again but expecting different results each time?

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    I want to like Subarus, I really do. They’ve always had such a quirky charm from the get-go (well, the Tribeca is awful looking so I guess that proves the rule!) So, why do Subarus get such horrid gas mileage?

    I had an Outback wagon that could never get better than 23mpg on the highway – I get the same (or better) highway mileage in my 6 litre LS2 engined GTO. My BMW 330 gets 30mpg on the highway. Can’t they get better efficiencies from the pancake engine?

  • avatar
    Glenn 126

    I think Toyota are intelligent enough to leave Subaru to do what Subaru does well. Let’s not forget, please, who owned part of Subaru when they developed this THING of a so-called crossover SUV. It was General Messup.

    So I can’t fathom why people are dissing Toyota when Toyota’s only stabilized Subaru’s finances and are increasing utilization of an underused plant in Indiana (which Subie used to “share” with another ex-GM cast-off, now near dead – Isuzu).

  • avatar
    whitenose

    The problem Subaru is trying to solve by selling the Tribeca is that Subaru’s customers need bigger cars and are leaving the marque when they realize they don’t exist.

    Subaru needs to:

    - benchmark a Nissan Murano for the next Tribeca. The Murano is what the Tribeca should have been (more or less).

    - increase interior space in the next Legacy/Outback. The Accord sedan has more rear legroom than the Outback, which is incredibly sad.

    - maybe drive a Passat. The base Passat has more room and is wonderful to drive, both unlike a base Outback.

  • avatar
    Luther

    The Honda Civic GX uses Dinoflagellates, the Tribeca uses Dinofesterates.

    Subbie seems to have brain-spasms everytime they try to go mainstream with a product.

    I bought my Mother an Outback. It is like flipping-the-bird at lake-effect snow.

  • avatar
    OhMyGoat

    Too bad Subaru couldn’t have just sucked it up and lived with Robert’s first look at the Tribeca considering how most of their other cars have gotten generally positive reviews on this site.

  • avatar
    socsndaisy

    RF, props to you for the sit-n-spin reference.
    As Ive said before, Subaru really only recently scored a few “hits” with tasteful designs. The legacy and a couple incarnations of the impreza are all they really have nailed down in what is mostly a string of really wacky designs. Even among those rare tasteful models, they mangled a few refresh jobs.
    My contention here is that Subaru really hasnt hit a stride yet and that helps put vehicle offerings like the Tribeca in perspective. Unfortunately, it doesnt change the reality that this new and improved B9 is severely outclassed by the Legacy and the Outbacks on the Subaru lot.
    Having just picked up a Legacy sedan a few days ago, I’m impressed. Im getting 30mpg so the flat fours can deliver. Considering the tribeca looks slightly more appealing now, with the awful MPG, not a chance.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Robert, How did you get extricated from BMW releases? This was the first I time I got the straight scoop on the loving, tolerant, accepting, anything goes, laissez-fair (just so long as you don’t say vagina) SF Chronicle in the Bay area. Reminds me of what Colonel Jessup (Nicholson) said about the truth.

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    If Subaru wants to compete with SUVs, why not offer the Forester with the low-range transfer case that they’ve had in non-US markets in the past?

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    All Subaru’s get poor milage compared to there competitors offerings. I think it is mostly due to their fulltime AWD rather than just the engines not being efficient. Most of the competition use an on-demand electroniclly controlled differential which makes them more efficient since they aren’t always giving power to all 4 wheels. In our Legacy GT we regularly see 15.5 in the city and 24-25 on the highway. But I have gotten over 30 mpg on the highway if I keep it under 70, not easy in a car that I can barely keep under 100.

    socsndaisy is correct about Subaru’s hit or miss styling over the last 10 years. They need to stick with a unifying theme and stick with it at least until the generation of the model is over, not constantly changing stuff mid cycle like they have. I actually like the “flying vagina” and aero styling of the previous generation cars compared to what is coming/here. I could think of a lot worse things on the front of my car than a vagina, like this Pacifica looking crap. Has anyone seen the styling of the next Impreza/WRX, horrible, it looks like a 2004 Pontiac GTO and that thing was UGLY. Guess I wont be buying a new WRX like I had planned, maybe an old one with some vag up front.

