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TRI, TRI AND TRI AGAIN (some text hidden)
BY STEVE WALKER
Introductionword count: 103
Some cars slip from the radar almost the instant they're launched. In the case of the Subaru B9 Tribeca, it was stricken from the record the instant people spotted its fuel economy figure lurking on the spec sheet. Not that 23mpg is particularly disastrous for a big 4x4 sporting a powerful petrol engine. It's just that the 243bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit was the only engine the Tribeca had. In the absence of a diesel, UK motorists with £30,000 to spend weren't particularly interested but once our old friend Mr Depreciation has worked his magic, Subaru's SUV could be a viable leftfield used buy.
Modelsword count: 10
Models Covered: 2006-2009: 5dr SUV (3.0 petrol [S5, SE5, SE7])
Historyword count: 279
Big 4x4s with big petrol engines mean big bills. There's no getting around that one. Despite this, there are models fitting the description that have sold strongly in the UK but almost without exception, those cars are premium brand luxury 4x4s. At the top end of the market, there are enough buyers unconcerned with running costs who just want the most powerful and palatial SUV they can lay their jewellery encrusted hands on. The B9 Tribeca's problem is that this kind of money-no-object buyer isn't interested in a gas-guzzling Subaru. Customers buying large 4x4s in the £30,000 price bracket tend to be after a tough, versatile family vehicle, one that isn't going to eat into the kids' inheritance too vehemently. They tend to want a diesel. Subaru would have been well aware of the likely response from the public when it launched the B9 Tribeca in mid-2006. The car was designed for the American market where they apparently have hot and cold running gasoline in every home and without a more economical diesel power option, the Tribeca was only ever going to have niche appeal here. It was in a similar position to petrol-only contemporaries like Mazda's CX-7 and the Nissan Murano. In short, it looked a long way from home. The B9 Tribeca was launched with its 3.0-litre petrol engine and three trim levels. The S5 was the entry-level model, then came the plusher SE5 and the range-topper was the SE7 which had a DVD player and seven seats as standard courtesy of an extra pair shoehorned into the boot. These seats were available as a cost option on the other models. All versions have an automatic gearbox.
What You Getword count: 379
Measuring 4,857mm long, the B9 Tribeca stands comparison with some of the largest 4x4s on the market. The Subaru is noticeably lower than most off-road capable vehicles, although its ground clearance is reasonable. This hints at one clear fact - the interior, while stylishly designed, isn't particularly capacious and in seven seat guise, both the middle row and back seats can be a squeeze if you're endowed with both a head and legs. Even if you opt for the five-seater, the rear seats are in the same position, making them best for youngsters. The upside is that you can carry more gear than you might reasonably assume. Fold the rear seats down and you'll manage a hefty 1,502 litres. The exterior styling, with its large central nostril, is an acquired taste. The interior feels a good deal more premium than expected if your abiding memory of a Subaru cabin is spawned by the grating cupholders and shoddy plastics of old Imprezas. Soft cascade lighting illuminates the footwells and cupholders. There's a swooping Y-wing design to the dash with nary a straight line in sight. This alone will be enough to sell the Tribeca to many customers in the same way that dotted lines were signed as soon as many prospects landed their bums in the original Audi TTs. The clamshell doors on the centre console are particularly neat, but the twin cowled dials, the acres of metallic finish and the big, easy to use controls also help to create a good first impression. The entry level models, the S5 and the SE5, both feature five seats. Alternatively, customers can go for the SE7, which features the seats as well as a DVD rear seat entertainment system including two sets of headphones, a remote control and rear air conditioning controls. Even the entry level S5 is well equipped, with as six-disc CD autochanger with MP3 compatibility, nine speakers, leather trim for the steering wheel with remote audio controls, dual zone air conditioning, 18-inch alloys and stability control. Opt for the SE5 and that adds leather seats, an electrics pack, a tilt and slide sunroof and DVD navigation with the LCD screen also coupled to a reversing camera. That little lot makes the prices being asked seem all the more attractive.
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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s
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