Subaru dealers are now taking orders for their new premium SUV - the US-built B9 Tribeca which arrives in showrooms in November priced from £28,995 on-the-road.
And with a database of more than 1,200 interested customers, sales of the BMW X5 and Volvo XC90-rivalling flagship look set to get off to a sprightly start.
Undercutting main rivals on price and boasting especially generous equipment levels and a seven-seat option, the B9 Tribeca continues Subaru’s tradition of offering class-leading chassis dynamics, combining a smooth ride with sporty handling previously denied the large SUV owner.
This is made possible thanks to the low centre-of-gravity of the six-cylinder 3.0 litre horizontally-opposed engine plus Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system which offers a nominal 45/55 front to rear torque bias for improved turn-in and more balanced handling.
However, sensors ensure torque is altered front to rear in milliseconds, backed by a sophisticated Vehicle Dynamics Control system which operates only when needed such as in sudden lane changes or when encountering slippery surfaces.
In fact, despite having a useful 213 mm ground clearance compared to the BMW X5’s 180 mm, the B9 Tribeca has a centre-of-gravity of 640 mm as opposed to the German car’s 679 mm – a massive difference in engineering terms.
Borrowed from the Legacy 3.0R spec.B saloon and sports tourer, the 245 PS ‘boxer’ engine is especially smooth and responsive, providing 219 lb.ft of torque for effortless progress.
It is matched to a five-speed automatic gearbox with ‘Sportshift’ which allows the driver to change up and down manually - especially useful during rapid driving on twisty and hilly roads.
Performance and fuel economy are impressive with a 121 mph top speed, 0-60 mph time of 9.3 seconds and 29.7 mpg on the Extra Urban Cycle.
As the B9 Tribeca has been on sale in the US, Canada and Chile since last year, it has already established itself as a safety leader.
The Subaru scored an outstanding 5-stars for both front and side crash-protection by America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) - the maximum achievable.
In addition, Subaru’s range-topper performed with distinction in the tough roll-over tests, earning four stars and achieving a low 16 per cent chance of rolling over and a ‘No-tip’ dynamic test result.
This compares with an average 30 per cent chance of overturning among all US-market SUVs and range of between 12 and 19 per cent for passenger cars.
Named after a fashionable part of New York, the B9 Tribeca has undergone minor styling changes compared to the US-market car plus fine-tuned rear suspension for even better handling.Published 23 July 2006