    Can anyone explain way the Tribeca is almost 1000 lbs heavier then the Legacy/Outback platform it’s based off of? I know the flat 6 weights more, has extra(useless) seats more sheetmetal and glass, but 1000 lbs, pathetic.

    The anti-SUV from the brand that said they would never build an SUV, what is the world coming too.

  • avatar
    Ralph SS

    So. The SF Chronicle doesn’t like the truth in their car reviews, eh? Makes you wonder about the front page now, doesn’t it.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    Geez, as a long-time SFer I am shocked that the local Soobie dealers thought the vagina remark was a “bad thing.” My informal observations seem to indicate a high number of gay women (and men) driving Subarus. Subaru even runs gay-positive ads on the gay-oriented Logo cable channel. Talk about being out-of-touch…
    Years ago, the ‘58 Edsel “horse collar” grille was thought to have vaginal influences, but the wits of that age referred to it as looking “like an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon.”

  • avatar

    You know I sort of think of the old edsel or even of a studabaker when I see the previous Tribeca

  • avatar
    Seth

    Has anyone seen Subaru Outback ads (with or without Crocodile Dundee) giving some compelling reasons to not buy an SUV? They then turnaround and offer one… Sheesh.

  • avatar
    Martin Albright

    Another Subaru bigot here who is mystified by the Tribeca. The whole thing seems contrived, even the name.

    I like what Honda did with the Pilot. They basically took the design of the successful Cute-ute CRV and upsized it. If Subaru had done the same with the Forester, I think they’d have had a better vehicle. Although some find the Forester ugly, I think the updated body style (03-up) is quite attractive and very unique. In these days when you can’t tell a CRV from a RAV4 from a Highlander, it’s significant that Subie still has some of that quirky style that’s put them in their market niche.

    As for MPG, I got 22-24 in the city and 28-29 on the highway in my ’99 Outback without too much effort, which I think is pretty reasonable for a fairly heavy AWD wagon. 17 in the city is ridiculous: My 4×4 Tacoma (with a V-6) does better than that.

    Funny that CO is Subie Central, and yet I very rarely see a Tribeca on the road. If I were to guess I’d say the ratio of Tribecas to Legacy/Impreza/Forester is something like 1:50 or worse. That the Subie-lovers of Colorado have dissed the Tribeca should tell you everything you need to know about it.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    How much influence did GM have at the time the 1st generation Tribeca was designed. Maybe they are the reason the ‘SUV’ exists, pushing Subaru to develop something they weren’t interested in making while under the GM umbrella.
    It sounds like it from all the flub ups in the product. Can’t make a great SUV if your not passionate about the segment to begin with.

  • avatar
    tankd0g

    This is a beautiful Chrysler mini-van. Did you perhaps out the wrong photos with the article?

  • avatar
    dalava

    I just don’t the see the point with the Tribeca at all. I bet they are losing a lot of money on it too. The reason they are persisting with it might be one of those tragic sunken cost dilemmas. From what I see, dealers in my area are discounting them really heavy with more than $8k off MSRP. I have know people buying 2007s with more than $10k off the list. That’s in the Detroit 2.8-land. And on the used market, they are getting hammered too. I hope this debacle does not bring down the company we all loved. Stop the insanity and kill it, NOW! Please, Subaru.

  • avatar
    svensk

    Wow… the tribeca is sad. My folks got a new Outlook and the DOHC gets 17-18mpg average with 270-some HP, and AWD. Oh yeah, and it weighs 4900lbs… Best of all the 3rd row seating is actually usable.

