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Subaru B9 Tribeca (B9X)

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Comments

  • Finally aside from the test mule pictures of the bagged up B9X, we have something to pick apart. The sketch pics listed by Subaru.net look pretty close to the outline and features that could be determined from the test mule pictures. I see elements from the X3/X5 in the side profile. I see a bit of RX330 from the rear. I see the Buick Rendevous in the slope of the front hood. I like the window frames, the broad stance look, the wheel well arches and wheels view.

    If Subaru comes correct with the upscale interior features and addresses the engine and the vehicle dynamics this will be one hell of a car. I am ok with these sketches, I am still waiting to see the debut but am pretty sure it gets added to the top of the prospect list:

    45K Max Fully loaded is the price point.

    Cadillac SRX - Very nice with discounts now
    Chevy Tahoe - Pretty nice with big discounts
    Honda Pilot - Top Midsize SUV Value. Lack of side airbags keeps it from being automatic.
    Nissan Armada - 2005 will have new kinks worked out. Big and powerful
    Nissan Pathfinder - I like this truck alot.
    Saab 9-7X - Waiting to see how the Trailblazer/ Ranier rehash comes out.
    Subaru B9X - Halifax / Tribecca
    Volvo XC90 V8 - Nice and safe, pricey but nice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Cadillac SRX - Very nice with discounts now
    Chevy Tahoe - Pretty nice with big discounts
    Honda Pilot - Top Midsize SUV Value. Lack of side airbags keeps it from being automatic.
    Nissan Armada - 2005 will have new kinks worked out. Big and powerful
    Nissan Pathfinder - I like this truck alot.
    Saab 9-7X - Waiting to see how the Trailblazer/ Ranier rehash comes out.
    Subaru B9X - Halifax / Tribecca
    Volvo XC90 V8 - Nice and safe, pricey but nice


    I'm assuming this is a list of vehicles one may cross-shop the B9X with. I would also include the Touareg and 4Runner, and of course, the Explorer.

    While it's true the B9X will be a crossover, as more and more SUVs offer sophisticated IRS, such as the Touareg, Explorer, Pathfinder and Armada; you will see these more of them being cross-shopped with crossovers.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Swampy: Subaru is calling it a 5+2, so they're being more honest than anyone else.

    Equinox is the size of an MDX outside, it just has awful interior space effiency.

    Passenger comfort has to be excellent in this class of vehicle. People want to sit on a throne, high up and pampered with heated seats.

    Pilot actually gets side air bags for 2005. 255hp is more than what is rumored for the B9X. It's a bit loud and harsh riding, though, so there is room for improvement.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I don't consider the Equinox (too downscale) or the Explorer (domestic truck) or even a Tahoe (domestic truck) the competition. SRX is a domestic wagon. Armada is just enormous, and even the new Pathy will be a truck first and foremost.

    We're talking about import brand and car-based. The way I see it, the closest competitors are, in order:

    * Acura MDX
    * Lexus RX330
    * Volvo XC90 V6

    MDX is the closest match, in terms of features expected to be offered and the 7 seats.

    Lexus was mentioned as a target, and the styling that pushes the envelope, and the +2 3rd row.

    Pilot is not really upscale, I still don't think they offer a moonroof, and the B9X is rumored to have one standard. But it will be cross-shopped since the B9X ought to represent a good value compared to the MDX, as the Pilot does.

    Touareg? Dunno, those are kinda small inside. Pricey, too.

    Subaru will add the X5 but again price puts it out of reach, and X3 is too small. ML350 is also priced quite a bit higher.

    MDX and RX are Asian brands, they'll be closest.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Not in my book; true it's not a 7-seater, but for 5, it has plenty of room.

    I honestly think that there will be those (me, for example) who would cross-shop the B9X with vehicles like the Pathfinder, now that it (and others like it) have become far more civilized. This would be especially true if the the B9X offers some real off-road and/or towing ability.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The back seat of the Touareg is much smaller than a Passat's. I found it sort of cramped.

    They will have a stretch version with a 3rd row, now that might compete with the B9X, though it'll be priced a lot higher.

    Cross-shopping usually covers a wide and wild array of vehicles. I would cross shop a Miata with a B9X only because I'd then decide which vehicle I'd replace! :o)

    -juice
  • ateixeira wrote:
    MDX is the closest match, in terms of features expected to be offered and the 7 seats.
    The final paragraph of an article about Subaru at http://www.realcities.com/mld/inquirer/business/9387236.htm says that the new Subaru crossover was "benchmarked on the BMW X5 for performance and the Acura MDX for comfort and convenience."
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True, but everyone lists BMW as the performance benchmark.

    In ads the Outback is compared to some Bimmers, as is the Legacy.

    -juice
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    In many ways your right Juice, but for many people import and car-based are not in the criteria for looking for a vehicle. (Remember many like how a Buick Park Ave rides.)
    Many simply want:

    -Can it hold 5 adults + some kids
    -Where can it be serviced
    -does it have enough power
    -does it have creature comforts
    -can 3 car seats fit in the second row.
    -can it tow 3500lbs.
    -cost.
    -comfy for short and tall drivers.

    So many people don't care about the rest. I mean sure my Tahoe can't corner very well, maybe it can't brake as fast, and the ride is different. But it does everthing else I need it to and so would just about everything else on the list.

    I supose it also depends ont he priorities for each of the items I listed too.

    --jay
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You forgot some important criteria:

    * will it look good at the mall
    * will it fit in at the country club
    * will it give me bragging rights

    ;-)

    -juice
  • jay_24jay_24 Posts: 536
    Bingo. Why 99% of Hummers really sell.

    --jay
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, Bummer, looks like Subaru is not hosting enthusiasts at NAIAS like they did last year. That likely means I am not going to Detroit.

    Anyone local planning on going? We need someone with a camera to crawl all over that bad boy.

    -juice
  • atlgaxtatlgaxt Posts: 501
    I've seen that the Subaru offers a low range on vehicles like the Forester in other markets. Has anyone heard if the B9X will offer low range? That would be an excellent way to separate this vehicle from the other crossovers, and be a real alternative to truck based SUVs, neatly splitting the two categories.

    Not only is it a good feature off road, I have used it in my truck to do things like back up a trailer going up a steep hill. There are times I feel like I am straining the transmission and I put it into low and the truck just jumps. It makes a big difference in certain circumstances, even if you are not a rock crawler or heavy duty off roader.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The ML is one of the few near-luxury SUVs to offer that.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I couldn't agree more, and for the very reasons you mentioned. Let's keep our fingers crossed. :)

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Same with the Touareg which also has a 6-speed automatic.

    Bob
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    OK, forgot about that one.

    This could be Subaru's surprise stand-out feature. The VW and Benz are priced higher so it would offer a unique advantage in the price range.

    -juice
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    Yep, it needs to have a low range and downhill assist. Then I would be really interested, otherwise I'm just going to stick to the Outback.

    Come to think of it, they should add those to the Outback! :)

    SLy
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Over the holiday I checked the paper, and some stores were selling DVD players for $18! Can you believe that?

    Any how, DVDs are so big you can't open a flyer nowadays without seeing ads for DVDs, even the local drug stores sell them now. Costco had a DVD recorder for $180.

    So...B9X should have this feature, no excuses. There is room for it, the price range expects it. It would be a big hit with families.

    My wife wants one on our next car. Built-in, too. Wireless headphones so we can listen to something else on the radio.

    One of these days I'm going to go get that DVD recorder and start transfering our home videos to DVD format.

    -juice
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    Yeah but how do you cram the $18 Walmart special DVD player in the dash and hang a 14" TV from the ceiling?? :)

    In reality, the miniturization (sic?) required and the LCD screens are the deep costs. Also, cost is different than MSRP. Figure a markup of 7 times to cover costs, design, overhead, et al.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Oh, I realize that. My post was just pointing out the fact that DVDs have completely taken over and are now very mainstream.

    You might even argue that really happened a year ago. But still.

    GM made a 7" DVD standard on its minivans, and Honda offers a 9" model on the Odyssey. So Subaru should have at least a 7" screen as an option.

    How much? $2000 is industry standard but seems a bit high given costs for LCDs and the players have come down (I'm sure for miniaturized components too). So I'm hoping Subaru will offer it for less.

    -juice
  • it will make the current ones obsolete
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    7 years from now. :o)

    DVD is now the standard format, and look how long it took for DVD to replace videocassettes. Blockbuster still has the latter, even.

    I don't see them dropping DVD in the next 7 years. I do see them phasing out the cassettes over the next 2-3 years, however.

    You have to look at the installed base. Only now has it really shifted to majority DVD.

    -juice
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    I read something recently that stated DVD's are outselling VHS at about 40:1. Although, I'm not certain if it was pertaining to the player or the media.

    -Brian
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yeah, but like I said, it takes a long time before the actual installed base changes over to the new format.

    That's why Blockbuster still has cassettes.

    -juice
  • I might like to see a low range but it surely isn't a priority. I would think it would have some kind of hill descent feature if that is not integrated with stability control. If you want a true off-roader there are so many better options. Subaru can't fit every bill with this vehicle.

    Yes I know the Subaru strength and DNA is small forester trucks but this is supposed to be a crossover SUV not a off-roader. Yes the Toureag (Sp?)(Can I just say what a F###ed up name that is?)and Cayenne have those capabilities, but I think there goals were to compete a bit with the Range Rover crowd. I don't think Subaru has that intention nor could they meet that level just yet.

    I will be happy to see VDC, winter mode gear setting, a great road biased load leveling suspension, bigger brakes and some engine grunt to do the chores I need.
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    Without ever going off-road, low-range and descent assist are still very useful feature.

    If you ever had to pull a boat out of water or tow a boat or trailer up or down a steep gravel road, you would know why...

    I don't think anybody in their right mind would take a Touareg or Cayenne truly off-road, and I'm sure 99% of them never even see dirt. Same goes for Hummers.

    Actually saw an interesting test last year. They took both an H2 and a Cayenne S on a very difficult off-road course that included deep mud and water. The H2 got stuck about half way thru, the Cayenne made it all the way, to the amazement of the members of the club that owns the course.

    Sly
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    I'll second the low-range idea. It would help when I pull out the occasional bush/small tree with my subie out of my yard.

    And when I go fishing to take my boat. Oh and there were some steep forestry roads that it would help alot on when I explore them.

    Eric
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    would certainly set the B9X apart from the rest of the crossovers. Many of us here have been asking for that feature here for years (literally!). Let's hope they listened, as we'll find out in about 6 weeks.

    Bob
  • ladywclassladywclass Posts: 1,713
    so it will be a 'blue light special'?
  • rangnerrangner Posts: 336
    ROTFL

    :()

    Eric
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 817
    Good one, Brenda!
  • The folks who buy Range Rovers in Europe and Australia really drive them offroad..largely because they have a higher % of unpaved lanes and backcountry roads. The same is true for the Subaru owners in those markets...and that why Oz gets the air-adjusting rear suspension Forester.

    In the US market, the primary need for low range is for towing with heavy loads/steep inclines for short distances, usually on pavement, and the solution of the day is to get a 400bhp/400 ftlb engine that most buyers need once every few years, if ever. IMHO it is a rationalization, a clever manipulation promoted by the manufacturers which buyers use to justify their huge V8 Hemi. An interesting observation:In my neighborhood, the folks who live at the base of the mountain drive Cayennes, X5s and brute utes. The folks who live on top of the mountain drive Subarus and Isuzus.

    A normally-aspirated H6 with VVT and a dual range tranny would be a hugely practical 5/7 seater. Practicality, rather than perception and image, actually sells a few cars.

    Mark
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Mark

    It's interesting to note that Subaru offers it dual-range manual trannys on in their lower powered models, not their high-powered turbos. It's always been that way.

    That being the case, it makes even more sense for Subaru to offer a dual-range tranny on their B9X models, as the power-to-weight ratio will likely not be that great. So for that model, as you and others have stated, a dual-range tranny (auto or manual) would make a lot of "practical" sense for those times when lower gearing would be a benefit. Now, whether a dual-range tranny would be needed if the B9X had a turbo (or hybrid assist), that's still an open question; but for at least the base H-6 engine, there's no question in my mind it would be a huge asset.

    Bob
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Dual range would be great, and Subaru already knows how to do it. That would remedy a lot of the potential power/usability issues with the current H6 if it's stuffed into a larger more SUV like vehicle. Would help customer perception too -- sounds macho to me. "Yeah, I just slung it into low-range...."

    Craig
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I couldn't agree more Craig. This is one Subaru that really could benefit from offering a low range, as it likely will be used by a number of owners who will tow, etc.

    I just hope Subaru thought to include it, as our "wish list" here is now a bit late. :)

    Bob

  • How the format is going to be is not yet decided but there is a strong will among the film studios and electronic makers that the format should arrive sooner rather than later. The earliest we can expect HD-DVD content is 2004 but 2005-2006 seems more like it.

    DVD Forum has accepted AOD (Proposed by NEC/Toshiba) as the technical specifications used in a future read-only HD-DVD format.

    However, Blue-Ray is still being developed and Columbia/Tristar (owned by Sony) has announced they will release films on Blu-Ray as early as 2005.

