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Subaru B9 Tribeca (B9X)

rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
http://content.subaru.com/sub/misc/04miamiAutoShow/index.html

Here's the first concrete info on the new large upscale Subaru 7-passenger crossover. The car will debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

Bob
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Comments

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    A lot of people will think Benign X when they read the name.

    Plus, the engine is likely a Boxer 6, B6 would have had more meaning. Maybe B6T if it turns out to be a turbo.

    Wife took one peek and said "Lexus" immediately. She thought it was the RX330. I guess that's good, that model is very successful.

    I see Murano in the window line, and right away I worry about blind spots. Visibility in every current Subie is a strong point, here is might not be.

    Allowing for a very aggressive looking sketch, I still see a very handsome vehicle. Thumbs up. Looks muscular and thoroughly modern.

    The grille opening turned out small, and the hood lines match. Definitely see hints of Alfa Romeo influence given Zapatinas' background.

    Nice "wings" on each side of the grille too. Headlights are B11S-ish, look good.

    They might actually square off the back more than I thought, for decent 3rd row space.

    I like the fender flares, they're not overdone but look muscular and designed-in rather than tacked on.

    -juice
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Rims look to be about 25". :o)

    Built-in fogs.

    Doors are square at bottom, as Bob pointed out, like the Suburban (not Tahoe). Indeed, a very long wheelbase would be required if they implement that.

    I like the character line running from B- to D-pillar. Makes the vehicle look wide, squat.

    Pretty much what I expected, though I think styling turned out better than I thought.

    -juice
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    so the accuracy is most likely way off in terms of proportions and scale. Remember the sketch of the B11S and the actual car? Expect the same kind of differences here. Still, the direction is confirmed, and I like what I see so far.

    Need to get some hard info... Come on Detroit!!!

    Bob
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I really cant think of a worse vehicle name in recent automotive history. Sure, some nonsensical ones, but Benign-X? Agree with Juice- most people are going to see that in the name, and the mags are going to have a field day unless this thing is anything other than fire on wheels.

    Looks very decent, though. VDC is a must. If Subaru can't provide this on at least as an option on the base model, its not a contender. Hell, the RAV4, CRV, and Tucson (whose squat stance I see a bit of in this SUV) have it STANDARD.

    ~alpha
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    B = Boxer (we knew that)

    9 = 9 points of style. Huh? That's what the mini site says. Pretty weak justification, if you ask me. So does that mean if there is a future B3, it will only have "3 points of style?" Subaru clearly needs to re-think the name justification—and in a hurry!

    X = Crossover (we knew that, sort of...)

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    The lower cladding may have a "dimpled" pattern, not unlike the surface of the Forester's dashboard. I wonder if it has a rubber-like cushion to it?

    http://www.subdriven.com/news/publish/Subaru_News/article_280.sht- - ml

    Bob
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    But at least Toureg means nothing in the minds of consumers. I dont think B9 (benign) is an overwhelmingly positive connotation to have about a prospective $30,000 purchase. I posited the name to my 49 mother, and she was like "Why the hell would anyone name a car that... it sounds like 'benign'". Coming from a woman who cares not about cars.

    ~alpha
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    alpha, you are trying to hard. Do you think anyone cares that the Audi A8 = "ate", the Corvette C6 = "seasicks", or the WRX = "wrecks"? Maybe if you're one of those guys who loves to stare at vanity plates, but 99% of the people out there will not notice or care. You can make a goofy word out of almost any marketing name if you try hard enough!

    Before you guys get enamored with the artist's sketch, look at those spyshots from a couple months ago which are a more accurate example of reality. In fact, you can see quite a few real-world details hidden behind the tape and padding.

    Craig
  • dcm61dcm61 Posts: 1,564
    alpha WRX from being C6 when he A8 while reading of the B9 name ;-)

    BTW, where's swampy at?

    DaveM
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Better than S3X, unless you're trying to appeal to men's subconscience.

    The nose in that rendering looks better than I thought it would. Still odd, and I don't see how Subaru is going to go after luxury car buyers with such an unconservative design feature, but at least it's unique.
  • ladywclassladywclass Posts: 1,713
    going for the "greying crowd" ... B9 (as in Bingo) and also for the "x-generation" with the X? lol
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    awards for humorous posts!

