The Subaru Tribeca rolls into 2009 with a year-old redesign that wears well. It maintains its cockpit-like interior with a more conservative exterior that should appeal to additional buyers.
Subaru has had identity issues lately and the Tribeca is no exception. It launched with a front end that only a mother could love but was later redesigned with a more mainstream look. Most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com offer similar takes on the new look. 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 now-discontinued Chrysler Pacifica.
The inside is where the 2009 Subaru Tribeca really stands out. Car and Driver comments, "[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." MotherProof likes the interior lighting, noting that "the nighttime ambient lighting scheme...is a sight to behold."
To improve visibility in the 2009 Subaru Tribeca, the automaker added larger side mirrors and redesigned rear windows and pillars. MotherProof 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."
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, 2009’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.