  • avatar
    monteclat

    Entertaining to read as always. Thank you.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    I would fault Subaru for this design much more than the previous version. They have somewhat of a track record of producing “quirky” styling. Yeah, they took a styling risk and failed badly, but at least they took a risk, which is more than can be said for most automakers. If it was a great car in every other way people may have come to love it. Instead, it seems they spent most of the money vanilla-ing it up rather than making up for the various other shortcomings.

  • avatar
    Thagomizer

    Yikes. From the first image, it looks like a cross between a Pacifica and a Suzuki Vitara.

    Finding out about the canning from the newspaper under dealer pressure finally turned me from a lurker to a user.

  • avatar
    stimpy

    I had to go back and look at pics of the old B9 (benign? more like malignant) design just to see if the whole vagina thing holds up. Not seeing it, really, but hey. Looks more like a pig snout after a bit of the ol’ Dirty Sanchez, but to each his own. I can see why Subaru chose to redesign it, though. What I don’t get is how they could’ve left that horrible, horrible interior intact. Yeah, the exterior was off a bit, but the inside of the thing just makes you feel like you’re in the cockpit of Bozo’s private jet. HUUURRRRRLLLLLLL!

  • avatar
    shoes

    RF, you always are on the top of your game when it comes to reviewing Subies. I laughed so often and so hard when reading this review, I snorted my latte.

  • avatar
    Jim H

    Not sure why Subaru went the SUV route either. The Forester, Outback (wagon), Legacy sedan and Impreza are all awesome enough with their AWD.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    You cannot imagine how glad I am that I don’t need to ever consider this vehicle, or any of it’s competition. I am sure I would be driving around in tears.

  • avatar
    zenith

    As an unabashed owner of an Aztek, I say don’t mention this pig and the beloved Az in the same sentence again.

    16 mpg is 6 less than I get in town in weather above + 20F. For some reason, I can’t get above 20mpg in town when the weather’s below 20F. My very worst so far has been 17.9 in below-zero weather–still 12% better than this junker at normal temp.

    My old ’91 Grand Caravan AWD got mileage that bad when it had 170K+ miles and one misfiring spark plug. Superior Japanese Engineering, my ass!!

  • avatar
    michaelfrankie

    I’m concerned with the direction of Subaru’s styling. I love the reliability of the brand but also the uniqueness of their look. This trend towards mass appeal and unoffensive styling is very concerning to me.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    What’s funny is when I saw the pic for the review I seriously thought to myself “why is there a picture of a pacifica for the tribeca review?” I actually remained confused until I read the line about the restyling. Weird choices they’re making over there. I would imagine the tribeca dept. is completely separate and has nothing to do with any of their other car’s departments. Time to do some firin’!

  • avatar
    vento97

    The communist, politically correct censorship tendencies on the part of the SF Chronicle (no surprise) as well as the thin-skinned girlie-men Subaru dealerships, and the wannabe yuppie-larvae-infested BMW (a.k.a. “Break My Wallet”) dealerships in the area has prompted me to ask two questions:

    1) Where are we going?
    2) Why are we in a handbasket?

    B.T.W. – Give ‘em HELL, Robert!!! Those sanctimonious rear-ends need a dose of the truth every now and then – In their case, you should quadruple the dosage…

  • avatar

    Fans of the female anatomy can relax. They may have taken away the “flying v” grille, but at least they left the fallopian tube dashboard.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Often I think that if Alice Roosevelt were still alive and interested in cars she would love TTAC. It seems that TTAC has adopted her philosophy and to paraphrase it, “If you can’t say something nice about a car, post it on TTAC.”

    But then, that’s why I love TTAC.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    In respect to the previous iteration of the Tribeca, Mr. Farago should have received a consulting fee from Subaru, rather than a canning from the SF Chronicle. I suppose that’s the price of honesty in today’s business world.

    You did the company a favor by pointing out a costly styling error that should have been caught long before it went into production. I have to wonder how much money Subaru lost by making this mistake.