    Patti
  • rob_mrob_m Somewhere North of BostonPosts: 820
    I keep thinking of b-nynex. Anyone from the NE should remember what Nynex was. Rob M.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    The only real surprise for me here is the sketch indicates a smaller center section of the grille. I sense that may be a bit misleading. The heavily taped over test mule we've seen suggests that center grille may be larger than the sketch indicates.

    As I had predicted, the center of the grille is more R1/R1e/B9SC-like in shape, meaning more "square," and not "pointed" like the grilles found on the B11S/R2. It will be interesting to see if the Forester also uses this more square shape.

    The only other surprise is the kicked up, Murano-like rear quarter window. That I'm not wild about; not because of the styling, but because it will be somewhat of a blind spot. I don't like it on the BMW X3 either, for that very reason.

    As Craig had suggested, it's best to compare this sketch with the photos of the taped over test mule we have all seen. Then you can cross-compare the sketch details with reality, so to speak.

    Bob
  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    The name doesn't bother me, at least so far. I guess we'll really have to wait and see the un-camo'd B9X to really see it's lines and curves. My guess is that it's going to do well.

    Also, think of the possibilities...B9XT

    -Brian
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    The name doesn't bother me either. It did surprise me, as I thought for sure it would have a more traditional Subaru-like naming, like Surveyor, etc.

    The fact that it does have an alpha-numeric name suggests to me: (1) all future Subarus will eventually follow suit, (2) all future Subarus will be radically different from their current counterparts, and (3) FHI is dead serious about Subaru's new marketing direction, and has put this move on fast-forward.

    Bob
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Also, if Subaru starts using more alpha numeric names with the B-series, the B9X would make more sense.

    Ken
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    every new Subaru with this new face—both concept and production—have had alpha-numeric names.

    Bob
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    to myself is very challenging. I've tried to stay with keeping my two bits to myself over the years here - in the interest of fairness, plus I think it goes a long way towards helping folks feel comfortable expressing themselves, but with this one.....

    I will at least emote this though: ;^)
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Ah come on Patti... let it out. Stress is not good for your health. ;)

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    but I'm hoping the base B9X JE (juice edition) will come equipped thusly:

    • 6-speed manual, as per the BMW X3/X5.

    • Cloth seats.

    • All-Weather package plus heated steering wheel. You all knew I had to sneak that in. ;)

    • Moonroof.

    • 3500 towing.

    Frosting on the cake would be:

    • Larger than 3.0 engine.

    • Optional towing of 5000.

    • Dual-range tranny.

    Bob
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    All Im saying is that I think a poorly chosen name can be a significant mistake.

    IMO, Audi A8 doesnt sound like "ate" since that would be Audi 8. Same thing with WRX (you dont read it "wrecks"). Benign is much less of a stretch than any of that.

    Alphanumerics are just fine by me when they make sense and dont associate themselves with mediocrity.

    Im sure the vehicle will be awesome....

    ~alpha
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    Good list Bob, I would also add VDC to the base model, or at least make it available.

    And the limited version should have an ACC that works and a real premium stereo.

    Sly
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    Of course some people will like it, and some people will hate it, no matter what name they pick.

    But I still think it is a poor name and a marketing mistake that will cost them sales.

    Sly
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Without the lack of any more info, we're all getting fixated on just the name!!

    Hurry up, SOA! Give us more info before we set a world record in putting deep meaning into three alpha-numeric characters!!

    Ken
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Also, if Subaru starts using more alpha numeric names with the B-series, the B9X would make more sense.

    I think that will happen. It seems like a fish out of water now, because it's the first car to be named thusly.

    Bob
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    IMO, Audi A8 doesnt sound like "ate" since that would be Audi 8. Same thing with WRX (you dont read it "wrecks"). Benign is much less of a stretch than any of that.

    I think this just shows we all have different reactions to names and numbers in a sequence.

    BTW, the common slang for a WRX is "Rex".

