The Subaru Tribeca is a mid-size crossover SUV sold by Japanese automaker Subaru. The Tribeca was first sold as a 2006 model, with five-seat and seven-seat trims. Built on the Subaru Legacy platform, the Tribeca was inspired by the B9X concept car and has now evolved into its second styling generation. The name Tribeca derives from the TriBeCa neighborhood of New York City. The Tribeca is the only vehicle in this class that comes equipped with AWD as standard equipment, with a FWD or rear wheel drive platform not available. The Tribeca is not sold in Japan, and it was introduced in Australia and New Zealand in late 2006, with an introduction to Germany in 2007. This is mainly due to the similar Subaru Exiga sold in Japan. As a result, the Subaru Tribeca is the only 2000s-introduced vehicle in the current North American Subaru lineup. The Tribeca is available in North America, Europe, Chile, Argentina, Peru, China, Australia and parts of southeast Asia. The B9 Tribeca was featured a new Subaru design language of a triangular grille and a rounded bodyshape. Subaru also used the grille styling on the Impreza, and the JDM Subaru R1/R2 kei car products with a similar reaction. Subaru has since abandoned this styling feature for future models beginning with the 2006 model year.The grille design was not conceived by designer Andreas Zapatinas, rather by Fuore Design, an independent design consulting firm based in Spain, hired by Subaru before Zapatinas involvement. Andreas Zapatinas and his team were responsible for the design of the interior, and the dashboard in particular. According to an LA Times article, the grille design was "meant to convey parent-company Fuji Heavy Industries' glorious history in aviation." The Tribeca was slightly reworked for 2007. The updated model, debuting at the Chicago Auto Show, includes a revised grille, and revised struts, stabilizer bars, and spring rates. Inside, XM Satellite Radio and iPod connectors are pre-wired, while a backup camera and parking assist system are optional for the navigation system. A US$1300 Special Edition package includes a mesh grille, XM radio, and special wheels.
The 2008 model was introduced at the New York International Auto Show in April 2007. It received a facelift, as well as a larger EZ36 3.6 L H6 256 hp (191 kW) engine, and Subaru claimed 10% better fuel economy while using regular fuel (the 2006 and 2007 use premium) "B9" was dropped from the model name, leaving it just Subaru Tribeca. The back of the vehicle was also mildly redesigned. The tail lamps are more rounded and the "cutout" on the hatch above the bumper has been omitted. The rearmost side window was reshaped. Interior styling is unchanged, but the second row seats have been redesigned for more room and easier access in the third row. The refreshed Tribeca bears much resemblance to concept mock-ups of the unreleased Saab 9-6X, as well as the Chrysler Pacifica. The vehicle is offered with two trim levels; the standard Tribeca and the Limited, which adds a moonroof, leather interior, roof rails for enhanced cargo carrying and a premium audio system with 6-disc in-dash CD changer. The interior colors are somewhat limited to either dark gray cloth or a choice of dark gray or light beige leather interior. The Limited trim level includes an in-dash multifunction screen that displays navigation system information, audio system information, trip computer functions, outside temperatures, maintenance intervals, controls for various vehicle settings, calendar, calculator and memo-taking functions. Video input from rear-seat DVD entertainment system is available with third row seating only, and can only be displayed on the instrument panel center screen if the vehicles transmission is in Park. The cargo volume is 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 remains at standard second row seats or optional third row seats. The vehicle is equipped with six airbags; two for the front passengers, two side impact airbags that deploy from the outer edge of the front seats and side curtain airbags that drop in front of the front and second row side doors. Two stereo packages are offered, starting with a 100W 6 speaker system with a single-disc in-dash CD player with MP3 compatibility, or a premium stereo with 160W, 9 speakers with subwoofer and a 6-disc in-dash CD changer, also MP3 compatible. Both stereos have auxiliary audio jacks for MP3 players and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.
Subaru chose to use an aluminum alloy boxer engine in the Tribeca, as well as their other products, to simplify the powertrain implementation of all-wheel drive, in order to reduce powertrain weight, and because of the natural smoothness of the engine design. According to Subaru, since the engine sits in-line or longitudinal with the transmission, instead of being offset or transverse as can be commonly found by other FWD and AWD vehicles, body roll is minimized. The weight of the engine and automatic transmission are balanced instead of being offset. The power delivery is also direct from the transmission to the front wheels, and to the rear wheels through a rear differential, which is limited slip on some models. The front differential is integrated into the Subaru transmission. Other AWD vehicles were first engineered as either front or rear wheel drive, but were modified with an additional, external transfer case and asymmetrical drive shafts to power the additional wheels. The boxer engine also affords a low center of gravity, and a balanced chassis because the engine sits low in the engine bay and close to the ground, as opposed to other vehicles, allowing the vehicle to stay more stable than some vehicles in moderate to high speed manoeuvres. Other manufacturers counteract the offset weight by evenly distributing their powertrains' weight. The boxer design also provides near-perfect vibration mitigation due to the fact that the movement of each piston is exactly countered by the corresponding piston in the opposing cylinder bank, eliminating the need for a harmonic balancer attached to the front of the engine at the crankshaft, 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 all but eliminated when the engine is mounted in the engine bay. 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 Tribeca won best interior of the year by Ward's Auto, a benchmark agent similar to JD Power, but more subjective. 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.