Monday, May 26, 2014

Subaru Tribeca's Nose-Job

The Subaru Tribeca (Wikipedia entry here) was introduced for the 2006 model year and discontinued around the end of 2013, according to the article.  It sold poorly, averaging around 10,000 units per year.

The SUV faced plenty of competition, especially in the form of Honda's CR-V and Toyota's RAV4.  But what I believe held down sales was the tall grille element on the vehicle's front.  For one thing, it was unrelated to nearly all previous and current Subaru grilles (exception: the 2006 Imprezia WRX STI).  And at the time, it struck me and apparently many others as looking odd, providing the front of the car with a kind of snout.

In retrospect, and in the images below, the appearance of the front doesn't seem so bad.  Many other designs over the past several decades have included tall central elements, so the "shock of the new" couldn't have been in play.  So it was just one of those things; you had to have been there when the Tribeca hit the streets to get the negative vibe.


Original 2006-vintage Tribeca.  The grille's center piece has a shape similar to that of the Saab 96 of the 1960s.

2008-vintage facelift.  The grille was the primary object of redesign, but the shape of the aft side windows was also altered, probably with the intent of making the Tribeca seem longer.

The rear was changed, but only slightly.  The upper image shows the initial design.

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