SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN THE SUBARU TRIBECA WARRANT OUR CALLING IT “NEW.”
THE 2008 SUBARU TRIBECA looks different, and its name has changed (the B9 nomenclature
has been dropped). Although not as apparent, Subaru has improved the Tribeca cabin
for added flexibility, safety, and convenience. Plus, under the hood, important
changes have been made to the powertrain.
The revisions made on the 2008 Tribeca were the result of Subaru listening intently
to its customers.
Striking, more flexible, and capable of developing increased power while reducing
operating costs, the revisions made on the 2008 Tribeca were the result of Subaru
listening intently to its customers.
Customer input encouraged Subaru designers to rethink the stylistic impact of the
Tribeca exterior. While addressing the nose’s polarizing styling, Subaru also
gave the rest of the sheet metal a makeover.
Always prepared to make cabins more livable, Subaru found ways to enhance the interior.
It sports modified seating, enhanced outward visibility, and expanded feature content.
Conscious of customer requests for lower operating costs and a strong appeal for
increased performance, Subaru increased displacement, horsepower, and torque while
maintaining mileage and decreasing operating costs.
SUBARU TRIBECA ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS
3.0 liters (2,999 cc, 183 cu in)
3.6 liters (3,630 cc, 221.5 cu in)
6 cylinders, horizontally opposed
6 cylinders, horizontally opposed
Number of valves:
24 (2 intake and 2 exhaust valves per cylinder)
24 (2 intake and 2 exhaust valves per cylinder)
245 @ 6,600 rpm
256 @ 6,000 rpm1
215 @ 4,200 rpm
247 @ 4,400 rpm1
Fuel type recommended:
unleaded premium –
– 87 octane
18 city/23 highway2, 3
16 city/21 highway2, 3
1 Tentative, pending final testing.
2 EPA Fuel Economy estimates. Actual mileage may vary.
3 2008 EPA ratings have changed based on revisions to the test cycle.
Therefore, all vehicle fuel economy ratings will lower for 2008. 2008 Tribeca EPA
ratings are the same as 2007 B9 Tribeca ratings would have been using the new EPA
Here are the highlights.
Anyone familiar with the previous B9 Tribeca will notice the dramatic changes for
2008. The Tribeca has all-new skin, including the grille, bumpers, hood, front fenders,
rear quarter panels, liftgate, and roof. In fact, the only body parts carried over
from the 2007 model year are the doors and rocker panels.
Exterior mirrors have 50 percent greater area, improving rear vision, and their
housings have LED turn signals that increase the visibility of the driver’s
turning intentions to other drivers, enhancing safety. Rear quarter windows are
now larger, aiding both driver and passenger outward vision. The rear backup camera
remains standard on navigation-equipped units to further aid safety when backing
Wheel styling has been revised, too. New 18-inch “dual-spoke” aluminum-alloy
wheels are standard on all Tribeca models.
If a Tribeca is equipped with third-row seats, entering is easier for 2008. The
second-row seats on both sides tip and slide forward for access. (Previously, a
third-row passenger could enter only from the right-hand side of the vehicle.) This
helps ensure parents can guide children in/out of the vehicle in parking lot environments.
The operation of the tip-and-slide mechanism is now a one-hand effort, thanks to
additional springing. Also, grab handles molded into the rear quarter trim panels
for the third-row passengers are new, adding to convenience. These enhancements
to third-row access add to the vehicle’s flexibility, functionality, and safety.
The navigation system has been updated for 2008 – with Software Revision 2.0.
The map database is updated, plus Subaru dealers are now listed as Points of Interest.
All Tribeca models equipped with navigation have standard XM® Satellite
Radio (three-month trial subscription is included, then subscriptions must be purchased
separately). All models not equipped with factory-installed navigation are pre-wired
for either XM or SIRIUS® Satellite Radio (hardware and subscriptions
must be purchased separately).
