Subaru’s Tribeca evolves well
When you check it out, Subaru’s 2008 Tribeca features some real improvements over its predecessor.
The whole shape flows from a new upright chrome grille, flanked by standard High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights. And behind the lights, Subaru engineers have worked some sort of magic on the engine itself.
It’s still a flat-6 layout, but enlarged to 3.6 litres, producing 23 per cent more low- to mid-range torque. Horsepower is up to 256 and, despite more power and increased displacement, the engine has been tuned to run on regular fuel (the old model needed premium juice). It’s also the exact same size, dimensionally, as the previous unit.
In between the redesigned engine and requisite all-wheel-drive system is a new five-speed automatic transmission (with manual shift mode). The shifts themselves are pretty smooth, but progress overall is just … quiet. Maybe the new engine revs less, or it produces fewer vibrations, but the whole package is very Lexus-like as far as refinement is concerned.
Also of note is a tweaked rear suspension. It helps minimize intrusion into the cabin while providing excellent on-road manners.
Inside, the interior is pretty much unchanged. There’s more glass, which gives the swoopy and surprisingly ergonomic interior better light. As before, a predominantly silver dash and control switches sweep across the width of the cabin, “melting” in the middle to give a cockpit feel. It’s simply a great place to spend time.
Oh, and Subaru tweaked access to the third-row seats, meaning the rear bench is no longer the exclusive domain of Pilates instructors.
To top it off, all Tribecas come with a 36-month/60,000-kilometre no-charge scheduled maintenance plan — basically making your only expense fuel fills and car washes.
For 2008, the lineup has been simplified to three models, with the five-passenger version ringing in at $41,995. Above that is the Limited Package with a leather interior at $45,145. Then there is the seven-seater Tribeca Premium Package with leather, third-row seating, navigation system and rear-seat DVD entertainment for $52,495.
For our money, the mid-range Tribeca Limited offers the best combination of style and performance, but Subaru has positioned the vehicle slightly above domestic “crossovers” like the Edge and Acadia, but below anything from BMW or Lexus.
2008 Subaru Tribeca