Specifically, it was planned that the most prominent feature of the Tribeca, a protruding triangular snout, would be grafted across the entire Subaru lineup.
Naturally, as with any significant departure from the norm, the slightly bulbous, somewhat bizarre appearance of the Tribeca
polarized automobile reviewers and buyers alike, and overshadowed its other attributes.
Seating 5 or 7 passengers, the 2008 Tribeca is motivated by a 3.6 liter, 6 cylinder boxer engine producing 256 horsepower. This power is directed to all 4 wheels, as with every Subaru, by a 5 speed automatic transmission.
The Tribeca gets a fairly thirsty 18 miles per gallon in city driving, versus 23 miles per gallon on the highway.
Based on a modified version of the Legacy platform, the Tribeca boasts electronic traction control, antilock brakes, and a center limited slip differential.
These features make it a good choice for anyone living in the snow belt, as Subarus are noted for their excellent traction and all wheel drive system. Capable of carrying 74.4 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seat folded down, and 141.8 cubic feet with the seats removed, the Tribeca does suffer from a space crunch when it comes to third-row seating – anyone past the 3rd grade might not want to spend more than a few minutes there on a road trip.
But if you do find yourself wedged into the back of a Tribeca, at least you’ll be able to distract yourself with the available satellite radio, or maybe even lean out the window and smile for the integrated backup camera.
Starting at $29,995, the Tribeca compares favorably to the other crossovers in its class – specifically, the similarly priced Saturn Outlook and the slightly less expensive Hyundai Veracruz. While slightly smaller and lighter than either of these two vehicles, the Tribeca does come with 18 inch wheels and the previously mentioned all-wheel drive as standard features, something neither of its competitors can boast.
The plan to introduce a company-wide style based around the Tribeca’s triangular grille was implemented only on the Impreza, where it proved to be unpopular and somewhat ungainly on the smaller car.
For 2008, the Tribeca has had some of the more ostentatious aspects of its front end styling softened, presumably to silence some very vocal critics. While Subaru might have taken a lot of heat for the cheeky, smiley-faced design of the Tribeca, there are a significant number of crossover SUV buyers who desire to stand out from the crowd of utilitarian, form-follows-function vehicles.
If not for automobile manufacturers like Subaru who are willing to take risks when it comes to design, we might all still be driving Ford Model T’s – in any color we want, as long as it’s black.