    I’m sure that they were borrowing from a horrible misinterpretation of Alfa’s styling cues. (See the link below.) But now it seems they’ve moved on to an even lesser role model. Emulating the looks of a builder of rental cars isn’t an example of playing your best card in your hand.

    Subaru’s niche remains small in part because it lacks a unifying styling theme for its products that would create linkage between them. It would help them greatly to find one, but of course, it would be better if the theme was actually worthwhile…

    Alfa 159: http://www.webwombat.com.au/motoring/news_reports/alfa-romeo-159.htm

  • avatar
    kjc117

    Well, I like Subaru and the Toyota partnership will help them in the end. Subaru is a nich market but wanted to increase market share and the crossover segment look like prime area for their opportunity. Plus, Subaru had their all wheel drive system no one execpt VW/Audi had and they did not have a crossover.

    So you understand how Subaru went full bore with the B9. Of course they are having teething pains with a segment that is very competitive. Hopefully, Toyota can aid them in the future.

    All Subies get sub par hwy mpg because of the all wheel drive and unaerodynamic tall body styles. Ironically not taking advantage of the low center of gravity boxter engine.
    My 1.8 T A4 quattro can achieve 33 hwy mpg on a good day. I avg. 28-30 hwy mpg.

  • avatar
    kovachian

    Let me get this straight. You woke up the dorks at Subaru about their flying vagina car, which in turn prompted them to redesign it (after only one model year no less) in order to save face. You did them a favor and this is how they repay you? Ingrates.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Subaru will be opening up a new dealership near my neck of the woods (Kennesaw, GA). I seriously considered becoming a franchisee but the debt and risk factor in the new car side of the business is becoming increasingly challenging. To make it work you HAVE to build a stand alone franchise. That was fine in the days of limited competition amongst manufacturers from mostly developed countries. Ten years from now though, this business will be a far different game.

    If Toyota becomes the full-fledged owner of Subaru, I see great times ahead. But right now Subaru is losing a lot of customers due to their high prices.

    Just an FYI, I think a Subaru/Suzuki dealership with a nearby motorcycle showroom would be a fantastic combination.

  • avatar
    jurisb

    tribeca is has now the same licked up face like some huanita from mexican soap opera. artificial and boring. the previous version even though reminding an attacking mouth of a catfish, still was showing the `Subaru family throat`. now it reminds me the faceless chrysler aspen. taillaights remind the new ford galaxy/s-max minivans.as the more you sip, the more it reminds something….. tribeca is a good shot, towards quality product.And, by the way you don`t have to puzzle like a Romeo over a skull in his hands, if this subaru is based on japanese platform or not!

  • avatar
    noley

    Saw the new Tribeca the other day. Before it was just fugly. Now it’s just a yawn. Whatever. I just want to know how they came up with the name B9 Tribeca. Where does that come from? What’s it supposed to mean? BTSOM.

    I keep wanting to like Subarus, but every time I get in one I’m disappointed. When we went wagon shopping last year I looked at the turbo and non-turbo Outbacks. They go and handle OK for what they are, especially the turbo. My wife and I thought they were nice—for the first 20 minutes of a 40 minute test drive. Then we couldn’t wait to get out of the car with its jiggly ride, rock-hard seats and confining interior.

    Turned us off so much we didn’t even look at the pricier Tribeca. And we were looking to get out of SUV mode anyway. And once I confirmed neither car would be much of a fuel mileage improvement over our old Exploder we went away.

    They’ve always been quirky cars, and that’s OK (I’ve had Saabs for 23 years, so I know quirky), but Subies are quirky without much redeeming value, unless AWD is important, which it isn’t to me.

  • avatar
    Caffiend

    When the rumors of the original started surfacing, I was truly interested. My wife has an ’01 Legacy Outback and have 100K problem free miles on the clock. Of course, when I saw the vaginal nose, any lust completely evaporated. When the reviews hit, I actually felt bad for the company. I thought a redesign would be the solution, but I guess not.