    Craig
  • This is what I've heard through my dealer friend, who is almost always right, just really good rumors though. I hope these are all true. All models will have 18inch wheels, VDC, and a moonroof standard. Some models even without leather (yes Juice). There will be options or as Subaru likes model codes for the Navigation and Rear DVD and rear climate control. Power everything inluding the usual Subaru best cold weather stuff (mirrors, seats, and wipers). I've even heard mabye even a 40/20/40 2nd row split seat that slides back and forth like 7-8 inches. 6 cyl non turbo and yes mabye a Turbo later on B9XT?? And as far as the name..again it's so much better then any regular name they could come up with...Halifax, Tribeca...etc...Could have been so much worse. Now if someone really likes it for it's features, they won't not buy it because of a name. If some actually can't stand B9X then those 3 people on the planet can go buy something else.....The thing is going to be so awesome!!
  • sdufordsduford Posts: 577
    I agree, it should be a very neat car.

    But I think you underestimate the power of the name. Don't think about the 3 people who will refuse to buy it because of the name. Think about the thousands of people who might have checked it out if only it had a cool name.

    Sly
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Hey trueawd, I hope your dealer friend is right. If so, it sounds like SOA is getting it right from the git-go.

    Any word on engine displacement?

    There will be options or as Subaru likes model codes for the Navigation and Rear DVD and rear climate control.

    If I understand you correctly, these may be offered in "packages," which could mean even base models could be ordered with these features. If so, that would be terrific. One of the big problems with most carmakers is that many of the "desirable" options are only available on the most expensive trim line. For example, if you want navigation or All-Mode 4WD on the new '05 Nissan Pathfinder, you have to buy the most expensive LE trim model. I hope Subaru doesn't do that with the B9X.

    Bob
  • if they named it the B8 and it was really fast like it looks, if cops saw alot of these speeding would they nickname it Jail B8? or would that go against the forementioned bingo segment?
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    something witty!

    Patti (still snickering)
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    It's now been officially reported that the engine is 3.0L (see jon [in CT]'s latest report over at nabisco), and I would assume in the same state of tune as is found in the Outback.

    I think, if that comes to pass, it will be regarded by many as a mistake. The current 3.0L, as tuned, is still a rather "peaky" engine in terms of powerband. If installed in the new B9X, it will be in a much heavier vehicle. I would assume it will be a 4000+ pound vehicle, as all the other vehicles it's being positioned against are in that weight range, if not heavier.

    Besides the already stated X5, MDX and Murano, the B9X will also go up against the V6 Touareg, Pilot and XC90. The Murano, MDX and Pilot all have 3.5L engines. The Touareg's V6 will be enlarged to 3.6L soon; and the XC90 offers turbos, as well as a new Yamaha-engineered V8.

    It's been rumored than an B9X turbo is in the works, but is still a year off. That won't help the kick-off launch of this new vehicle. If the B9X is indeed a 3.0L, it had better have some other tricks up its sleeve. 6-speed trannys, both manual and automatics; a fatter powerband; and a dual-range tranny will all certainly help.

    As we've been saying all along, the new B9X is the last to the party; it had better be the best dressed...

    Bob
  • kenskens Posts: 5,869
    Bob,

    You are absolutely right. Competition is tough in this segment and an undersized engine (relative to the competition) could be the kiss of death. I don't think the H6 3.0 used in the Legacy with the the same performance characteristics would be the right match for this vehicle. The competition all offer stout 6-cylinder engines with very broad torque curves.

    I'm hoping Subaru has something in the engine department up it's sleeve. Given the trend with it's recent models towards performance, a slow moving B9X would seem out of place in the Subaru portfolio.

    So what are the possibilities?

    An all new 6-cylinder? Probably not given the resources of the company.

    A low pressure turbo on the H6? Another turbo engine would certainly hurt Subaru's emissions budget. Also, the H6 block may not be turbo ready.

    The STi engine? From a power perspective yes, but marketing a vehicle of this size with a 4-banger would be tough.

    What would really work well is a hybrid H6 similar in implementation to the Accord hybrid. Excellent gas mileage but very fast as reported in the current C&D. But again, we're back to a small company with limited resources.

