2008 Subaru Tribeca Review | Car Reviews and news at CarReview.com

28 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2008 Subaru Tribeca Review | Car Reviews and news at CarReview.com

2008 Subaru Tribeca Review

Driving Impressions

From the moment I opened the door, I was impressed. Comfortable seats, luxurious and spacious interior, and great visibility. There is exceptional head room that gives the car an airy feel. The throttle was a bit sensitive so coming off the line is a bit herky-jerky, but it gives a feeling that the car is light on it’s feet.

Side mirrors were a bit too large and blocked the view out; my wife (who is 5’ 1”) was particularly annoyed with this.

It is hard to believe that the same company that builds the lightweight and “frisky” Impreza makes this car. The Tribeca is much more solid; doors are very heavy and closed with a thunk. The quality is impressive.

One small exception is the paint; the gorgeous pearlescent white paint seemed very thin and there was already a scratch on the hood that went down to the metal.

Interior Comfort and Ergonomics

The stage of the Tribeca is the massive central console and symmetrical sweeping dashboard. Looks like Star Trek! Subaru touts it as having an “award winning interior” and I have to agree.

The touch-screen GPS navigation system is located dead center with HVAC controls cascading below. It’s a nice combination of easy to use rotary dials plus electronic wizardry.

The optional back up camera is excellent; all tall vehicles like this should have back up cameras as standard equipment; this is a real safety feature, especially when around children. One nit-during the test drive, there was a period of bright sun over wet roads; the reflected glare occasionally rendered the back up camera useless, but this problem is likely a corner case.

Perhaps the best feature was the extremely easy-to-use rear seat DVD player. My 5 year old daughter LOVED this car because of this feature; I’ve never seen her so excited to go for a drive. The wireless head phones were simple to turn on (she figured it out before me!).

They operate with AA batteries; I wonder how long they will typically last.

The most significant problem with the Tribeca is the second row seating. It is disappointingly tight. It’s a shame because the second row sacrifices leg room for the third row seats.

In fact, you can slide the second row FORWARD to give even more room to the third row. But the third row is small and suitable, really, only for small children.

The Tribeca had one extra feature that deserves comment. Included in the rear storage area is a handy halogen light that plugs in to the convenient power outlet. Nice touch.


The 2008 model features an 11 hp improvement, to 256 hp and 32 foot pounds more torque, to 247. This is enough to give good acceleration-from a stop or while passing. Edmunds claims 0-60 times of 7.8 seconds, which seemed accurate. Under full throttle, the engine can be noisy but driven 2/3rds is actually quiet and competent.

The fuel economy was reasonable; I averaged 18 mpg, higher than the claimed 16 for city driving.

For a mid-sized SUV, the handling was very impressive. The cornering was surprisingly flat and borderline “nimble”. It was much more pleasurable to drive than the recently driven Acura MDX and much more sporty than the 2006 Toyota Highlander.


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