    Why they dropped the B9 name when they actually created a benign front end. But atrocious handling in a Subaru is a shame. I love the Outback, and handling is its strong suit. Just doesn’t have any grunt.

  • avatar
    Terry Parkhurst

    Well, I saw a front end of the last generation of the Tribeca and thought of your comment, Robert. I recall running it by a manufacturer’s rep I know, Nate Tennis, who races a SAAB 99 in pro rallying events and remember he laughed and said, “What kind of women does he know?” I plead ignorance of that.

    And so, maybe they heard you wherever Subaru has its design department and there you are: influencing design.

    Thing is, the dashboard and instrument panel still look like something off the Starship Enterprise. And unless the throttle response is better than the 2006 edition I drove last year, the vehicle whose front end it emulates, the Chrysler Pacifica, has such better throttle response, with adequate handling (who buys one of these things for the handling anyway?) I’d tell people to buy the Chrysler. Yes, I said it and I’m glad: buy the Chrysler. Just make sure to grind the dealer down from the 38 grand of the Pacifica (as “tested”). I wonder at what point will all of this SUV stuff cease and the bulk of America go back to sedans, hardtops (remember those) and coupes?

  • avatar
    aksmith

    Wrong. Everyone seems to be enjoying piling on here. The Tribeca isn't a beauty (I like the funky looks), but it's a pleasure to drive, the gas mileage is as advertised, and it's quiet and roomy. My wife and I much prefer it to our previous Forester XT, especially for freeway driving, where the Forester felt very twitchy.

  • avatar
    kurt

    nice

  • avatar
    jaysun

    I like the Subaru Tribeca. I own a 2007 B9 Tribeca and I'm very happy with it so far. I average 19 mpg city driving, which isn't bad for AWD if you ask me. I'm not sure where you could have come up with 16 mpg. It's not the fastest SUV, but 0-60 in 8.2 seconds is what I ran on a test track. Not bad for its size and weight. I like the front end of my B9; I guess you love it or hate it. It's a very nice car. I chose this over other Subaru models because it has much more room and great for hauling kids around.

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    So if it’s distinctive (even if it’s not YOUR cup of tea) it’s ugly, and if it looks like what everyone else builds it’s acceptable but boring…

    So we want it to look the same as everyone else but be distinctive? Hmmm.

    The first versionw as okay, the second prob a little nicer but I’d drive the first version too.

    I think we are being a bit too hard on the car manufacturers here. Yes a vehicle must WORK as advertised and last and last and last. We need to cut those who break away from the styling herd a little slack though because we live in a herd of sameness on the roads today.

    I think the retro cars (SSR, Beetle, Mini, PT, HHR) are great because even though they are normal cars under the skin, they dare to be styled different. I wish we had more at a reasonable price (I really like the SSR but I’m not going to put THAT much money in a vehicle…)

    Maybe manufacturers need to sell the same vehicle with multiple styling cues… WAIT! That’s called badge engineering…

  • avatar
    dgduris

    It’s a Subaru! The doors are fully framed!

    It never had a chance.

    I’m worried about the STi that I intendt to replace my Spec. B with in April. Its doors are framed too!

    Subaru’s position (niche) is simply this: “Different and Better” If they stray from that and don’t attract cross shopping against A4s and 3Series it’ll be over.

    If Toyota take the reins completely – which I doubt will ever happen – it’ll be instant death. I don’t see Toyota bringing any economies of scale for building horizontal 4 cylinder engines. And Subies are WAY more fun and dependable.

  • avatar
    candice

    I love the Tribeca. It has leather heated seats. A rear camera that helps you reverse. It’s a very smooth, quiet ride unlike most SUVs’ I’ve driven. I work at a car dealership and we sell Subaru and many other makes and models. I didn’t know anything about Subaru when I started, now I know a lot. They are just about the safest vehicle on the road no matter which model you look at. They are also extremely comfortable. Most people who don’t like them probably haven’t driven one. I didn’t like them at first until I test drove one. Ever since then I’ve loved them.


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