RIVALLING the likes of the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90 is no easy feat but Subaru has set itself exactly that challenge with the launch of its flagship B9 Tribeca.
The fact that it is not offered with a diesel engine option may put some fleets off but this may be negated by the fact that the SUV can be ordered with the option of seven seats, something you can’t get on the also petrol-only Nissan Murano.
The Tribeca, whose name derives from a New York district, is powered by a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine offering 245bhp through a five-speed auto gearbox.
Subaru plans to sell 1,000 units a year in the UK, with the majority of production from the US factory remaining in the States. As a petrol-only range, and with limited supply, the firm isn’t expecting much interest from fleets, although there’s sure to be the odd user-chooser plumping for one somewhere.
They’ll be tempted by the generous levels of kit, especially as the Subaru undercuts the Nissan Murano by £1,000 and the Volvo XC90 3.2 by a hefty £7,000, and the versatile interior (in seven-seat guise the rearmost seats fold away).
However, monthly rentals and benefit-in-kind tax bills are likely to be on the high side. CAP predicts the Tribeca will retain between 34–35% of its cost new after three years/60,000 miles, three percentage points behind the Nissan and well adrift of the Volvo XC90 3.2 petrol on 42%.
Behind the wheel
I’M not a fan of the Tribeca’s exterior looks (who is?), but climb aboard and you get a great-looking, upmarket cabin.
It’s a spacious vehicle and on motorways offers a comfortable and relaxed ride. It was a tad wobbly when challenged with a winding country road, though.
The gearbox comes with a Sportshift function that allows the driver to change gears manually, a useful feature for particularly twisty and uphill roads.
The seating position is high, giving the driver a commanding view of the road ahead. Passengers in the second row of seats will enjoy a comfortable ride too, with plenty of legroom. The third row of seats are fine for occasional use by adults on short journeys but they’re mainly for children.
The Tribeca is not particularly quick off the mark but things start to move at a better pace when you reach 3,000rpm.
ALTHOUGH spacious, comfortable and with good ride quality, the Tribeca’s looks, or the fact that it is petrol-only, may put off some potential buyers.
Model: B9 Tribeca
Max power (bhp/rpm): 241/6,600
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 219/4,200
Max speed (mph): 121
0-62mph (secs): 9.3
Fuel consumption (mpg): 23.0
CO2 emissions (g/km): 291
On sale: Now
Price (OTR): £28,995–£33,995