Every once in a while I check my rearview mirrors or look at cross traffic and see the distinctive face that could have been Subaru’s future. This somewhat rare sight today is the Subaru B9 Tribeca. It was a crossover with room for seven, premium features and a flat-six under the hood. But people couldn’t get past the airplane stuck to its nose.
Subaru put a lot of effort into the B9 Tribeca. It’s named after the ultra-expensive “Triangle Below Canal Street” neighborhood in New York, and B9 is an alphanumeric like you’d expect from a German carmaker. The “B” was for its boxer engine and the “9" is an internal code denoting its place in Subaru’s lineup. Its design was an aviation theme meant to remind buyers that Subaru’s parent, Fuji Heavy Industries, has history building aircraft. Subaru’s Lafayette, Indiana plant would build the crossover for North America, Australia and Chile, but it wouldn’t cross the Pacific to Japan.
The aviation theme didn’t land with reviewers, though, who penned many articles about how hideous they thought the crossover looked. Its seven seats, leather, DVD player and exceptional safety weren’t enough to sway their opinion.
I mean, check out how well the dashboard flows into the rest of the interior. We need more cars like this.
The negative response to the crossover’s design was heard by Subaru, and just two years after launch, the automaker released a facelift. Gone would be the B9 alphanumeric, and gone would be a distinctive design.
The crossover, now just Tribeca, looked like something you’d find in a Grand Theft Auto game.
I can’t help but wonder what owning these is really like. Consider me a part of the minority that likes the B9 Tribeca and its spread wings of a grille. It was something different in the endless sea of lookalike crossovers and SUVs.
Have you owned a B9 Tribeca? Did you buy it because an Outback or a Forester just wouldn’t work? Was it a smooth family hauler that carted you and your kids to Disney World or the in-laws? Do the Subaru stereotypes about head gaskets ring true for it?
Let me know, and show me your ride! If you’re local to northeast Illinois, I’d love to take it for a spin.