By KBB.com Editors
There are a number of five and seven-passenger SUVs on the market, so what's so special about the 2008 Subaru Tribeca? For starters, every Tribeca is equipped with an advanced and capable all-wheel-drive system, a comforting thought for those whose daily commutes sometimes include heavy snow and rain. The Tribeca boxer engine lowers the vehicle's center of gravity and improves vehicle stability, and the Tribeca rates well in the government's front- and side-impact crash tests. Finally, the roomy interior coddles its passengers and stimulates its driver with loads of features, while fresh new exterior styling produces a less polarizing appearance.
If you're a Subaru devotee whose family is too large for an Outback or Forester, the Tribeca is the logical choice. First-time Subaru buyers will find the Tribeca's good fuel economy, strong resale and proven reliability very inviting.
If you need room for seven adults, the Tribeca's child-sized third-row seat falls short. Those who don't need all-wheel drive can save money by shopping one of the Tribeca's less expensive front-wheel-drive competitors.
The 2008 Subaru Tribeca receives a major front-end redesign, with a new grille and headlamp treatment, new front fenders and a new bumper. A larger 3.6-liter engine replaces the previous 3.0-liter unit, producing more horsepower without affecting fuel economy.
Driving Impressions A few minutes behind the wheel and it's evident the Tribeca is not your run-of-the-mill SUV. The handling is responsive and the steering firm and linear. Driving into...sharp curves yields some reasonable and expected body lean, but nothing that's surprising or uncomfortable. The all-wheel-drive system splits power in a 45/55 proportion that favors the rear wheels. In the event of tire slippage, power is immediately transferred to the wheels with better traction, helping the driver to maintain control. The new 3.6-liter engine delivers good performance, while the new shift points programmed into the automatic transmission lessen the number of gear changes required when climbing hills or moving through varying traffic.
Rear Vision Camera
This optional feature allows the driver to see objects down low and directly behind the vehicle. It's available only on the Limited Trim.
Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC)
This safety feature works in conjunction with the all-wheel drive to help the driver maintain control. VDC senses the direction the driver intends to go and uses selective braking and engine power reduction to help maintain control.
Excellent fit and finish, appealing materials and an uncommon dash design are the hallmarks of the 2008 Subaru Tribeca interior. The wave-shaped dashboard visually delights, but its severe curve places some radio and heating controls at odd angles from the driver. Digital readouts for the fuel, temperature and information screen look attractive, but can fade when viewed through polarized sunglass lenses. New this year are tilt-and-slide second-row seat controls in the front that allow easy access to the third row. We applaud the ample distribution of cup holders and wide front seating, which also features adjustable lumbar support for both the driver and passenger. Useful features include in auxiliary audio input jack and optional GPS navigation and rear-seat DVD entertainment system.Exterior
A more palatable, if somewhat generic front end, replaces last year's "love it or hate it" styling. The 2008 Subaru Tribeca's new grille features horizontal slats below the familiar Subaru star cluster badge. New headlamps and front fenders impart a stronger road presence, while larger side-view mirrors and redesigned rear windows and pillars improve visibility. Around back, the Tribeca receives larger, more visible taillights and a sporty rear valance just below the tailgate. A new rear suspension helps improve handling while yielding an impressive 8.4 inches of ground clearance.
The 2008 Subaru Tribeca features a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, five-speed automatic with SPORTSHIFT manual gear change function, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), 18-inch alloy wheels, front side-impact and side-curtain airbags for the first and second row seats, tire pressure monitoring system, rear defroster, heated side mirrors, eight-way power driver's seat, four-way power passenger's seat, power windows, power door locks, 100-watt stereo with single-disc CD player with MP3 compatibility, cruise control, cloth seating, driver and passenger manual lumbar support, dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt steering wheel and rear window wiper. Seven-passenger models include rear air conditioning.
Options include XM or Sirius Satellite Radio, Reverse Assist Sensors, auto-dimming mirror and remote start. Upgrading to the Limited trim adds leather seating, two-position driver memory, heated front seats, power glass moonroof, HomeLink remote control system and 160-watt six-disc CD player with nine speakers and a rear subwoofer. Options for the Limited trim include GPS navigation, rear-vision camera and rear-seat DVD entertainment system (seven-passenger model only).
Subaru has increased the displacement of the Tribeca's boxer engine from 3.0 to 3.6 liters, which boosts horsepower and torque significantly. The added power is immediately felt on take-off and when passing.
