Summer 2007 Forward to a Friend

All-New 2008 Subaru Tribeca


All-New 2008 Subaru Tribeca

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.

All-New 2008 Subaru Tribeca

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2006-2007 2008
Displacement: 3.0 liters (2,999 cc, 183 cu in) 3.6 liters (3,630 cc, 221.5 cu in)
Configuration: 6 cylinders, horizontally opposed 6 cylinders, horizontally opposed
Valvetrain: double-overhead camshafts double-overhead camshafts
Number of valves: 24 (2 intake and 2 exhaust valves per cylinder) 24 (2 intake and 2 exhaust valves per cylinder)
Valve control: AVCS, i-AVLS Dual AVCS
Horsepower: 245 @ 6,600 rpm 256 @ 6,000 rpm1
Torque (lb-ft): 215 @ 4,200 rpm 247 @ 4,400 rpm1
Fuel type recommended: unleaded premium –
91 octane
unleaded regular
– 87 octane
MPG 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 test cycle.

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 up.

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).

2008 Tribeca Engine

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 and stroke
  • 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.

Here’s what makes the Subaru Tribeca all-new for 2008:
  1. It has a revised name – just Tribeca
  2. The exterior styling is clean, bold, and more refined
  3. The all-new powertrain is smoother, more refined, and features lower operating costs
  4. Improved rearward vision enhances safety
  5. Access to the third-row seat is improved
  6. Added interior features increase the value of the Tribeca

Based on the previous automatic transmission, the new 5-speed 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 engine
  • 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.

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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 several areas:

  • 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.

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