Subaru went big with its new B9 Tribeca, which serves up more height, cargo area, and passenger capacity than anything before it from the automaker. It matches the increased size with trademark Subee features to generate a well-executed SUV.

The Tribeca delivers an enjoyable, energetic ride through the hills, but if you want a dash of STI performance, consider the latest upgrades from Cobb Tuning. Based in Utah, Cobb has cut its teeth developing power upgrades for the WRX and STI, so it's a logical extension for Cobb to offer wares for other Subaru products--including those on the Tribeca seen here.

While the stock DOHC 3.0-liter flat-six engine produces decent power (250 horses), Cobb adds a Rotrex supercharger, an air-to-air intercooler, and a high-flow intake that force feeds more atmosphere. An AccessPORT ECU programmer generates revised air, fuel, and spark timing calibration when boost is present. The supercharger setup ($4599) was developed to work in concert with the factory serpentine-belt drive system to simplify the installation. Cobb's cat-back stainless-steel high-flow exhaust improves performance and lends a meaner exhaust note. Cobb says its power package delivers 320 horsepower--an increase of 70. The seat-of-the-pants feel of the upgrades doesn't seem overly strong on the street, but our test performance numbers recorded a 7.7-second charge to 60 mph (1.6 ticks quicker than stock).

For confident cornering, Cobb's Sports Tuned Suspension package uses stiffer springs with a 2.3-inch-lower ride height, performance struts, and larger-diameter anti-roll bars. A set of Advan Connoisseur 51C 20x9.0-inch alloy wheels matched with Yokohama Advan ST 275/40R20 tires rounds out the package. In town, the suspension is stiffer; at the track, the setup delivers increased predictability and higher limits. While the big 20-inch wheels and tires ($3000) likely hurt overall handling, as such sizeable mass has been known to decrease performance, the Cobb Tribeca still ran more than a full second quicker than stock in our figure-eight test. A Tribeca delivers decent 60-to-0-mph braking, but Cobb's front-brake kit ($1850), with four-piston aluminum calipers, 13.1-inch-diameter two-piece slotted rotors, and brake pads, shrinks stopping distances by eight feet.

What we most like, though, is the lack of shiny geegaws. The wheels and exhaust tips are a tasteful dark bronze; even the factory chrome headlights are muted. The Tribeca's flashy chrome grille is replaced by Cobb's black mesh grille and roofrails are deleted for smoother body lines. With just the right mix of power, muscular stance, and subtle styling, the Cobb Tribeca exudes character without looking like one.

  2006 TribecaCobb Tribeca
Horsepower250<320
0-60 mph, sec9.3<7.7
Quarter mile, sec @ mph 17.0 @ 83.1 16.1 @ 87.1
Braking, 60-0 mph, ft 125 117
Figure eight, sec 29.0 27.8