Major changes have been made to the vehicle’s engine and transmission. New
or revised engine features include:
- All-new block
- Unique crankshaft
- Displacement greater by 20 percent (from 3.0 to 3.6 liters) by increasing both bore
- New Dual-AVCS (Automatic Valve Control System), which varies both the intake and
exhaust valve system timing
- Three-piece timing chain, featuring a revised chain pitch which reduces noise
- Carryover fuel economy enabled by the new Dual-AVCS system, internal changes to
the automatic transmission and reduced piston friction
One of the most important aspects of the new engine is that it uses 87-octane (AKI)
regular unleaded fuel while producing more horsepower and torque than the previous
premium-fuel engine, while retaining the same fuel economy. This was made possible
by the new Dual-AVCS system and the revised cylinder cooling system.
ALL NEW, SIX DIFFERENT WAYS
Here’s what makes the Subaru Tribeca all-new for 2008:
- It has a revised name – just Tribeca
- The exterior styling is clean, bold, and more refined
- The all-new powertrain is smoother, more refined, and features lower operating costs
- Improved rearward vision enhances safety
- Access to the third-row seat is improved
- Added interior features increase the value of the Tribeca
Based on the previous automatic transmission, the new
unit is heavily revised. Referred to as the “2nd Generation 5EAT” (5-speed,
electronically controlled automatic transmission), the Tribeca transmission includes:
- An all-new torque converter
- A new electronic control unit
- Simplified gearing and upgraded internals for the added torque output of the 3.6-liter
- Standard SPORTSHIFT® manual mode
These changes result in smoother shifts, fewer gear changes in daily driving and
in hilly terrain, and much quicker downshifts.
The new engine and transmission help make the 2008 Tribeca more powerful, quieter,
and less expensive to operate.
THE PROOF IS IN THE DRIVING – IMPRESSIONS FROM LAS VEGAS
As part of our introduction to the 2008 Tribeca, we were invited to test-drive both
the 2007 B9 Tribeca and 2008 Tribeca models, which enabled us to experience the
effects of the improvements for 2008. The driving event took place in the parking
lot and service roads of Las Vegas Speedway.
Driving the 2007 and 2008 models back-to-back, the 2008 Tribeca impressed us in
- Power delivery: Its larger engine gave the 2008 model a noticeable
boost when accelerating. Greater horsepower, but especially greatly increased torque
at lower engine speeds makes all the difference in the world!
- Upshifts: Gear changes in the new Tribeca take place smoothly –
almost without intervention. It accelerates in a steady and constant surge forward.
- Downshifts: In Sport mode, the driver is free to upshift and downshift
the transmission. When downshifting, the transmission control unit interacts with
the engine control unit to “blip” the throttle – meaning that
the control units cause engine speed to increase to match the road speed in the
lower gear. This is an interpretation of how the driver of a manually shifted vehicle
makes downshifts, and it make downshifting significantly smoother.
- Transmission “hunting”: This is an annoying habit that
some automatic transmissions have. The increased computing power of the transmission
control unit reduces hunting in the Tribeca transmission. Programming also enables
the Tribeca 5-speed to downshift to an appropriate gear and remain in it when cornering.
- Suspension: Revised bushings give the 2008 model a more solid feel
when encountering road bumps.
- Exterior view/mirrors: You can’t miss these mirrors! They
give drivers added ability to view the roads behind them. The enlargement of the
exterior mirrors complements the increased viewing area of the interior rearview
mirror – a change made for 2007.
- Quiet Interior: Even though we were accelerating, braking, and
taking the vehicles through a handling course, conversation took place without strain.
The interior was noticeably quiet through all we did.
Viewed side-by-side, the exterior differences between 2007 and 2008 models caused
us to wonder if the new designed caused an increase in the coefficient of drag.
With its finer features, the 2007 model looked as if it might have a more efficient
Cd. We asked Tribeca engineer Tsuneo Sekiguchi about the apparent difference,
and he assured us that both vehicles had the same Cd. If the 2008 model
lost anything with its taller front, it made up for the loss by the design of its
rear end, which is more “squared off” than the 2007. The 2008 model’s
standard roof spoiler also helps to lower its Cd.