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The Subaru Tribeca is a mid-size crossover SUV made from 2005 to 2014. Released in some markets, including Canada, as the Subaru B9 Tribeca, the name "Tribeca" derives from the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. Built on the Subaru Legacy platform and sold in five- and seven-seat configurations, the Tribeca was intended to be sold alongside a slightly revised version known as the Saab 9-6. Saab, at the time a subsidiary of General Motors (GM), abandoned the 9-6 program just prior to its release subsequent to GM's 2005 divestiture of its 20 percent stake in FHI.
|Manufacturer||Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries)|
Subaru B9 Tribeca (2006–2007)|
Saab 9-6x (cancelled)
|Assembly||United States: Lafayette, Indiana|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Mid-size crossover SUV|
|Body style||5-door SUV|
|Layout||Front-engine, four-wheel drive|
3.0 L EZ30 H6 (2006–2007)|
3.6 L EZ36 H6 (2008–2014)
|Wheelbase||108.2 in (2,748 mm)|
|Width||73.9 in (1,877 mm)|
|Curb weight||1,925 kg (4,245 lb)|
Subaru Exiga (Southeast Asia & Australia) |
Subaru Ascent (North America)
Inspired by the B9X concept car, the Tribeca's original design was criticized at launch and subsequently revised in 2007 for the 2008 model year, and the model name was shortened to simply Tribeca in all markets.
Although not sold in Japan, North American markets received the Tribeca in 2005 for the 2006 model year, and it was introduced to Australasia and Europe in late 2006. In addition to these markets, the Tribeca was also available in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, China, and parts of Southeast Asia.
The vehicle was initially announced as the B9X on November 5, 2004 at the South Florida Auto Show, and was renamed the B9 Tribeca in December after soliciting current and potential customer feedback. The "B" stood for Subaru's boxer (horizontally-opposed) engine, the "9" referred to an internal category code, and "Tribeca" was added so that "Subaru [could] leverage the vested equity already associated with the progressive style, art, and culture that the name TRIBECA represents," according to Subaru President and CEO Kyoji Takenaka. The Tribeca made its worldwide debut at the North American International Auto Show in January 2005 and was scheduled to go on sale in early summer 2005 for the 2006 model year, with production at the SIA plant in Lafayette, Indiana supplying vehicles for sale in the United States, Canada, and Chile.
The B9 Tribeca featured a triangular grille and a rounded body shape. Subaru also used the grille styling on the Impreza, and the Japanese market Subaru R1 and R2 kei car products. As this styling motif proved controversial, all future Subaru redesigns abandoned this design language.
The grille design and aviation theme was initially conceived and applied to the earlier B11S and B9 Scrambler concept vehicles by Fuore Design, an independent design consulting firm based in Spain. The grille design was reportedly "meant to convey parent-company Fuji Heavy Industries' glorious history in aviation". While the exterior design was largely complete prior to the arrival of Subaru designer Andreas Zapatinas, Zapatinas and his team were responsible for the design of the interior, and the dashboard in particular.
The Tribeca was slightly reworked in 2006 for the 2007 model year. The updated model, first shown at the Chicago Auto Show, included a revised grille, struts, stabilizer bars, and spring rates. Inside, XM Satellite Radio and iPod connectors were provided. A backup camera and parking assist system were optional for the navigation system. A "Special Edition" package included a mesh grille, XM radio, and unique wheels.
Saab had plans to retail a version of the Tribeca, to be called the "9-6", but the plans stopped in 2005 when Saab's parent company GM sold its 20 percent stake in FHI, part of which was acquired by Toyota. The 9-6 would have been built alongside the Tribeca at the SIA factory in the United States. Saab revised their plans to replace the 9-7X after a short two-year lifespan, and instead the Oldsmobile Bravada-based body-on-frame SUV continued production until the 2009 model year.
Saab withheld its version of Tribeca from the public until a prototype 9-6 was added to the Saab museum in Trollhättan in July 2011, with nearly the same interior as the contemporary B9 Tribeca. Many of the exterior styling tweaks (including the front fenders) from the unreleased Saab 9-6 were used for the model year 2008 facelift, which was released relatively quickly after the original model's release.
