Subaru B9 Tribeca The Obvious Executive Choice

by Brian White - Date: 2007-04-04 - Word Count: 1124 Share This!

Last week I was convinced by my editor to take out a crossover SUV, and I have to tell you from the first second that this was entirely against my will. I love a muscle car as much as the next man, and a good, utilitarian car likewise, but a crossover is something I've never even pretended to have time for. This B9 Tribeca, however, blew off my socks, shoes, and even my calf-garters, which I'd not have otherwise admitted to.

For a paltry $32k to $40ish-k, it's not the most expensive car on the market by a damned sight. It's a modest crossover with an aggressive grill, hideous ass, and lights on the front of it sufficient to intimidate anybody who might think he wants to be slow before you, but that's not enough for me. I've driven $100,000 cars, and always done so of my own accord, so if you want to impress me behind the wheel, you'll need to do a bit better.

To my surprise, it does just that.

Like I said, I was reluctant to give it a spin, but I did so, and I couldn't have had a much better batch of days in which to do so.

I'm an auto-snob, so there's simply no pleasing me. I'd like to pretend that this ride did the trick, but I won't lie to you anymore than I will to myself. It did surprise me though. There was a late-winter snowstorm and the roads, though not icy a bit, were still encrusted with an absurdly slippery sheen of sand on the day I took control of the Tribeca.

Had it been any other day, I'd have whipped out my killer, 4WD Pathfinder and pulled brodies all over the neighbors' lawns like nobody's business (least of all my own), but instead I had this modest, crossover, half-man, half-soccer mom SUV.

And that's where my surprise began.

The Symetrical All-Wheel Drive for which Subaru is famous kicked in with unexpected dominance. I pulled to the side of the sandiest thoroughfare I could find, tapped on my blinker, and merged with all the vigor the peppy motor would muster, and felt not the first iota of slippage. I have to tell you, I love my antiquated Pathfinder with all its pep, and although I didn't expect to land sideways in the ditch as I would in my ride, I expected at least something.

"Something" wasn't all I got, it was the most I got, and what I "got" (assuming I can use quotation fingers in such a statement, was a degree of traction unrivalled by any car I've rented, borrowed or owned… and I owned a Viper with it's horrifically expensive 13" tires… this girl beat her like the bastard step-child she must be… poor Viper. I still dream of her.

If you want a killer performance-oriented ride, I can name a gaggle that will please you greater than this, but this is the one you want, and I'll tell you why in terms you can wrap more than your brain around.

Your wife will love this car too. It's perhaps a bit stiffer in the springs than your old lady might like, but with full-surround airbags (SRS) and more safety features than you considered when you made her your baby-mama, it's as safe a car as the Volvo or Mercedes, but with better traction, creature comfort and modest luxury along the way.

Thing to me is, when I got into it, and again, I was a reluctant reviewer, I felt like I was in something different than a normal car. The controls are a tad different, the climate and audio features were a bit more intuitive, and it just handled like a dream, even though it's half-abouts a soccer-mom car.

Let's just say this, if you're a soccer mom, and you're driving this car, maybe you and me should hook up. I'm not saying or anything, I'm just saying, and believe you the hell out of me, I am indeed saying whatever it is I'm not saying about you… baby.

My final assessment is this:
Comfort/Luxury - 9/10 - It's about as plush as you'd like. Ride could be less sporty and smoother, but it's a matter of taste, and as I've said so many times, I simply have none. The GPS, In-Dash 6-Disc Changer and countless other creature comforts easily put it in the top rung of all cars, but more so based on value.

Cool Factore - The front end looks like a 'roided-out banshee on a mission of purpose, but the back-end looks not unlike that of my ex-ex-ex old lady, and that's a ship that's sailed more than twice. All I can say is that the only reason people will see it is because you've already passed them and you're therefore already gone. The engine's got all the pep you'd need to insure it, so don't fret it, just motor your hideous behind out of there.

Safety - As far as safety goes, there isn't much on the market that can hold a torch to it at any price. You've got unbelievable traction at all four corners at all times, plus airbags in your face and sides before you'll even know you've even been in an accident. Add that to the uncommonly smart ABS brakes and crumple-zones as smart as anything on the market, and even your most conservatively marmy wife will laud your decision to go Tribeca.

Value - As far as value goes, you can do better, but only if you really, really know what you want from a car. If you want a sports car, buy one. If you want a mega-truckster, you need to get that. But if you're looking for the ideal middle ground between the sport you want, and the conservative safety, conservation and power your wife wants, I'd say you're not going to do much better than this.

Overall / Final Thoughts - If you're looking for a fair balance between sport/economy, safety/fun and power/conservation, this is the car for you. At a mere $33,000 base, it's got all the power you'd want, with ample intuitive traction to keep your dumb ass on the road and out of trouble. Add to that that this is a Japanese car with all the inherent brilliance in engineering that comes along with it and you'll be hard pressed to find a better deal in a car.

If you can't stomach the $30k+ sticker, I'd argue that you don't have children to look out for, or that you simply don't care about them. Whatever man, it's totally your call. I'm not saying or anything, but I am just saying, you know, if you love your family and still want to have fun on the days you're driving the car, this may be a good crossover middle ground for you to consider.

Related Tags: car, auto, review, suv, crossover, subaru, subura, tribeca, automotice

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