- Newly refined looks
- Crash performance
- Sliding second-row seat
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Moderate performance
- Tight knee room up front
- Dash is a little spacey
The 2008 Subaru Tribeca is mainstream now, in style and performance.
The 2008 Subaru Tribeca crossover has a new nose, a new tail, a new engine, and a more mainstream appeal as it sidles into the new model year. The Edsel-looking grille and the former B9 middle name are gone; the new grille's tucked neatly into the front bumper, while new headlamps give it a wider appearance and a much broader appeal. And along its sides, the Tribeca also sports new three-quarter windows, a reshaped rear valance, and bigger taillamps. It looks more like the Chrysler Pacifica, but it's better than the strange details it wore as a new 2006 model.
The 2008 Subaru Tribeca's new 3.6-liter flat-six engine is more than half a liter larger than before. Subaru says power is up from 245 horsepower to 256, and torque has risen from 215 pound-feet to 247. Not only does the new engine get better fuel economy in real-world driving at 16/21 mpg, it also produces better power in the same cycle and on regular unleaded gas versus the old engine's premium thirst.
Teamed to a heavily revised five-speed automatic that weighs 10 pounds less than before, the Subaru Tribeca should beat its former track numbers of 8.5 seconds to 60 mph, while top speed will remain around 130 mph. That's a tick or two slower than vehicles like the Honda Pilot and the Chrysler Pacifica--but those vehicles don't share the Tribeca's high-dollar engine sounds. All-wheel drive is standard, and there are 8.4 inches of ground clearance, but real off-roading isn't the goal here--just all-weather performance.
Little has changed inside the Subaru Tribeca, where a space-age theme throws its cozy semicircular arms and arrays of soft, blinking graphics around the driver and passenger. The Tribeca is snug, though. In five-passenger editions, the second-row seat slides to and fro 8 inches, giving limolike legroom. Big grab handles make third-row access, on three-row Tribecas, a lot easier for kids, too.
With its anti-lock brakes, traction control, and curtain airbags again standard, the crossover keeps its five-star safety ratings and its status as one of the NHTSA's top picks in its class.