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Thanks to its unusual styling, Subaru's first real SUV stands apart from the midsize crossover crowd, but the 2007 B9 Tribeca's subpar acceleration and cramped cabin are significant disadvantages in this highly competitive class.
Alfa-inspired bodywork, stylish interior, lots of standard and optional features.
Feels sluggish when fully loaded, coarse power delivery, lack of rear legroom, one of the pricier choices in this segment.
Available B9 Tribeca Models
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The 2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca crossover SUV is largely unchanged. All models now come pre-wired for XM satellite radio, and there's a new auxiliary jack for connecting portable MP3 players. Additionally B9 Limiteds now have a driver and front-passenger seat memory feature as standard and, as part of the optional navigation system, a rearview camera. Finally, there are a few new options, such as a remote starter and rear parking sensors. On the safety front, an anti-rollover system is now standard, as is brake assist.
Now in its second year, the Subaru B9 Tribeca is a midsize crossover SUV. Besides being the obvious answer to the future trivia question: "What automobile was named after a bingo call and a Manhattan neighborhood?" the B9 happens to be Subaru's first midsize sport-utility. Bigger than the Forester and taller than the wagon-based Outback, it's meant to be a viable alternative to established crossover offerings like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Nissan Murano, as well as true SUVs like the Volkswagen Touareg.
Thanks to its standard all-wheel drive, distinct looks and fairly upscale interior, the 2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca largely succeeds on that mission. The B9's interior is trimmed with lots of luxurious-looking bits and is comfortable, for the most part. It is available in a seven-passenger configuration, but the optional third row should be regarded as a place for kids only. Unfortunately, even the second row is tight for adults. Overall, other vehicles in this segment do a better job of accommodating larger loads of passengers and cargo.
Another significant downside to the Subaru Tribeca is that its 3.0-liter flat-6 is merely adequate in terms of power, and that's just with the driver aboard. Adding a full load of family members taxes the engine, which becomes noisy and rough.
Subaru fans hoping for the SUV equivalent of a fierce WRX, or even a Legacy GT, might be a little disappointed by this aspect. And as competitive as this segment is, this, along with its cramped cabin, is enough to keep it from being a top player among midsize crossover SUVs. But if you like Subarus and desire something a little different (Honda sells close to 10 Pilots for every B9), it's worth a look.
A midsize crossover SUV, the 2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca comes in two trim levels, base and Limited, and buyers can choose five- or seven-passenger versions of either. Standard features on the five-passenger base model include power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, a sliding 60/40-split second-row seat and a sunroof. Seven-passenger versions add a 50/50-split folding third-row seat, heated front seats and rear climate controls. Step up to the Limited on both the five- and seven-passenger versions and you'll get extras such as leather seating, a 160-watt stereo with six-disc CD changer and memory settings for the two front seats as standard equipment. Notable options include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a navigation system with rear parking camera.
The Subaru B9 Tribeca is powered by a 3.0-liter, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine. It produces 245 horsepower and 215 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. All B9 Tribecas are all-wheel drive. Under normal circumstances the power is split 45/55, with the bias being toward the rear wheels.
In addition to Subaru's all-wheel-drive system, every 2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca comes with a rollover-sensing program that redirects power and braking efforts if the car detects that a rollover is imminent. Traction control, stability control and ABS with brake assist are also standard. Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags round out the standard safety features. In government crash tests the 2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca scored five stars (the top rating) for protection of occupants in both frontal and side impacts.
The B9 Tribeca's interior is filled with quality materials and has a distinct upscale look. However, the way some controls are arranged is curious and sometimes awkward. On the other hand, we like the central display screen that shows climate control and audio information, and this feature comes with the Tribeca whether you order the navigation system or not. Legroom is lacking for third-row passengers, and even those in the second row might feel a little cramped -- a rear-facing infant seat just fits. With the rear seats lowered, there are 74 cubic feet of cargo available.
Unfortunately, the B9 doesn't feel particularly sporty and acceleration is adequate at best, with zero to 60 mph coming up in a sluggish 9.5 seconds. Additionally, the engine sounds noisy and rough when it's working hard. On the other hand, the Tribeca's highway ride is smooth and the cabin remains quiet. In short, this midsize crossover SUV is an acceptable choice for road trips but not so great for tackling a favorite mountain pass in record time.
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