Subaru released the 2008 models at the New York International Auto Show in April 2007 with a facelift and a larger 3.6-liter EZ36 flat-six engine rated at 191 kilowatts (256 hp). Subaru claimed 10 percent better fuel economy while using regular-grade gasoline; the 2006 and 2007 models require premium. At the same time, Subaru dropped the "B9" identifier, renaming the vehicle the "Subaru Tribeca" in all markets where it was offered. The rear of the vehicle was also mildly redesigned with more rounded taillamps, a restyled hatch, and the rearmost side window reshaped. Interior styling was unchanged, but the second row seats were redesigned for more room and easier access to the third row.
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North American market Tribecas offered two trim levels—the plain model and the Limited, which added a moonroof, leather interior, roof rails for enhanced cargo carrying and a premium audio system with six-disc in-dash CD changer. The interior colors were somewhat limited to either light ("Desert Beige") or dark ("Slate Gray"), both colors finished in either cloth (on the plain model) or leather (exclusive to the Limited model) trim. For the leather-trimmed models, no interior color choice was available; the interior color was determined by the exterior color. In 2007, the beige cloth trim was dropped and the plain model was available in just two exterior colors. The North American market 2006 to 2007 year model B9 Tribeca also had smaller wing mirrors that were upgraded to the larger European market mirrors starting in model year 2008.
The Limited trim level included an in-dash multifunction screen that displayed audio system information, trip computer functions, and outside temperatures. When equipped with the navigation package, the screen added navigation system information, maintenance intervals, controls for various vehicle settings, calendar, calculator and memo-taking functions. An alternate rear-seat DVD entertainment system and navigation package was available on models with a third-row seat, which added a video input from the rear-seat DVD entertainment system which could only be displayed on the instrument panel center screen if the parking brake was engaged.
The cargo volume was 37.6 cu ft (1.06 m3) with the second row seats raised and 74.4 cu ft (2.11 m3) with rear seats lowered. Seating configuration remained at standard second row seats or optional third row seats.
The vehicle was equipped with six airbags; two for the front passengers, two side impact airbags that deployed from the outer edge of the front seats and side curtain airbags that dropped in front of the front and second row side doors.
Two stereo packages were offered, either a 100-watt six-speaker system with a single-disc in-dash CD player with MP3 compatibility, or (on Limited models) a premium stereo with 160-watt, nine speakers with subwoofer and a six-disc in-dash CD changer, also MP3 compatible. Both stereos had steering wheel-mounted audio controls, and in 2007, an auxiliary audio jack was added.
In North America, the Tribeca is the only vehicle in this class that comes equipped with all-wheel drive as standard equipment. In the United States, Subaru's initial television ad campaign for the Tribeca prominently featured the Kansas song "Dust in the Wind". The Tribeca won the Ward's Auto 2006 "Interior of the Year" for premium-priced crossover utility vehicles in voting from automotive industry professionals. Also, it was considered Most Innovative Concept at the 2004 Detroit Auto Show. The Tribeca scored well on Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests; it earned a "Top Safety Pick" ranking.
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Subaru chose to use an aluminum alloy horizontally-opposed "boxer" engine to minimize powertrain weight and lower the center of gravity so as to reduce body roll. The weight of the engine and automatic transmission are laterally balanced instead of being offset from left to right. The power delivery is also direct from the transmission to the front wheels, and distributed to the rear axle via a "Variable Torque Distribution" system which uses a central planetary differential gear with an electronically-controlled hydraulic clutch, with torque split 45% to the front axle and 55% to the rear axle under normal driving conditions. The rear wheels are driven through a rear differential, which is limited slip on some models. The front differential is integrated into the Subaru transmission.