3.6-liter Boxer 6
256 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
247 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16 city/21 highway
By Subaru Lover on Thursday, July 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 143,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, Safe, Fast, Powerful, Low Maintenance cost"
Cons: "Wipers, Relays and other parts only @ Dealer"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car since 2010. It has needed nothing but oil changes, and New brakes. My friends always comment when getting into my car and how awesome it looks after being almost 10 years old. They would love to have my car, but Nissan's are "more affordable" they say. Every time I bring it to get the oil changed or to get it cleaned, I always get the compliment of that's a nice car. I will say that the one draw back to my car is that many of the items you do have to buy from the dealer. Windshield Wiper blades will run you $50 (you cannot buy at other stores) but they last almost 8 months to a year every time. If you need to repair something, it almost always has to come from a dealer (even if you go through another vendor), but I think it's probably the same with many other Subaru things. The things I Love! It has plenty of space, and after my husband drives our other car, he gets in mine and loves the way it just wants to take off. After owning my first Subaru and having to trade it in for a Grand Am (to lower monthly bills) I had nothing but regrets. I love the fact that I can pull over a snow mounded into a parking space in the city and still get out, without having to shovel. I always prefer to take my car with the kids in it, because even with this last winter we had, I never once had a loss of control. I know that many of the same vehicles get much worse on gas milage, but it really has everything to do with maintenance. The person that owned my car before me, had the 75,000 mile inspection and had every oil change documented. Currently my car with 143,000 still gets between 18 and 22 miles/gallon. I have a roof rack installed and use it for trips, I never had the hitch installed, but have been told my my mechanic that "it could pull a house" (limit of 3000lbs). I have never installed any hitch because I know that it is pretty hard on a vehicle. My husband has brought up me getting a new vehicle several times (because soon enough he feels age is going to catch up). I have gone car looking 2 times, and nothing has compared. Walked out of the dealership, happy to be in my own car again. Only thing I wish I would have in my car is the 3rd Row and entertainment system. But I will know better when I have to buy my next Tribeca, although this one shows no signs of giving up any times soon! The only thing I am interested in getting after this vehicle, is another one exactly like it!"
By Wahhabi on Sunday, May 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Subaru is a good choice"
Cons: "Hard to do work on if you like to do it yourself"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought used with 40000 miles. Have driven daily. Very good in snow and rain. Has a lot of room inside and with added tow hitch and roof rack can carry lots of gear or kayaks. Only negative is leather (pleather) seats."
4 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By glamou3209 on Sunday, May 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Absolutely wonderful, safe and distinctive looking"
Cons: "No cons at all."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this Subaru used, at one year old. I've been T-boned in this car. While you never want to have your nice car messed up in an accident, this is the car to be in if you're ever in an accident. I was so impressed with how it held up in the accident. I've been rear ended twice since. It's like being in a tank. The doors close like bank vaults. I now have over 100,000 miles on this car and all that I've ever replaced is one CV drive axle (due to a leaking boot) and numerous light bulbs. I absolutely love this car and would buy another one in an instant. I like the distinctive styling of the older models, not the Chrysler- like look of the new ones."
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Flqueenbee on Friday, May 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 124,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Cons: "Has great pick up in a tight spot."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"First I did not do my research and this car uses premium gas. So even though the mileage is fair it cost a lot for gas. Previous Subaru's I owned ran on regular. I had to replace the headlight 3 times. The dealership said that how long the head lights lasted would depend on the quality of the lamps. The dealership had replaced the lamps. Replaced the struts that hold up the back gate. Replaced 3 out of 4 door locks, that failed and been replaced. By 100,000 miles had to replace the evaporator for the air-conditioner. Made out of aluminium and supposedly does not hold up in Florida's conditions; we live ten miles from the beach. Replaced the front CV joints. The cabin air filter has to be replaced frequently, and one can count on buying new widow wipers every year. The utility plug in the back of the car for games to plug into has failed. The headsets to watch videos were flimsy at best, did not last long with kids using the headsets. With this vehicle one must replace all four tires at one time or it will cause damage to the transmission. I would not buy another tri-beca and looking to trade mine. This is Subaru's high dollar car. Needless to say I am very disappointed. Yes the engine and transmission have held up and I have kept up the service."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Eric on Thursday, April 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smooth, comfortable, competent in all weather"
Cons: "Rear leg room"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Purchased this as a used car and have very pleased. Gas mileage could be better especially when compared with other somewhat smaller Subarus but on a par with other mid sized SUVs from 2008."
5 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By mrh on Monday, March 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good handling, roomy inside and cargo space"
Cons: "headlights, rattles, gas milage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Nice, dependable car. Great handling on road and in snow. Overall quality could be better. Underside starts to rattle after about 30000 miles. Dealer could not find a fix. (I tried out one with 30000+ miles and it sounded the same). My biggest complaint is the headlights. On dim they have a distinct line of light to dark. The light bobs up and down with the car. I don't feel like the visablilty is good. The best part is the size of the interior. You have plenty of room front and back and nice cargo space. Would like to see Subaru like this with better gas mileage, lift gate and a luxury package."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful