Interior / Exterior » 7
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STYLING | 7 out of 10
A more palatable, if somewhat generic front end
Kelley Blue Book
Smaller than most other midsize crossover SUVs
swoopy dashboard styling
large wheels and tires make it seem more premium
Car and Driver
The 2008 Subaru Tribeca has been redesigned inside and out to combine a distinctive interior with a more conservative exterior.
On the nose of the Subaru, 2008 brings a front grille that’s gone from bizarre to bland. It is the styling aspect on which most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com offered opinions. Edmunds calls it "a more conservative face," while Car and Driver thinks "Subaru should have called it the Chry-beca" thanks to its close resemblance to the Chrysler Pacifica.
To improve visibility in the 2008 Subaru Tribeca, the automaker added larger side mirrors and redesigned rear windows and pillars. Mother Proof notes this has the added benefit of better access to the third row: "Now you can get back there from either side of the car instead of just one."
The inside is where the 2008 Subaru Tribeca really stands out. Car and Driver writes, "[the] gauge cluster and climate control dials are...handsome." Kelley Blue Book says, "the wave-shaped dashboard visually delights," though adds "its severe curve places some...controls at odd angles from the driver." Mother Proof likes the interior lighting, noting that "the nighttime ambient lighting scheme...is a sight to behold."
Other features are not designed so well in the Tribeca, such as Subaru’s LCD information screen at the top of the center console. Kelley Blue Book points out that in the Subaru, 2008’s digital readouts "can fade when viewed through polarized sunglass lenses." Other reviewers dislike the low-contrast white/light-silver text on silver buttons of the controls.
TheCarConnection.com flew to Palm Springs last spring to drive this new Subaru; 2008’s Tribeca crossover is improved with its new nose, new tail, new engine, and more mainstream appeal. 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.
At Subaru, 2008 brings a more mainstream look to the Tribeca—and it’s all for the better.