The boxer design also provides near-perfect vibration mitigation[according to whom?] because the movement of each piston is exactly countered by the corresponding piston in the opposing cylinder bank, eliminating the need for a counterbalance shaft, and that the movement of the pistons is on a horizontal plane. The only vibration caused by the boxer engine is secondary caused by the cylinders being slightly offset on opposing banks. This vibration, however, is minimal and is largely absorbed by rubber engine mounts. Torque steer is also reduced with this type of power train layout. This is achieved by having the front driveshafts being of equal weight and length, and extend from the transmission to the front wheels at almost perpendicular from the transmission.
The 2006 Tribeca was initially rated at 18 mpg‑US (13 L/100 km; 22 mpg‑imp) using the EPA city cycle and 23 mpg‑US (10 L/100 km; 28 mpg‑imp) on the EPA highway cycle. Using the revised EPA driving cycle, the consumption increased to 16 mpg‑US (15 L/100 km; 19 mpg‑imp) city and 21 mpg‑US (11 L/100 km; 25 mpg‑imp) highway, with combined consumption at 18 mpg‑US (13 L/100 km; 22 mpg‑imp) for both the original (3.0-litre engine) and revised (3.6-litre engine) models.
In 2006, Cobb Tuning released several performance upgrades for the B9 Tribeca, including a supercharger which increased output by 70 hp (52 kW) to 320 hp (240 kW), a suspension tuning package, and four-piston front brakes.
Subaru announced in January 2012 that the Subaru Tribeca would stop being sold in the US and Australia, and that its production would end in December 2012. On October 18, 2013, Autoblog, Jalopnik, and Cars.com all confirmed that Subaru informed its dealers that production on the Tribeca would end in January 2014 due to slow sales.
Subaru sold just under 77,000 Tribecas total in the United States, making it one of the worst-selling vehicles in the US in 2011 and 2012. Only 1,247 Tribecas were sold in the first nine months of 2013, and placed seventh among the worst-selling vehicles in the United States for the 2013 model year with only 1,598 units sold, down 23% from 2012.
The discontinuation came as Subaru was looking at replacing the vehicle with an upscale 7-seat crossover SUV, possibly based on the Subaru Exiga, that would have competed against the Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder. The replacement vehicle had been in the planning stages in an effort to attract new buyers without alienating current ones.
Subaru stated in April 2015 that the next-generation Exiga Crossover 7 for the Japanese market would not be offered in North America because of its size, and instead a larger Tribeca successor that could be built in the United States was being studied. At the 2017 LA Auto Show, Subaru revealed the Subaru Ascent, a new mid-size, crossover SUV, set to be the replacement for the Tribeca in North America in Summer 2018.
- Stock, Kyle. "Subaru Loses Its Cool Over Hot SUVs; The Tribeca tanked. Can the a new SUV planned for 2018 propel the brand beyond its crunchy roots?", Bloomberg.com, November 21, 2016. Accessed October 16, 2017. "From 2005 through 2014, Subaru made the Tribeca, a mid-sized SUV best remembered as one of the worst-selling cars in its category.... Perhaps naming the SUV after one of Manhattan’s richest neighborhoods wasn’t the best branding move."
- "The Subaru B9 Tribeca Makes its World Premiere at the 2005 North American International Auto Show" (Press release). Tokyo, Japan: Subaru Corporation. 11 January 2005. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Park, Barry (26 January 2012). "Subaru dumps Tribeca". Drive. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- "Exhibition outlines for the 76th Geneva International Motor Show" (Press release). Subaru. 10 February 2006. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- "The All-New Subaru B9X will Debut at the North American International Auto Show 2005" (Press release). Tokyo, Japan: Subaru Corporation. 5 November 2004. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- "Fuji Heavy Industries Names its All-New Crossover Vehicle the SUBARU B9 TRIBECA" (Press release). Tokyo, Japan: Subaru Corporation. 17 December 2004. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Farago, Robert (9 August 2005). "2005 Subaru B9 Tribeca Review". The Truth About Cars. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
Scooby’s first-ever SUV is an irredeemably gruesome beast whose design should have been aborted a femtosecond after conception. While Subaru would like to convince us that “ugly ass” and “dynamic styling” are synonymous, even a pre-teen knows that repulsive is not, and never will be, the new cool.
