Buy/Drive/Burn: CUVs That Circumvented Success in 2007

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn trio of unfortunate crossovers was concocted by commenter JohnTaurus. From a time early in the development of the midsize three-row crossover, none of today’s competitors really worked from a sales perspective.

Three unfortunate entries from three different marques. Which one goes home with you?

Subaru Tribeca

TTAC became famous for hating on the Tribeca, but you already knew that. Debuting for the 2006 model year, the H6-only Tribeca was built with the Outback and Legacy at Subaru’s Lafayette, Indiana plant. The ’07 we have here today was the last year for the smaller displacement 3.0-liter H6, which produced 242 horsepower routed through a five-speed automatic. The Limited trim on offer today had a standard leather interior, moonroof, and premium audio system. Unique to the Tribeca was a Y-shaped dash and console design, providing a cockpit feel for front driver and passenger. A restyling (bland-ization) for the 2008 model year didn’t save the Tribeca from cancellation, which came in 2014.

Hyundai Veracruz

Hyundai’s Veracruz was brand new for 2007. The company’s largest crossover attempt to date, all North American models skipped the diesel engine option in favor of the long-running 3.8-liter Lambda V6. The six-speed automatic routes 263 horsepower to all four wheels in Limited all-wheel drive trim. Leather seats are heated and ventilated, and a premium Infinity sound system entertains passengers. The Veracruz lived on in the North American market through the 2012 model year, triumphant in two-tone.

Ford Freestyle

New for 2005, the Freestyle was part of Ford’s plan to start all model names with the letter F. Gone was the Taurus wagon, as America requested rough-and-ready CUVs. Sharing engine and drivetrain with the Five Hundred sedan, all-wheel drive examples paired the 3.0-liter Duratec V6 (203 horsepower) with a CVT. Ford expected 40 percent of Freestyle buyers to desire all-wheel drive; instead, the take rate was 55 percent. Like the competitors above, the Freestyle is Limited trim and all-wheel drive. Leather seating is standard in either six- or seven-passenger configurations, and there’s a rear DVD screen for the kids. Major changes came to Freestyle in 2008, when it was renamed Taurus X. The model received a larger 3.5-liter engine, and a six-speed automatic in all models. Taurus X went away after 2009, to make room for some square-body Flexin.

Freestyle your way north through Veracruz, then make your way to Tribeca. On the journey, dole out the Buy, Drive, and Burn.

[Images: Ford, Subaru, Hyundai, IIHS]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jul 03, 2018

    Burn them all and summon Bertel Schmitt's editorial ghost by the flames of the Subaru

  • Richthofen Richthofen on Jul 05, 2018

    Buy the Veracruz, drive the Tribeca, burn the Freestyle* *because of the CVT/3.0 combo. If it was a Taurus X with the 3.5 and conventional autobox, totally different story. I might actually find myself consdering the T-X later this year when looking for a used wagon-like vehicle.

  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.
  • Varezhka I have still yet to see a Malibu on the road that didn't have a rental sticker. So yeah, GM probably lost money on every one they sold but kept it to boost their CAFE numbers.I'm personally happy that I no longer have to dread being "upgraded" to a Maxima or a Malibu anymore. And thankfully Altima is also on its way out.
  • Tassos Under incompetent, affirmative action hire Mary Barra, GM has been shooting itself in the foot on a daily basis.Whether the Malibu cancellation has been one of these shootings is NOT obvious at all.GM should be run as a PROFITABLE BUSINESS and NOT as an outfit that satisfies everybody and his mother in law's pet preferences.IF the Malibu was UNPROFITABLE, it SHOULD be canceled.More generally, if its SEGMENT is Unprofitable, and HALF the makers cancel their midsize sedans, not only will it lead to the SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST ones, but the survivors will obviously be more profitable if the LOSERS were kept being produced and the SMALL PIE of midsize sedans would yield slim pickings for every participant.SO NO, I APPROVE of the demise of the unprofitable Malibu, and hope Nissan does the same to the Altima, Hyundai with the SOnata, Mazda with the Mazda 6, and as many others as it takes to make the REMAINING players, like the Excellent, sporty Accord and the Bulletproof Reliable, cheap to maintain CAMRY, more profitable and affordable.
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