2008 Subaru Tribeca gets 5 stars from NHTSA

The 2008 Subaru Tribeca may have gone from unattractive to almost too inoffensive, but the embattled CUV has at least moved to the head of the class with regards to safety. The Tribeca scored a perfect "five stars" on both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's front and side impact crashes for the driver and front passenger. NHTSA gauges crash-worthiness by determining the probability of serious injury at impact speeds of 38.5 MPH for front impacts and 35 MPH for side impacts. Subaru attributes the perfect score to top-notch structural design, plus "advanced active safety technologies, combined with Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Vehicle Dynamics Control (Stability Control)."

A lot of new products on the market are claiming Five Star crash ratings, but getting all fives for both driver and passenger in front and side impacts is still very impressive. Some of us may not be sold on the looks of Subaru's redesigned crossover, but at least the safety and interior are top notch.

Subaru's press release is posted after the jump.

[Source: Subaru]

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May 15, 2007 18:19 ET

2008 Subaru Tribeca Awarded Double 5-Star Safety Rating

- Subaru Tribeca given highest possible safety rating from NHTSA in both the frontal and side-impact NCAP crash tests -

CHERRY HILL, N.J., May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Subaru of America, Inc. today announced that the restyled and more powerful 2008 Subaru Tribeca received the highest rating in the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) crash tests. The Subaru Tribeca received 5-stars in both the frontal and side- impact crash tests for both the driver and passenger seating positions.

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"Safety is a true hallmark of the Subaru brand and the Subaru Tribeca offers our customers the peace of mind of a comprehensive, proven safety package," said Tom Doll, executive vice president, Subaru of America, Inc. "Innovative structural design, plus advanced active safety technologies, combined with Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), our version of stability control - make Tribeca a safety performance standout in its segment."

NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) provides consumers with vehicle safety information, primarily front and side crash test results, and more recently rollover ratings, to aid consumers in their vehicle purchase decisions. The test results are relayed to consumers via an easily recognizable star rating system - from 1 to 5 stars, with 5 being the highest. The NCAP crash tests are conducted at speeds higher than required by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for both side impacts, at 38.5 miles per hour, and full frontal barrier impacts, at 35 miles per hour. The tests are done to compare vehicles for the NHTSA Consumer Information Program and the results can be found at www.nhtsa.dot.gov.

Like all Subaru models, the 2008 Tribeca has been optimized for both active safety (the technology to help the driver avoid hazardous situations) and passive safety (the systems that help protect occupants in the event of a collision).

Subaru Active Safety

The active safety concept for the Subaru Tribeca combines "right size" proportions, with inherently crisp, agile driving responses and dynamic handling systems. Notably, the Tribeca is equipped with the company's most advanced version of Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, combining Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) All-Wheel Drive with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) stability control and four-wheel traction control (TCS). This combination of technologies along with its standard double-wishbone rear suspension endows the Tribeca with outstanding nimbleness and all-weather grip.

Just as important, is the specific way that Subaru has integrated these technologies, resulting in one of the most effective traction and handling systems on the market today. VDC is a highly sophisticated stability control system that actively controls the center differential's power distribution by means of a continuously variable hydraulic transfer clutch. The system distributes torque to the appropriate wheel based on input from steering wheel angle, yaw and lateral g-force sensors. It also monitors input from the ABS brake system, adjusting individual wheel braking as needed, helping to maintain vehicle control under a variety of driving conditions.

The 2008 Tribeca also features a 4-channel/4-sensor ABS braking system with Emergency Brake Assist. Emergency Brake Assist analyzes force and stroke on the brake pedal and increases hydraulic boost to provide enhanced emergency braking. A direct tire-pressure monitoring system and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) are also standard. The EBD system automatically adjusts front/rear brake proportioning based on vehicle load and is more effective than conventional brake proportioning valves.

Visibility Enhancers

For improved visibility, the redesigned 2008 Tribeca features larger rear quarter windows, plus new side mirrors with 50 percent larger viewing area. Tribeca Limited models with the optional touch-screen navigation system include a rear vision camera. When the driver moves the transmission shift handle into reverse, the center color LCD display will show what the camera lens can detect within its field of vision behind the vehicle. The screen view also features distance/width guidelines to assist the driver in backing up the vehicle.

