2008 SUOTY Contender Road Test: 2008 Subaru Tribeca
The Doctor Advised Against The Facelift
Introduced just three years ago as the B9 Tribeca, this new iteration is reworked inside and out. The unique three-grille nose is replaced by a front fascia featuring a chrome "spread-wing" design many judges found less attractive than the original, with less personality. The other significant change is under the hood. Subaru has replaced the 3.0-liter, 250-horse engine to 3.6 liters, adding six horses, and a noticeable 32 pound-feet of torque, while switching from a premium-fueled motor to a 3.6-liter, 256-horse regular-fueled one.
The interior remains relatively unchanged visually, but Subaru has added a few functions. The second-row seat now has a tilt-and-slide feature on both sides, along with a new assist spring that reduces effort in sliding the second row. New grab handles on the lower C-pillar further ease entry to the third row. Even with the increase in length (from 189.8 to 191.5), the third row is still tight, useable for the smallest of passengers.
On-road manners are much better than before. Body roll is reduced while preserving a smooth ride. While the new engine and transmission work well, the Tribeca's sizeable weight created struggles.
Despite its improved persona, when a vehicle isn't the value or performance leader or doesn't offer the most interior room, it's difficult to consider it a front-runner.
|2008 Subaru Tribeca|
|Base price range||$30,640-$34,240|
|Price as tested||$39,791 (Limited)|
|Vehicle layout||Front engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV|
|Engine||3.6L/256-hp/247-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve flat-6|
|Curb weight (f/r dist)||4268 lb (55/45%)|
|Length x width x height||191.5 x 73.9 x 66.4 in|
|0-60 mph||8.2 sec|
|Quarter mile||16.3 sec @ 85.3 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||126 ft|
|Lateral acceleration||0.76 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||28.7 sec @ 0.57 g (avg)|
|EPA city/hwy fuel econ||16/21 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||1.08 lb/mile|
|Bottom Line||More power and some updated interior features--but not much else here to make anyone say "Wow!"|