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2006 Subaru Tribeca Review

2006 Subaru Tribeca (select to view enlarged photo)
2006 Subaru Tribeca

2006 Subaru Tribeca (select to view enlarged photo)

2006 Subaru Tribeca (select to view enlarged photo)



MODEL: 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca 7-passenger
ENGINE: 3.0-liter DOHC H6
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 250 hp @ 6,600 rpm/219 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic with Sportshift manual control
WHEELBASE: 108.2 in.
LENGTH/WIDTH/HEIGHT: 189.8 x 73.9 x 66.5 in.
TIRES: 255/55 R18 all-season
FUEL ECONOMY: 18 mpg city/23 mpg highway
CARGO VOLUME: 8.3 cu. ft/37.6 cu. ft./67.2 cu. ft.(all seats up/3rd row down/3rd and 2nd row down)
STICKER: $38,320 (includes $625 destination and delivery charge)

Subaru's newest vehicle, the B9 Tribeca, is sure to turn heads, not only because of its distinct styling, but because it's a Subaru and in the northeast at least, Subarus are popular vehicles. We had several inquiries about the Tribeca before we had a chance to drive it, and several more while we had the car. It should prove popular for Subaru.

First the name, which bothered me from the moment I heard it. If they're calling this B9, is the next one Malignant? Mestacisized? Mastectomy? Well, Subaru of America has heard all the jokes. B9 is a model name chosen in Japan, and according to a Subaru representative, "we have no idea how they choose model names." Tribeca, on the other hand, is a great name. It's as trendy and hip as the Tribeca area of New York City, where the car was introduced.

Another feature about the Tribeca I found interesting is its strong resemblance to the Mitsubishi Outlander. Nowhere could I find any official family connection, though. The grilles are different, with many of the comments about the Tribeca's grille being the same as with the Edsel, although the Tribeca's is far more attractive, especially with what's available on other manufacturers' vehicles. Actually, the grille resembles a Kia Amanti, so there's a lot of cross-referencing with this car. Officially, the Tribeca is based on an extensively modified version of the popular Legacy/Outback platform with a longer wheelbase and length and wider track for better stability.

Tribeca comes in either a 5- or 7-passenger configuration. Out tester was a pre-production 7-passenger. I felt the Tribeca (have you noticed yet that I refuse to call it a B9?) offered good second-row seating. Third row seating is tight, as might be expected, but would serve well for small children.

In most cases, we folded the back seat down and stacked golf bags in the rear. On one trip, I was asked to drive the Thursday morning foursome to a faraway course. "Can you fit everyone in?" I was asked and of course I answered in the positive. Fortunately, I was right. We put all four bags in the back, plus shoes and other paraphernalia that old guys take golfing with them. In addition, all four passengers sat comfortably. I might have expected some complaints from the rear seat, but the group was generally satisfied. I challenged them a few times by moving my set further back, but they were happy (until I cleaned their wallets on the course, of course).

Power for the B9 Tribeca comes from a 3.0-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder that develops a healthy 250 hp and 219 lb.-ft. of torque. Our transmission was a 5-speed automatic with a sport shift mode that really wasn't necessary. Shifting was smooth (the guys in the back kept telling me so) with no jerkiness.

The suspension is modified from the Legacy/Outback for greater ride smoothness. Again I concur, as did the boys in the back. In fact, the greatest compliment the car received was in its ride quality.

Ride quality didn't deteriorate even on tough mountain stretches with lots of twists. While the Tribeca isn't a sports car, it did corner well and seemed to enjoy it.

While exterior styling is what most pedestrians will see, the driver faces a unique twin cockpit design inside. In front of the driver and front passenger, the dash is concave; in the center it's convex, and holds all the auxiliary equipment. There was a navigation system that was excellent, very good audio system and excellent heating/cooling system, as well as small storage bins and cubbies.

The navigation system screen was bright, as was the instrument panel. In fact it was so bright, and combined with headlights that are always on (Daytime Running Lights), resulted in my being stopped by local police. I was returning from the local gas station when I noticed flashing lights in the rear view mirror. As the officer was approaching the car, I was trying to figure out what I had done wrong. I wasn't speeding (for a change) had used my turn signals, etc. He came up to the car and asked if my headlights were on. I looked, and saw that the switch was still on "off." He noticed that my taillights weren't working. So even though my headlights were "on," they weren't. This has always been a complaint of mine with DRLs, and this is the first time it almost cost me money.

Aside from that minor problem, my week with the Tribeca was a pleasant one. I liked the car, my golfing buddies liked it, and my wife liked it. It's stylish, and looks a lot better than most Subaru models. If it performs in nasty weather as well as the rest of the Subaru line, it should prove to be another winner.

2005 The Auto Page Syndicate