July 19, 2005

The Tribeca: Sexy? or Subaru + Urban = Suburban?

subaru_tribeca.jpegTribeca conjures up all sorts of romantic images: young families in winter (that's when the banks hand out their bonuses) fleeing low-ceilinged oppression on the Upper East Side, with friendly, accented nannies pushing the Bugaboos over restored cobblestone streets. Or, as Subaru's ad rep puts it, "There's an urban sensibility; we are targeting the kind of peopleóyoung familiesócoming into the city for film festivals, or museum visits."

That's right, Tribeca=daytripping. We have a word for that in the city, and it ain't "urban," my friend.

And yet I'm torn, because the Tribeca is certainly a distinctive and stylish car [it must be said] for a Subaru. But I'll let my favorite auto critic, the LAT's Dan Neil say it much better: The B9 Tribeca is "a handsomely sculpted luxury crossover from a company generally known for putting the 'ugh' in ugly."

He goes on to praise its space, performance, ride, interior layout, just about everything but the optional third row of seats. His only worry is that this "cool and sexy" car, which drives "more like a sport wagon than [a] minivan," might not appeal to Subaru loyalists, who don't care about any of that stuff. Ouch.

Wow, what a trip
Tribeca - for visitors only [manhattan offender, via curbed]


I have a Subaru, but I wouldn't call myself a loyalist. I do like the Tribeca, though... Of cousre, if I am going to get a new, bigger car, it is going to be the Highlander Hybrid...

What next? The Toyota "B & T"? The Nissan "Nolita"?

And besides, isn't the phrase "Subaru loyalist" somewhat of an oxymoron?

I love my Outback more than life. But we often travel with two adults in back, one on either side of the gigantor Marathon, and it's occurred to us more than once that after #2 came, we'd have to stop. Several times this summer, one of us has said to the other, "Why doesn't Subaru make a minivan?"

I had looked at the specs for the Odyssey and Sienna, and both are well over a foot longer than our Outback. Which we keep on the street and occasionally find challenging to find parking for. So this guy, at about the same length as the Outback, sounds intriguing. Unless it means the third row of seats is really cramped.

Now, here's the thing. Is this a minivan or an SUV? I dislike SUVs on principle, but I honestly can't tell what this is.

wow! that is 1 ugly sucker, i thought the pt cruizer was the pinnacle of ugly ass cars, but I guess not. IMO it's just like every other station wagon that's trying to be hip, the magnum, the pacifica, and many others follow suit. I call them poser suv's, not real suv's, not cars. The bastard child of a minivan and a car. Give me a jeep or an outback anyday over this pos.

I think it is a much nicer looking vehicle than any of those others.. I think the pic here is a little misleading.. the front may be ugly, but the profile and inside are pretty nice.

Again, not my first pick, but I think Subaru makes good cars, so would consider it...

I think this pic makes it look like a Murano.
And when is one of these car companies going to make an actual HIP mini-van.

"Hip minivan" ?? Talk about an oxymoron...

We might actually buy one of these, after seeing it on your website. Do you hav a Subaru affiliate? That could clear you a chunk o' change!

My wife and I used to own a Subaru Forester and we loved it. We really wished that Subaru made a minivan (which the Tribeca is definitely NOT) and ended up gettting a Mazda MPV (which we totally love). Now that they got the big SUV model out of the way, perhaps the Subaru ParkSlope minivan is in the works as we speak...

(I say that the Tribeca is not a minivan because while it does have a third row, the major trait and benefit of a minivan is its sliding doors. It's so much easier to put a kid into a child seat when you don't have a door hitting you in the arse!)

Hey Sarah,

I just read your post about how the Odyessy and Sienna are 12" longer than your Outback. That was the same problem my wife and I had with those models, which is why we went with the Mazda MPV -- it's 12" shorter than the Honda and Toyota minivans I would say that it may be worth your while to check the MPV out. FYI: I heard that the '06 model is going to be redesigned, so if you can wait, then it might be worthwhile...

Good luck!

You wouldn't happen to know if all wheel drive is part of the redesign, would you? Need that here on the tundra, but would like a shorter vehicle than the Siena, which my husband is pushing. He really wants those sliding doors, though.

The Tribeca is _definatly_ an SUV. It's about the size of the Nissan Morano. I got to check one out at the auto show several months ago. It also has full-time AWD, like the rest of the Subaru line-up.

I really want one, but the price is a bit north of my affordability zone.

Thanks, SeanV, that is great info. Much appreciated! We were going to wait until '06 anyhow, so now I know to keep an eye peeled for the MPV.

Looks like the Tribeca isn't the Outback x 1.5 of my dreams. Maybe someday Subaru will come out with a true minivan.

I love Subaru's too. They may not be the prettiest cars, but they are certainly well made and reliable. I love my Impreza WRX which I bought new last year. It's fabulous to drive, great handling, quick, comfy, and practical, even if its fuel consumptions sucks. I like the Tribeca too. Shame its not available in the UK. It's probably not quick enough either. ;o)

I don't know about the Impreza, but for all wheel drive, my Forester does pretty well...

I've been a Subaru loyalist for a few years. I even think the Legacy's are sexy. But the Tribeca?

Think Edsel.

Sorry Subaru - this one really IS ugly.

As for those who make think Subaru and loyalist is an oxymoron, they obviously do not understand the Subaru driver anymore than whoever disigned the Tribeca did.

Perhaps some would like Subaru to make a minivan or something for large families. But this is not a Toyota or Honda organization. Subaru is a VERY tiny auto maker. They have one US plant which manufactures EVERY Legacy and Outback. They have enough capacity that their new partner, Toyota, will be using it to make 100,000 vehicles next year.

What am I saying? Simply, Subaru really only appeals to a small number of buyers. They have come to terms with this, seemingly, in the past dozen years.

So why challenge the ugliness or a Lexus or KIA?

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