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Subaru Tribeca

Tribeca Series II

1 Dec 2007

SUBARU released a significantly facelifted Tribeca barely 12 months after the original reached Australian shores.

Following the lead of the Mk3 Impreza as another example of the company’s increasingly conservative, populist approach to design, the revisited Tribeca counters criticisms of the first model – in particular its fussy, polarising styling.

As well as the styling revisions, it has also given the engine a much-needed capacity and torque boost, and improved access to third-row seats.

Subaru was motivated to undertake the urgent and no doubt expensive reworking of SUV as it was selling substantially less than it had hoped to in the key US market.

Tribeca’s sheetmetal at the front and rear is new, with insiders suggesting the design was actually originally intended for Saab for the aborted 9-7 SUV, when Subaru was still affiliated with General Motors.

While there are the obvious changes to the metal, Subaru has also signed off on many changes under the skin.

The major change involves the new 3.6-litre engine, Subaru’s biggest-displacement engine to date, with 5.5 per cent more power (up from 180kW to 190kW) and 17.8 per cent more torque (up from 297Nm to 350Nm) than the outgoing 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, which originated from the Subaru Outback.

The 3.6-litre engine shares the same external dimensions as the smaller unit but is 0.7kg lighter and more fuel-efficient – claiming 11.6L/100km versus 12.4L/100km previously.

Subaru’s engineers have worked on ensuring that the new engine is more rigid, and on improving the cooling system and reducing engine vibration.

The five-speed auto transmission has also been heavily revised to suit the new engine and improve efficiency, with a new lock-up torque converter and an improved control unit.

Subaru recalibrated the rear suspension and fitted revised bushes.

The new exterior treatment includes the one-piece grille, front and rear bumpers, bonnet, headlights, tailgate, rear spoiler, tail-lights and 10-spoke alloy wheels.

The rear side windows are also 30 per cent larger for improved vision. Headlights are Xenon (across the range), the tail-lights are now a wider design, and the Premium model now has roof rails.

The major change inside is better access to the optional (on some models) third row seat. The second row seats have a tilt-and-slide lever on both sides of the vehicle, plus a stronger spring to make sliding the seat easier, while new grab handles on the lower C-pillar have been fitted to aid entry and egress to the third row.

The standard rear-vision camera has been updated to include a wider angle and display marker lines indicating distance, car width, and the rear bumper.

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