2008 Subaru Tribeca Reviews

2008 Tribeca New Car Test Drive


TriBeCa is a trendy, upscale neighborhood between New York's Soho and Lower Manhattan districts. It isn't cheap real estate. Nor is the Subaru Tribeca cheap transportation. Tribeca is a midsize crossover SUV with available seating for seven. Its overall dimensions put it in the same class as the Toyota Highlander and Nissan Murano; it's nearly as big as a Ford Explorer. Properly equipped, the Tribeca can tow up to 3500 pounds. Tribeca is fully competitive in this class, especially given its lengthy list of standard features. 

Starting with all-wheel drive, the Tribeca is loaded with technology, giving drivers the latest in all-weather safety and performance. The Tribeca earned the highest possible rating in NHTSA federal crash tests, with five stars in the frontal and side-impact tests for both the driver and front-seat passenger; and a four-star rating in the tests for rollover resistance. 

For 2008, Subaru drops the odd B9 suffix from the Tribeca name. More important, the 2008 Tribeca gets new styling that's less controversial than last year's. 

A larger, more powerful 3.6-liter six cylinder engine on the 2008 Tribeca replaces last year's 3.0-liter six-cylinder. Also new for 2008, the transmission has been re-tuned, the rear suspension settings have been revised, and there's a new wheel design. Inside, a tilt-and-slide feature for the second-row seats has been added. 

We've found the Tribeca to be a joy to drive, comfortable and practical. The new engine gives the Tribeca the power it needed. In short, we'd list the Tribeca as a buy. It's comparable to the Highlander and Murano, and that's high praise indeed. And we no longer have to offer explanations for the styling. 


The 2008 Subaru Tribeca comes in five- and seven-passenger versions, each available in standard or Limited trim. All are propelled by the same 256-hp, 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine driving all four wheels full time through a five-speed SportShift automatic with a manual shiftgate. 

The base Tribeca ($29,995) comes with five-passenger seating, cloth upholstery, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat and a four-way power passenger's seat, both with manual lumbar adjustment. The second row of seats is almost as flexible as the two front seats, with a 40/20/40-split reclining seatback and a 60/40-split seat bottom adjustable fore and aft. Dual-zone automatic air conditioning is standard, as is a 100-watt, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers and an auxiliary input jack. Other standard features include cruise control, an interior air filter, fog lights, remote keyless entry, power windows, power heated outside mirrors, and power door locks. The steering wheel, which tilts and has radio controls, and shift knob are covered in leather. And there's an information center displaying audio settings, time, fuel economy and outside temperature. The standard tires are P255/55R18 Goodyear Eagle LS2 all seasons on alloy wheels. 

The seven-passenger Tribeca ($30,995) adds a third-row seat split 50/50, plus heated front seats and an auxiliary rear air conditioner fan control in the second seating row. 

Tribeca Limited five-passenger ($32,595) and seven-passenger ($33,595) models upgrade with leather upholstery (a choice of smooth or perforated) for the first two rows of seats. The stereo is upgraded to a 160-watt system with an in-dash six-disc changer and nine speakers, including a subwoofer in the rear cargo area. Limited also comes with a sunroof, driver's seat memory, a universal garage door opener, and roof rails. Touch-screen navigation ($2,400) is offered only on Limited, and it includes a rearview camera and XM satellite radio. A rear-seat DVD system ($1800) is available on seven-passenger Limited models with navigation. 

Options include ultrasonic reverse parking assist ($270), a remote starter ($335) that allows you to start your Tribeca from up to 800 feet away, and a shade-type retractable rear cargo cover with a cargo net and cargo tray. XM satellite radio ($398) is available as a stand-alone option. A tow package ($514) allows the Tribeca to tow up to 3500 pounds. Several accessory packages are offered, allowing buyers to add simple extras such as floor mats, an auto-dimming inside mirror, reading and puddle lights, and various bumper-protection and roof-rack systems set up specifically for kayaks, bicycles, etc. 

Safety features on all models include Subaru's Vehicle Dynamics Control, Variable Torque Distribution all-wheel drive and all-wheel traction control to help the driver maintain control. Brakes are vented discs with antilock (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), and Brake Assist. Front seat occupants are protected by dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side impact airbags and active head restraints, which automatically push forward and up in rear-impact collisions. Curtain airbags insulate the front and second row seats in side impacts. All seating positions get adjustable head restraints, and outboard seats have height-adjustable anchors for seatbelt shoulder straps. Child safety seat anchors (LATCH) are provided for the rear seat(s). A tire-pressure monitoring system is standard. Safety options consist of the aforementioned rearview camera and rear park assist. 

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