2008 Subaru Tribeca SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Subaru Tribeca SUV

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Subaru Tribeca Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L Flat 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 256 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Subaru Tribeca

  • Thanks to its new engine, the 2008 Subaru Tribeca has become a fine-driving, four-seasons SUV. However, its higher price and tight rear seats remain prominent drawbacks in the midsize crossover crowd.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Serene ride quality, smaller size adds to maneuverability, handsome interior design.

  • Cons

    Cramped second- and third-row seats, low cargo capacity, modest handling limits, high price.

  • What's New for 2008

    The Subaru Tribeca (sorry, bingo fans, "B9" is no longer in the model name) receives some significant updates for 2008. Mechanically, the Tribeca now features an enlarged 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine for more power and torque and a revised five-speed automatic transmission said to offer smoother shifting. The rear suspension has also been softened for better ride comfort. Inside, Subaru has improved access to the third-row seat via a new design of the second-row seat release. The '08 model also has a restyled front end, abandoning last year's adventurous-but-awkward look in favor of a more conservative face.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (7 total reviews)

2 of 8 people found this review helpful

Junk

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Tribeca Limited 7-Pass 4dr SUV AWD w/Rear Seat DVD, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

I did a lot of research when the '08 model came out. Unfortunately there was not enough real data out there. Reliability and performance are poor. We get 14.5 miles per gallon in mixed driving. Full size SUV's with V8 engines can do better. Besides the gas useage is the oil useage. Check it out on your own. Subara considers 1 quart of oil used per every 1000 miles within spec. I should know. This is our Tribeca's oil consumption. We have had interior components fall off (Visors, seat backs, seat track covers, etc.) The dash squeaks, the hatch rattles and engine components have failed (EGR valve). All this and less than 25k miles on it. I will never own another subaru.



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

When is leather not leather?

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Tribeca Limited 7-Pass 4dr SUV AWD w/Rear Seat DVD, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

We have had this car for about a year and a half. It rides well, drives well and has been reliable. Only two complaints. Windshield is very poor quality and breaks with the slightest touch of a pebble. Leather interior is mostly vinyl. After a small tear, I found that the only part of the seat that is leather is the small section in the middle of the seat surface. The entire rest of the seats including the bolsters on the seat surface are made of vinyl. No happy about paying for leather and not even getting full leather seating surfaces! Contacted Subaru and they told me that customers like vinyl better. Sounds like a way for Subaru to save money!



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Need shield for a/c condenser

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Tribeca Limited 7-Pass 4dr SUV AWD w/Rear Seat DVD, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

We purchased our Tribeca in Aug. of this yr. and really love it, with a few exceptions. We took a 3600 mile trip up the east coast (being demo it already had 5600 miles on it). Well, on the way home from our trip a rock flew into the a/c condenser and all the freon drained out. I can't believe that there is no protection from flying objects. The cost to repair it was $1080.00! We were shocked about this and had file on our insurance.




Outstanding suv!

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Tribeca Limited 7-Pass 4dr SUV AWD w/Rear Seat DVD, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

The first Subaru we've owned and we love it! We were looking at the Honda Pilot(booring look), Toyota Higlander Hybrid(cheapo interior, drives like truck), GMC Acadia(drives like a bigger gas guzzling truck),Acura MDX (liked this but not as much as the Subaru for lots of little reasons not to mention value). The Tribeca immediately stood out. The build quality is excellent. The vehicle exudes confidence between the engine, all-wheel-drive, skid control, and all of the other safety features. The flat engine is extremely smooth even during hard acceleration(almost flooring it). The 3rd row is a little cramped but we only have 2 kids and aren't going cross-country in it either. Great car!




Another first time subaru owner

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Tribeca Limited 7-Pass 4dr SUV AWD w/Rear Seat DVD, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

Like another reviewer, wife's car, was driving an STS.Did all the comparisons of driving and reading reviews plus watched a bunch of comparison videos. Nothing comes close to the performance,handling or safety. Compared to the B9 it is a much improved vehicle. If anyone is looking to buy an SUV because of weather considerations, this car will be one of the last to lose integrity.Great AWD and Traction control that really work.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great crossover

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Vehicle: 2008 Subaru Tribeca Limited 7-Pass 4dr SUV AWD w/Rear Seat DVD, Nav (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

Great all around vehicle; it does OK on gas; it looks and drives fantastic... best large vehicle I've ever owned.



Full 2008 Subaru Tribeca Review

What's New for 2008

The Subaru Tribeca (sorry, bingo fans, "B9" is no longer in the model name) receives some significant updates for 2008. Mechanically, the Tribeca now features an enlarged 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine for more power and torque and a revised five-speed automatic transmission said to offer smoother shifting. The rear suspension has also been softened for better ride comfort. Inside, Subaru has improved access to the third-row seat via a new design of the second-row seat release. The '08 model also has a restyled front end, abandoning last year's adventurous-but-awkward look in favor of a more conservative face.

