I distinctly remember the first time I saw a Subaru B9 Tribeca. I remember because I was taken back by the Cyrano De Bergerac like proboscis (big ol’ snout, for those less interested in the dramatic arts) on what is usually the grille of a car. It wasn’t until I drove the B9 Tribeca that I actually “got it”. That honker is supposed to look like the area of an airplane where the propeller goes. Obviously that is not an easy leap for my mind to make, Once I’d made the jump, I recognized it everywhere in the B9 Tribeca.

Sitting in the driver’s seat is like sitting in a cockpit. Even the lines of the dash mimic wings. I am comfortably tucked into my seat with all of the controls and gauges set out before me. There are so many things to look at that I feel distracted. At second glance, the controls are fairly easy to interpret and I have no problem figuring out how to run the air conditioner or even the navigation system. I do have some trouble, however, when I want to use any of the buttons that are directly in front of the gearshift. My hand has to bend at a weird angle to get the air in the car to re-circulate – maybe that is an aeronautical thing as well.

The back-up camera employs features I associate with airplanes. When I place the car in reverse the back-up camera shows the space behind me and also outlines the area with green, yellow and red runway lighting to show me how close an object is to being smashed. I test this feature in a small parking lot where someone has parked a testosterone-truck (you know the kind…) in a space just across the aisle from the Subaru. I rely on the camera to tell me if I am green, yellow, or red. Let me tell you girlfriend, do not get to the red – objects in your rear view camera are closer than they appear. Luckily I did not leave my good judgment at home this particular morning, so I didn’t actually find out how that enormous trailer hitch looks going through the back window – phew. I am a big fan of back-up cameras but, as I told my soon-to-be-driving teenager, the camera will never replace my eyes or my critical thinking skills (wow, I sound like my mom – scary).

The navigation system in the Subaru B9 Tribeca is almost as good as having a co-pilot. Its voice commands can easily be turned on or off, so I don’t have to listen to an annoying woman’s voice tell me where to turn. My only complaint is with the Point-of-Interest portion of the navigation system. I want to find a coffee joint near my parent’s house so I press the restaurant category button, then it asks me for the name of the business I am looking to find – huh? If I knew the name, I would not have gone through the category menu. Needless to say, I type in Starbucks and I am rewarded, but if I want to find a local java hot-spot I would be hard pressed to find a list in this system. Bummer.

The small folks in the passenger portion of the cabin are pretty comfortable in the second row. They can easily view the landscape from their window seats and even enjoy the in-flight movie on a long day of errands. It is not until we embark on a journey with additional carpool guests that I hear the complaints. The third row seats have such little foot room that my good-natured 5-year-old begins crying – his feet are literally squished and he can’t even pull them up to put himself in the crash position because they are stuck. I pull the car over and move the second row seat forward only to find that my 15-year-old carpool guest must now move to the center position to get a spot that will accommodate his knees. Long story short, the seven-passenger model rivals the airlines’ economy class for comfort.

I am impressed with the attention Subaru has paid to the airliner theme of the B9 Tribeca. As a matter of fact, even Wonder Woman’s airplane doesn’t have this much thematic integrity. It is a very functional aircraft, I mean vehicle, and my kids appreciate all flights, even those close to the ground.

*For more information on the Subaru B9 Tribeca and its safety features visit Cars.com


LATCH Connectors: 2

Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5


Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair – Ample

Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair – Ample


Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair – Great

Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove-On): Good Times