2008 Subaru Tribeca: New York Auto Show

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Facelift Brings Toned-Down Look and Tweaked Name
Introduced at the 2007 New York International Auto Show and due on sale in summer 2007 is an important facelift for Subaru‘s top-of-the-line crossover SUV. At the same time, Subaru is wisely dropping the “B9” portion of its name, choosing to simplify life by just calling the model the Tribeca.
EDITOR’s Note: Apparently Subaru couldn’t take the heat from flacks referring to the vehicle as the “benign Tribeca”. Some wags, referring to its unfortunate nose styling referred to the Tribeca as the “malignant Tribeca”. Those of us here at AutoPacific and VehicleVoice had divided opinions on the styling of the Tribeca’s nose. Some liked it others thought it abhorrent. I was on the side of liking it. It showed Subaru was brave enough to take a chance with distinctive style.

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The exterior changes dramatically quiet the Tribeca’s previously expressive styling, for better or worse. Subaru may find themselves in a situation where changes intended to help improve sales and make the product more palatable to more people have taken out too much of the Subaru personality. Though the B9 Tribeca was polarizing in its first couple of years on market, and sales have yet to meet the initial internal targets, it had Subaru character. Subaru goes into the 2008 model year with a freshened lineup including a facelifted Outback/Legacy (of which we brought you news from the Detroit show in January), new Impreza, and facelifted Tribeca. All carry more subtle looks than prior versions, and the Subaru badge is about the only common element among them.
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The Tribeca’s face gets a new grille, front fenders, and new hood, with elements effectively ripped off the Chrysler Pacifica. Once you get past the similarity to the Pacifica (easy to do when you take more than a cursory look), the rechristened Tribeca looks taller and a bit wider, with a deeper front valance, new headlights, and a raised hoodline on a flat hood. New larger side-view mirrors and new rear three-quarter windows (more squared at the bottom) should help improve rearward visibility. The new rear fascia, with wider taillights and new rear valance, also give some visual height and width to the Tribeca, so it looks less tipsy. Though the cockpit hasn’t been changed, the third row is slightly more accessible as the second row gets tilt-and-slide controls for both driver’s and passenger’s side and a new assist spring to make it easier to slide the seat. The rear suspension has been recalibrated and given new bushings to improve ride comfort.

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More Power, Cheaper Fuel
One feature buyers of the new Tribeca are sure to appreciate is that the new model gets a new engine that not only delivers more power, it runs on regular unleaded fuel instead of premium unleaded. The new engine is a larger, 3.6L version of the 3.0L DOHC 24v boxer six-cylinder the model had from launch, with power increased from 245HP to 256HP. The 3.6L offers better low-end torque, Subaru promises better fuel economy though hasn’t released numbers yet, and it employs Subaru’s Active Valve Control System on both intake and exhaust (the 3.0L only used variable valve control on the intake side). Though offering no more gears, the new five-speed automatic is lighter and promises smoother shifts and less lag time.
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