Introduction

Upon its debut two years ago, the Subaru Tribeca got everyone talking but few people buying. While it followed the proven formula of a midsize, seven-seat crossover SUV, the details weren't in sync with buyer preferences. It was slow on the highway, awkward around corners and cramped in the cabin. Its name was a curiosity, its looks an anomaly.

The heavily revised 2008 Subaru Tribeca marks a major shift toward the mainstream. While its more conservative front-end styling is the most obvious difference, the new engine and revised automatic transmission underneath are what grab our attention. Increased size and improved technology have boosted the 3.6-liter six-cylinder's output to 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, and the once-laggardly Tribeca is now as quick as most of its peers.

Other driving attributes are mostly unchanged, and this is pretty much a good thing. Smaller than most other midsize crossover SUVs, the Tribeca maneuvers with ease, and Subaru's standard all-wheel drive provides ample grip in any weather. However, the Tribeca, especially this year's model with its softer rear suspension, is definitely tuned for comfort, as evidenced by its slow steering and noticeable body roll around corners. The payoff comes in the form of its smooth, serene ride quality.

We still think the Tribeca could use some improvement in passenger accommodations. Our first complaint involves the second-row seat, which although fine for kids, lacks the legroom and hip room that larger, taller adults need. Even worse is the tiny third-row seat, as it's only large enough to accommodate the smallest of children. Subaru has improved access to the third row in the 2008 Tribeca, but for families who plan to make everyday use of all three rows, the Tribeca is still not our top recommendation. To make matters worse, Subaru's SUV carries a base price over 30 grand -- despite its modest interior space and practicality. That price is supported by plenty of standard features, but it's certainly a consideration for midsize SUV shoppers trying to stay within a household budget.

Overall, we think the 2008 Subaru Tribeca is of sound design and a solid performer. But with so many desirable choices in this segment, it's probably best to look around. In particular, families who need a functional third row on a regular basis will be better served by competitors like the GMC Acadia/Saturn Outlook twins, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Veracruz, Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander. All of these rivals offer more expansive interiors, and many of them cost less and handle better as well.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

A midsize crossover SUV, the 2008 Subaru Tribeca comes in base and Limited trim lines, each available in five- or seven-passenger versions. Base five-passenger models are well equipped and come with 18-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a tilt steering wheel, power front seats, full power accessories, cruise control, a CD/MP3 player with auxiliary input jack, a 7-inch display screen and keyless entry. Stepping up to the Limited grants you a moonroof, roof rails, leather seating, upgraded speakers, an in-dash CD changer, HomeLink, front seat heaters and memory for the driver seat. Seven-passenger versions add a 50/50-split third-row seat (cloth on base, vinyl on Limited) and rear climate controls. Notable options include satellite radio, a remote start system, a navigation system with rear parking camera, and on seven-passenger models only, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2008 Subaru Tribeca's 3.6-liter, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine produces 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque -- an increase of 11 hp and 32 lb-ft over last year. Performance is up significantly, with the Tribeca's 0-60-mph acceleration times dropping from 9.5 seconds to 7.8. Better yet, the new engine matches the old one for gas mileage and now runs on regular fuel. The sole transmission is a five-speed automatic with a manual shift mode. All Tribecas use an all-wheel-drive system that sends 55 percent of the power to the rear wheels in normal driving.

Safety

Every 2008 Subaru Tribeca comes with antilock brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control and a rollover-sensing program that redirects power and braking efforts if a rollover is imminent. Front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints round out the safety features. In government crash tests, the Tribeca scored five out of five stars for both front- and side-impact protection. In addition, it received the top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Tribeca's interior has an upscale look that's high on style. We like the central display screen that shows climate control and audio information, a feature found on the Tribeca whether or not the navigation system is ordered. However, the arrangement of some controls is awkward and the air-conditioner struggles to keep the cabin cool, even in seven-passenger models with the auxiliary rear blower. Although the Tribeca's front seats offer great comfort, it's downhill from there. The second-row seats slide fore and aft nearly 8 inches, but even then they lack the legroom and hiproom needed by larger, taller adults, or even teenagers. The third row is just too cramped for anyone but very small children -- most competitors in this price range offer superior accommodations. Folding all the rear seats results in 74 cubic feet of cargo space, which is below average for the midsize crossover segment.

Driving Impressions

In contrast to the rugged, fun-to-drive character found in most Subarus, the Tribeca's personality is more subdued and maybe even a little disappointing. Handling limits are low due to the Tribeca's softly tuned suspension and ride-biased all-season tires, and the steering, although accurate, is slow to respond and low on feedback. For these reasons, Tribeca drivers will likely prefer to take corners at a modest pace. The upside, however, is that Subaru's SUV delivers a very smooth and quiet ride. And thanks to its new engine and revised five-speed automatic transmission, the 2008 Subaru Tribeca also provides sufficiently quick acceleration for a midsize crossover SUV.

Talk About The 2008 Tribeca

Read more about the 2008 Subaru Tribeca

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 16
  • cty
/
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs