2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca
Stylish Crossover SUV but Needs Power
by Keith Burton
When I first saw the 2007 Subaru Tribeca in
photos I was immediately struck by the styling Subaru had chosen for
their first big CUV. From the side view to the rear flanks, the
Tribeca was something truly good looking. It has a sophisticated
appearance that continues around the windows and into the interior.
But then my eyes caught the front end and did an abrupt halt. There in
the front were three openings with the largest in the center looking
as if it was the update to the ancient Ford Edsel. Not a good thing.
What we found as we drove the Tribeca around, was
that most people didn't really mind the front end styling and most had
never even seen an Edsel, who's front end was once compared to the
urinals in men's rooms. In fact, most people thought the front end
styling was okay.
the B9 Tribeca is a study in great styling. The dash sweeps across the
interior in two arches with curves nicely flowing down the center
console. Switch gear and vents are elegantly arranged and are
wonderfully backlit at night with red and white lights. The center map
is easy to see and the temperature controls for the driver and
passenger seat are uniquely illuminated with clear digital displays.
It is a very upscale look. The seats are comfortable for both the
front and rear seat passengers, though the third row seat should only
be left to children you don't like.
It is hard to get back there, as access is very limited, and if you
move the second row seats up for some legroom in the third row, your
second row passengers may actually complain. The third row is best
left for very occasional use.
Attractive overall styling but with polarizing front end
Very cool interior, especially at night with nice red
and white backlit controls
Drives easy, very carlike
Underpowered, hesitates badly when gas pedal is first
pushed, then revs quickly to redline
Very smooth flat six engine but low on torque
Third row seat is nearly unusable, hard to enter, very
little legroom, but with seats folded, there is plenty of storage
Sophisticated all-wheel drive system makes the B9
surefooted in snow and loose sand
Transmission has nice manumatic feature
Very comfortable seating for the main occupants in the
front and middle row seats
Very cool night lighting feature when you open the
doors, bright LED’s light the area around the doors on the ground.
Overall good fit and finish
Strong brakes and very surefooted on the road.
is clearly some nifty thinking behind the B9 Tribeca. When you open the
doors at night, very bright LED lights shine from beneath the rocker
panels to light the pavement below, very cool.
The gauge cluster is easy to see, but he liquid
crystal displays for the fuel and temperature, while neat to look at, are
a bit obscured by the steering wheel.
On the road, the Tribeca is mostly a smooth cruiser.
Its 245 horsepower flat-six boxer engine is well known for
smooth and quiet performance, but in the Tribeca, its low 215 ft.lbs. of
torque is not enough for this vehicle. Off the line, there is an alarming
pause as the boxer engine gathers momentum, then the engine races
practically to its redline to get you underway. The pause is enough to
make you wonder if the engine is actually there. But once underway, there
is plenty of power, though the transmission will be doing a lot of
shifting if you are heavy of foot.
Braking and steering efforts are light and
communicative and there is
typical excellent fit and finish that Subaru has become known for. But
this remains a vehicle that has the also well-know Subaru quirks. But I
like them. The Tribeca's all wheel drive system is transparent to the
users, but shines in snow and sandy conditions. It is also a sure-footed
CUV in rainy conditions and contributes to what makes this vehicle
different that other less surefooted CUVs. Overall, I judge the ride and
handling better than most. It isn't a sportscar type of feel, but it is
confidence inspiring, especially on slick roads.
Subaru has heard from its customers on the Tribeca
and for 2008, the company has a new grill ready to go and more power for
the engine. We will likely get the '08 model to review at a later date and
we will see if the changes work well.
Overall, I like the Tribeca. It is nice to look at,
especially the interior, and it drives and performs well. One additional
area that needs improvement though is mileage. While rated at 18 city 23
highway, I never saw more that 16 mpg in combined city and highway
driving, and that was even when I tried to go easy.
Body 5- or 7-passenger SUV
Wheelbase 108.2 in.
Length 189.8 in.
Engine DOHC H6, 3.0-liter
Horsepower 245 @ 6,600 rpm
Torque 215 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm
Price Range: $32,000 - $38,000