    The Blu-ray companies say their format is better because a single-layer disc can hold about 25 gigabytes, enough to record up to three hours of high-definition TV, versus 20 gigabytes for HD DVDs. Blu-ray says the possibility of even higher capacities in the future would give its technology a longer life span.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Dunno about HD-DVD, most people don't have good enough eye sight to spot the difference. ;-)

    Pilot just got a power boost to 255hp, so if the B9X does have "just" 250hp then a low range would be a smart way to get more effective torque for many situations.

    And it would not hurt the EPA mileage numbers. So it might turn out to be pretty clever.

    Touareg has been reasonably successful but one big complaint about it is fuel efficiency. So that plus interior space are where the B9X could really trump the VW.

    -juice
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    Not true actually. If you have a large screen capable of displaying full HD resolution, there is a huge difference between HD and DVD, as much, if not more, as you see between VHS and DVD.

    I have a front projector with an 8' screen in my home-theater. On that screen, regular TV and VHS are unwatchable, DVD is very good, HDTV is breathtaking. And it is not just resolution, it is also color resolution and bit depth. HDTV has almost a 3D quality compared to DVD.

    Sly
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Touareg has been reasonably successful but one big complaint about it is fuel efficiency.

    The reason for that, despite looking like a tall wagon, the Touareg is built rugged like a (very sophisticated) truck. It is very heavy, as these specs (V6, V8, V10) will show:

    http://www.edmunds.com/apps/nvc/edmunds/VehicleComparison;jsessio- - nid=Bu5L0ktD9mWUEBbNkLvfIfjaN0K0wmLufUeqOaaXpAZZyLSDVhkd!-1647462- - 122?styleid=100467136&styleid=100467137&styleid=100467140- - &maxvehicles=5&refid=&op=3&tab=specs

    Bob
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Those specs also point to the fact as to why the Toureg V6 is universally deridden as under-powered. 10+ seconds to 60 in a $35,000 SUV? Its one of the slowest SUVs going, even at lower pricepoints. I'm not sure I understand why people would bother with the V6 version.

    ~alpha
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I'm not sure I understand why people would bother with the V6 version.

    Easy. It's far cheaper than the V8 or V10. I've driven a V6 when they first came out, and it wasn't bad, as the 6-speed tip-tronic automatic is put to good use. BTW, the V6 is reportedly going to get bumped up to a 3.6L engine shortly.

    But you are right, the 3.2L engine is challenged in such a heavy vehicle. In Europe it's also offered in a 2.5, 5-cylinder turbo diesel, which I'm sure is the primary seller over there.

    Bob
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Bob,

    Naturally I understand that within the Toureg line, people choose the V6 due to cost. I was more referring to why choose the V6 Toureg at a 35K price point (realistically $40K with moderate options) over more well rounded competitors (like the RX330, MDX, or LR3, for example)? I dont really buy the rugged/tough argument, as my impression of Vee Dub consumers is that they tend to tread lightly.

    I dont know if the V6 is growing, but I do remember reading somewhere about a 30 or so hp gain. We'll see how that works out.

    Best,
    Joe
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Sly: 8' I agree. I have a 91" projection screen myself.

    But 7"? How many pixels can there really be?

    More torque would help the V6 Touareg accelerate, but I doubt it'll help mileage.

    -juice
  • atlgaxtatlgaxt Posts: 501
    What kills me is that VW puts this small and modestly powered V6 in a 5,000 + lb vehicle where it is already overmatched, then they rate it to tow 7,700 lbs. That sounds downright dangerous to me.

    What also kills me is how big and heavy many of these European luxury SUVs (Range Rover, Porche, BMW X5) are, and then they do not even have the cargo capacity of a Forester. I've known several people buying these types of vehicles who admit they do not go offroad, but say they want 4wd for the safety (In Atlanta, with 1" of snow per year), but they also say they need these vehicles for the cargo room. What a joke. All they want is the snob appeal. Which unfortunately the B9X will not offer, even if it is a better vehicle. Which is why Subaru needs to keep the price under control.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Those European SUVs are built very rugged, hence the extra weight. They are world-market vehicles, which therefore includes Atlanta as well as Anchorage, the Alps, Africa and anything in between.

    Bob
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    Ahem.

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  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    Off topic 'cause there's nothin' new to talk about!
    I thought we were supposed to get some intentional "leaks" from our inside sources as the show nears. * hint, hint! ;) *
    I think we've hypothesized about as much as we can 'til we get some new photos or tidbits.
  • I bet 4345lbs
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