- Winfield, Barry (July 2005). "2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca Limited". Car and Driver. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
When the car made its debut at the Detroit auto show last January, it created mixed responses. Most criticism was centered on the car's prominent nose.
Having seen it on the road in various environments, we think the car looks just fine. Those of us who have been in Europe lately find the styling strongly reminiscent of current Alfa Romeos, so guess where Subaru's chief designer for the advanced design studio–Andreas Zapatinas–worked before he came to Subaru? Uh-huh. Still, Subaru insists the Tribeca's shape was virtually complete prior to Zapatinas's arrival.
- Harwood, Allyson (6 July 2005). "First Test: 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca". Motor Trend. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
There’s nothing wrong with a vehicle having personality–but you don’t want it to make you cringe. This is the controversy surrounding the B9 Tribeca. Subaru has found success by thinking differently and incorporating unique styling into its cars. Remember the Brat? The SVX? Its new, three-row-seat, crossover sport/utility is attractive, inside and–mostly–out. But will the Tribeca’s odd-duck face scare off potential buyers? It’s a shame, if so.
- "Road Tests: 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca". MotorWeek. 1 July 2005. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
The most controversial aspect of the Tribeca is clearly its front styling. The winged grille pays homage to Subaru’s parent company’s aircraft building heritage. It polarized our staff. Some found it eye-catching and reminiscent of Alfa Romeo. Others made reference to “snout” and Edsel.
- "Used 2008 Subaru Wagon Values". NADA Guides. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
For 2008, Subaru has abandoned their poorly-received, aviation-themed front end styling explored in recent years by the Impreza and B9 Tribeca.
- Kiino, Ron (January 2005). "Subaru B9 Tribeca". Car and Driver. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
- Neil, Dan (October 31, 2007). "Soft-serve Subie". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
- "2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca" (PDF). Subaru of America. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 November 2006. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- Treece, James (October 7, 2005). "Fizzled Alliance: Deal to sell Subaru stake puts $302 million in GM's bank account, spells end for Saab 9-6X". AutoWeek. Retrieved October 7, 2005.
- "FHI and Saab continue partnership with new "cross-over" vehicle alliance" (Press release). Subaru Corporation. 8 July 2004. Retrieved 7 June 2017.
- Vijayenthiran, Viknesh (19 July 2011). "The Subaru Tribeca Based Saab 9-6 Crossover That Never Was". Motor Authority. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Wade, Steven (12 July 2011). "The Saab 9-6 in pictures". Inside Saab. SaabWorld. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Raja, Siddarth (3 April 2007). "2008 Subaru Tribeca preview". Motor Authority. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- "Tribeca leaves B9 moniker in the recovery room". AutoWeek. April 3, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
- "2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca" (PDF). Subaru of America. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 May 2006. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "B9 Tribeca Limited 7-Passenger: Starting at $33,895*". Subaru of America. 2006. Archived from the original on 27 April 2006. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- on YouTube
- Visnic, Bill (8 June 2006). "Interior of Year Winners Announced". Ward's Auto. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "2007 Top Safety Pick: 2007 Subaru Tribeca". Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. 2007. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- Cain, Timothy (2 January 2011). "Subaru Tribeca Sales Figures". Good Car Bad Car. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
- "Compare Side-by-Side: 2006 Subaru B9 Tribeca AWD, 2010 Subaru Tribeca AWD". Fuel Economy. United States Department of Energy. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
- Kiewicz, John (November 2006). "Tuners: 2006 Cobb Tuning Subaru Tribeca". Motor Trend. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
- Subaru ending Tribeca production in January? from Autoblog (October 18, 2013)
- Subaru Cancels Tribeca SUV from Kicking Tires/Cars.com (October 18, 2013)
- "The top 10 worst-selling vehicles of 2013" from Autoblog (January 8, 2014)
- Subaru mulling three-row utility, upscale versions of existing models from Autoblog (February 18, 2013)
- "Subaru beefs up new Exiga Crossover 7 in Japan" from Autoblog (April 16, 2015)
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