Tribeca:

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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2008 Subaru Impreza: New York Auto Show

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New Chassis and New Look Means a Quieter Impreza, Inside and Out
Subaru was busy at this year’s New York International Auto Show, delivering both a new Impreza and an updated look for their Tribeca crossover SUV. The new Impreza will go on sale in fall 2007, continuing with a five-door and a four-door and, of course, the highly coveted WRX model. We’ll have to wait until next year to get hold of the coveted STi.

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Subaru revealed a more conservatively styled Impreza in New York, as they also did with the updated Tribeca. Impreza, particularly disappointing for the WRX models, lost much of its front-end character, gained side surfacing reminiscent of BMW, and the five-door traded in its Subaru edges for a more rounded form. The new look takes as much adjusting to as the 2006 model year facelift did when it brought us the wing-form grille from the Tribeca, but this time it makes you miss the Subaru feel.
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By time the Impreza goes on sale in fall, buyers may well be used to the new face and less disappointed. If the new look brings in new buyers without losing the old, the change could be worth suffering initial criticism. In New York, Subaru had the sedan in WRX trim and the five-door in 2.5i trim on display, and both models looked better in person than in photographs. While the new five-door isn’t as quirky as the outgoing car, it is also less clumsy. Its shape is more elegant, though it doesn’t look like a Subaru from the rear.
EDITOR’s Note: Subaru aficionados appear to be initially turned off by the look of the new Impreza. Chat rooms are full of negative buzz about the styling. Maybe the performance will offset some of the criticism.
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Here in the States, Subaru will continue to offer four- and five-door bodystyles for 2008MY (in 2.5i and WRX form), but the four-door sedan will be available only here. All-wheel drive continues as standard equipment for the States, with Subaru’s Vehicle Dynamics Control optional on Impreza for the first time. The airbag system has been updated to deploy driver and front passenger airbags in stages depending on passenger sensors. The driver’s seat has a sensor in the seat track to allow deployment based on seating position, while the front passenger’s side senses the weight of the passenger. Side-impact airbags are standard as well.
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Subaru Expands B9 Tribeca Options

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New Grille and Special Edition Package Unveiled in Chicago
Though this Subaru flagship is not quite a full year old, there are some improvements for 2007 that Subaru introduced at the 2006 Chicago auto show. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents were on hand to take a look.
The 2007MY changes include more safety options, new convenience features, a revised standard grille, and an optional Special Edition package. These changes are relatively minor, as one might expect for a vehicle this fresh. The new features make the B9 Tribeca safer as well as more convenient to have in your fleet.

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Subaru B9 Tribeca. New SUV Falls Short with Subi Purist.

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The B9 Tribeca is Subaru’s first effort in designing a larger SUV. It was introduced to the majority of consumers through a 30 second spot featuring the song, “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. The ad concludes with the tagline claiming the B9 brings an end to our perception of what a typical SUV is, and attempts to establish a new definition for the SUV. The song and visual cues of the ad depicts other SUVs (much larger and utilitarian in size and functionality) falling to dust when the B9 crosses their paths.
Unfortunately, the B9 may be the one that will disintegrate and vanish into air before its competitors. It is brought to you by a company known for appealing to a unique group of individuals who are perceived to be tree-huggers and granola-eaters. From an engineering standpoint, the B9 Tribeca is a great vehicle featuring all that Fuji Heavy Industries technology Toyota just bought from General Motors (GM sold its stake in Fuji to Toyota in Fall 2005)… advanced all wheel drive, ABS, other technological features. Although the B9 Tribeca has an impressive and exquisite interior wrapped in a very distinct (controversial) exterior, it is doubtful the new vehicle will appeal to a large audience.
The Subaru B9 Tribeca was included a VehicleVoice Beauty Contest. As expected, its styling was controversial… in the middle of the pack. It will take a person wanting to make a definite statement to buy a B9 Tribeca. Of course, to break out of the product clutter, that is exactly what Subaru was trying to achieve.
Subaru of America Attempting to Move Upmarket
With the introduction of the B9 Tribeca and the earlier intro of its new Legacy lineup, freshened Forester and Impreza, Subaru is trying to reposition and reintroduce themselves to consumers. The question is whether or not Subaru has the goods to move upscale in product content and price.

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