    Yup, I sure hope they have something up their sleeves.

    Ken
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I don't think we should assume it will be the same state of tune as the Outback 3.0 H6. In fact, I would not be surprised if the turbo H6 was available from the get go. For a company that is providing the arguably "overpowered" 2.5 turbo motor in some of its models, releasing an underpowered B9X would be very uncharacteristic, especially when you look at the competition. Subaru is clearly jumping smack into the HP war with everybody else. Finally, the B9X won't be launched until Summer 2005, so they will have had a lot of engine development time since the last H6 release (for the 05 Outback). I have a hard time believing the Subaru engine guys have been sitting on their hands...

    Craig
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I hope you're right Craig. I have heard rumors of 250 HP and a re-tuned powerband a while back. If those rumors are true, I hope those tuning upgrades also make it into the Outback H-6.

    Even so, from a marketing standpoint, a 3.0L engine will be viewed by many as underpowered, considering its main competition offers engines in the 3.5L range. It's the old "bigger-is-better" thing, which Subaru could have a hard time countering.

    Bob
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    To focus on engine size may be a mistake -- you certainly wouldn't judge the 2.5 turbo by it's mere 4 cylinders or 2.5 litres of displacement, would you? That engine is a beast for sure. I have to think a 3.0 H6 turbo would be similarly bullish, and be more than up to the task of motivating a 3600-4000 lb vehicle. One of the fundamental ideas behind a turbo is that it increases the effective displacement of a motor because of increased density in the combustion chamber. So a 3.0 H6 turbo should have no problem running with bigger engines.

    Craig
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Craig, no doubt a 3.0 turbo is the answer, but is it going to be available at the outset? Not from what I've heard.

    It comes down to "making a first impression," and a B9X with a somewhat questionable (initial) power-to-weight ratio is not in Subaru's best interest, I don't think—especially with Subaru's new-found interest in performance vehicles.

    Bob
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    that it will indeed have a low-boost 3.0 turbo, but the turbo aspect will be the "surprise" at Detroit. I sure hope so.

    Bob
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    but there is a very serious embargo on information sharing at this point. I'd share what I could if I could, but.....

    Patti
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,863
    ...requires some sort of torquey 6 cylinder. How many 4 cylinder Highlanders are sold??
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Patti

    Not to worry, we understand your position, and know that you've been following this discussion. I'm sure you would clarify much of what's been said—if you could. :)

    It must be very frustrating for you. Just have lots of Chapstick on hand for all those times you've been biting your lips. ;)

    Bob
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    hands a lot these days!

    Patti
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    but Craig got me thinking...

    I'm going to say the B9X, while 3.0L, will have a low-boost turbo, on all models.

    Think about it: Why would Subaru introduce a new—and so very important (flagship!)—vehicle, to be outgunned by the lighter Outback H-6? it just doesn't make sense.

    Bob <living and dying by bold predictions, again>
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Good point! I was thinking along the same lines. Subaru really set themselves up on a serious HP trend for future models (actually, I have been so spoiled by the power in my OB XT, I have set a dangerous trend myself). If they are positioning the B9X as an upgrade for Outback/Forester drivers who drank the XT Kool-aid, the B9X better offer its own alluring beverage!

    Craig
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Jon [from CT] over at nasioc thinks maybe the B9X just might have hybrid power, or at least one version might. He could be right.

    I think one thing is for certain: The existing 3.0L H-6, as it currently stands, will be at a disadvantage in a 4000+ pound vehicle. Subaru has stated it will have a 3.0 engine, but have not said anything about any of the specifics&#151;so, I agree a turbo or hybrid assist would solve all and any power issues.

    The big thing about hybrid is that it's PC. Yes, it would go a huge way to pacify those who were upset at the Outback now being classified as a truck. And… what great PR it would create for Subaru!

    Subaru went out of their way to show the B9SC hybrid at Detroit. Also interesting to note that B9X and B9SC share the same root "B9" name. Maybe Jon is on to something here...

    Bob
      
  • Here are my arguments that SSHEV is on the B9X menu.