Customers can also order reverse assist sensors as an optional accessory for any Tribeca model. Ultrasonic sensors mounted in the rear bumper detect objects behind the Tribeca and emit an audible tone as the vehicle gets closer to the object behind it.

Subaru Passive Safety

The foundation for passive safety in the Tribeca, and in all Subaru vehicles, is the proven Subaru Ring Frame Reinforced vehicle architecture. The ring frame reinforced unibody structure with a front-end configuration disperses collision energy in three directions.

This design forms a series of "rings" around the passenger compartment, providing protection in a variety of collision types. High-strength steel reinforced center pillars enhance side impact protection, which is further bolstered by optimally positioned side-impact door beams.

The Subaru Boxer engine contributes to safety, because it allows more crush room in front impacts. Subaru vehicles are designed to allow the entire powertrain to slide under the car along the floor tunnel in a severe collision, helping to prevent intrusion into the passenger compartment. In the rear, the spare tire is mounted underneath the vehicle to avoid intrusion into the passenger compartment. Additionally, a specially-designed 'M-frame' structure protects occupants with added reinforcement in the event of a rear collision.

Advanced Air Bag Systems

The heightened focus on side impact safety continues inside, where the Tribeca features standard front seat side impact air bags for thorax-area protection, and curtain side air bags (front and middle rows) for head and rollover protection. Mounted in the upper sides of the front seatbacks, the front seat side-impact air bags offer protection regardless of seat position. The curtain side air bags deploy from the headliner. Sensors in the vehicle determine if an impact engages the center pillar (deploying side air bags, belt tensioners and curtain air bags) or just the rear seat area (deploying curtain air bags). Special sensing and algorithms also will deploy and maintain the side curtain inflation when a potential rollover is detected.

The Subaru advanced frontal air bag system (SRS) uses dual-stage- deployment driver and front passenger air bags. A position sensor on the driver's seat track detects if the driver is sitting too close to the air bag, in which case the system would delay deployment of the air bag's second stage. The system also takes input from a seatbelt buckle switch, to determine if the driver is using the belt.

The passenger side front seat incorporates an occupant detection system that measures weight on the passenger seat - determining the presence of a child or adult - to control air bag deployment. In addition, the system takes input from a seatbelt tension sensor installed in the seatbelt anchor, as well as a seatbelt buckle sensor. If the system determines "empty seat" or "child" (based on weight thresholds), it sets the front air bag not to deploy and illuminates the "air bag off" indicator. If an adult is detected, the air bag will be set to deploy and the "air bag on" light illuminates.

All seating positions in the Tribeca feature a three-point seatbelt. The belt for the second-row middle passenger deploys from an anchor located in the headliner. All Subaru models incorporate electrically triggered pre-tensioners and force limiters in the front three-point seatbelts. These systems work together to gradually restrain the occupants and absorb the impact energy of a frontal collision. The seatbelt pre-tensioners operate simultaneously with the front air bags and cinch the front seatbelts to help restrain the driver and front passenger in their seats. Additionally, the mechanically operated torsion-bar force-limiters extend the belts to reduce the belt forces on the occupants' torsos. The seatbelt mechanism also absorbs energy through internal deformation.

The Subaru Tribeca also comes standard with active front head restraints that are designed to help reduce potential whiplash injury in a rear collision. A safety brake pedal system and impact-absorbing driver's footrest are also used to help reduce lower leg injury in a frontal collision.

In addition to these active and passive safety features, the 2008 Subaru Tribeca, launched at the 2007 New York International Auto Show, features more style and power. The vehicle boasts a new 3.6-liter engine that delivers 256 horsepower and 247 lb.-ft. of torque on unleaded regular gas. The exterior design of the new Tribeca is both streamlined and powerful, with a new, wider and taller grille, new front fenders and new hood design. In fact, all exterior sheetmetal is all-new for 2008 with the exception of the front/rear side doors. The grille is now integrated into the front bumper, featuring a new chrome spread-wing design.

For additional information and images of the Subaru Tribeca visit www.media.subaru.com.

About Subaru of America, Inc.

Subaru of America, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. of Japan. Headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of 600 dealers across the United States. Subaru makes the best-selling All-Wheel Drive car sold in America. For additional information visit www.subaru.com.

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