    I've been thinking about the published interviews with SOA execs I've read in the past year and a half (which indicate the B9X will initially have a 3.0L normally aspirated 6-cylinder engine, without a turbocharged option). I think I'm prepared to go farther out on a limb than rsholland, who predicts a turbocharged option on all B9X models.

    But first I want to go back to the B11S which premiered at the 2003 Geneva Show. As we all know, the B11S sported a twin turbo 3.0L 6-cylinder engine with peak horsepower rated near 400 hp. Presumably, its engine was based on the EZ30. When the Geneva show ended, the NY auto show's press days were one month away. Yet FHI chose not to display it there. In fact, the B11S has never been presented to North America, though its been to Japan, back to Europe again and, I think, Australia. Why is that? Could it be that the B11S's powertrain isn't the one that FHI wants North America to think about?

    So what does FHI want North America to contemplate? Obviously, its the B9SC (called the B9 Scrambler when it was introduced at the Tokyo show in 2003). I believe the B9SC was shown in both Detroit and Toronto early this year. The most important new feature of the B9SC was its SSHEV powertrain. For a good high-level understanding of the B9SC's SSHEV, I refer you to http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?print_page=y&section_- - - - id=7&article_id=1165&page_number=1&preview= . Briefly, the 134 hp electric motor (notice, this is not an engine) powers the B9SC below 50 mph under most circumstances and the B9SC's 2.0L normally aspirated 140 hp gasoline engine takes over above 50. However, they both contribute power under WOT conditions, meaning the combination can be rated as 134+140=274 hp according to Road & Track. People should also note that electric motors typically have a very flat torque curve, meaning they produce roughly the same torque at low RPMs as at high RPMs. This suggests that the B9SC has serious grunt off the line at WOT when both the engine and motor are contributing. Imagine the result of coupling a "peaky" 250 hp EZ30R engine with the grunt of a 134 hp electric motor into a balanced SSHEV package. Using Road & Track math, that amounts to 384 hp!

    So, why did SOA's press release cite the B11S (a car it's never shown in North America) instead of the B9SC, a car shown here whose model designation differs only by the suffix? That would've been too broad a hint that SSHEV will be part of the B9X lineup. Patti Mickel, an SOA customer/dealer representative who contributes under the name subaru_team wrote this earlier:
    Just so you know - I'm not ignoring your posts but there is a very serious embargo on information sharing at this point. I'd share what I could if I could, but.....

    Patti
    The funny thing is that no previous post had asked her for info or an opinion. I think this was her quiet way of signalling that the discussion of likely powertrains (i.e. turbos) had veered away from what she knows will be offered.

    So all this leads to my prediction that Subaru will announce in January at Detroit that the B9X will be available with SSHEV. I'm not predicting the first B9Xes will have SSHEV, just that it will be available sometime in 2005.

    Some might say "But they would surely put SSHEV on JDM cars first before North America." That would have been true 5 years ago. But FHI has realized its important to get the advanced technology to its most important market (North America) first. That's because FHI's growth potential in North America (1.2% market share) is far greater than in Japan. I'd also point out the JDM still doesn't get a car with an engine rated at 300 lb-ft of torque like the engine in the US STi.

    The availability of the SSHEV hybrid powertrain in the B9X would quiet all the greenies who wailed and moaned about the classification of the Outback as a truck. It would insure the B9X is rated best for both fuel economy and emissions (even when compared with cars). It would also likely guarantee a year-long wait list to get into a B9X SSHEV. Would many potential BMW X-5 drivers take a look at a B9X SSHEV? You betcha.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    Interesting thoughts Jon, thanks.

    I guess the good news is that we only have a two month wait until the official announcement at NAIAS in Detroit.

    Craig
  • subaru_teamsubaru_team Posts: 1,676
    my statement than what it was - just an honest post about my inability to share - no hidden clues (promise). I'm almost afraid to say that I like your thought processes that you'll read more into that comment! (kidding of course)

    If the time comes when I'm okay with leaking some clues, I'll be pretty obvious about it! Thanks for all of the thought and consideration you put into your post.

    Patti
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