The 2018 Subaru Tribeca Is Likely To Receive a Name Change

Where did it go wrong for Subaru? Or more specifically, the Subaru Tribeca?

In all honesty, you’d say that the Tribeca bombed – selling the fewest amount of cars ever for Subaru, it was the model that nobody wanted, selling just a comparative handful. However, it’s not all doom and gloom – Subaru have reported a 4% upturn in sales since 2016, making this last year their best ever.

With the crossover SUV market being so hot, Subaru needed to have something in their line-up that could replace the Tribeca – it’s an important segment that most manufacturers want to be in and Subaru are no different. They have decided to jump back into the segment with what is really the 2018 Subaru Tribeca, just not a Tribeca!

New Name


1. New Name, Same Shape
2. Lightweight
3. Will It Have Hybrid Version
4. Special Pricing
5. October Roll Out

We know that Subaru are bringing another mid-size crossover SUV to the market, and last year they filed for a trademark for Ascent, Ascent 7, Ascent Seven, Sojourn, Venterra and Cypress, yet from all of those names, they only took one to full-completion for a trademark – Ascent.

So we would take a stab in the dark that the new crossover is going to be called the… yes, you’ve guessed it – the Ascent. Subaru haven’t confirmed this yet, but they have said that the name will be “synonymous with outdoor adventure” so it fits that brief as well.

New Name, Same Shape?

Details are very limited regarding the new model. We have seen a very heavily camouflaged Subaru SUV out testing on public highways, but that’s as far as anything official goes. Of course, there was also the Viziv-7 concept shown at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show which we believe to be the basis for the new model, but from what we can make out from the pictures, the new model doesn’t bear much resemblance to it – of course it is difficult to tell with all the camouflage, but assuming that it’s a straight covering (not adding any shape) then the new Tribeca / Ascent / Viziv-7 still looks pretty boxy and un-appealing on the outside.

But that style seems to work for Subaru – a boxy shape on the exterior giving great room inside – after all, it will be a three-row SUV as standard, not optional. (The original came in both 5 and 7 seat options)


The new Tribeca is based on the Subaru Global Platform, a shortened version of which is the underpinning of the 2017 Impreza. Subaru have used plenty of high-strength steel in this platform and they say that it gives a number of benefits; lighter-weight, better impact resistance and of course, stiffer.

It should also mean that Subaru are able to lower the center of gravity for the new crossover, which should also help with stability and roll-over, although rolling an SUV is a pretty hard thing to do to be honest.

We would expect to see the use of other lighter-weight materials in the construction and body – many manufacturers are turning to aluminum panels for the bodywork in a bid to keep the weight down, we’d expect Subaru to do the same. Despite being a three-row crossover as standard, we think that the new model will be lighter than the old 2015 model, even with all the new safety equipment and toys fitted – corporate MPG is a big thing right now and all manufacturers are looking into ways of reducing their overall MPG across the line-up globally.

Will 2018 Subaru Tribeca Have Hybrid Version?

Which brings us to the powertrain.

It’s quite possible that the new model will get hybrid technology and power – the Global Platform allows for it and Subaru would be missing a trick if they don’t introduce it, at least somewhere in the production schedule, even if not at launch.

Aside from hybrid technology, we think that Subaru will launch the Ascent with a choice of two engines – in the base model, you’ll find the 2.0 liter flat-four (with as much as 250 BHP) and for those wanting something a little sportier, Subaru will offer the 3.6 liter flat-six (as yet, the power figures haven’t been disclosed, but we’d guess 300+ BHP).

Both engines will be mated to a CVT style transmission driving all four wheels. In all honesty, we don’t see much benefit in offering all-wheel drive – these aren’t off-roaders, but it’s Subaru’s thing and they want it.

We don’t yet know gas mileage figures, purely because we have no specifications to work to – how much the crossover will weigh for example, but we are guessing that economy would be reasonable – no manufacturer is going to launch a vehicle with a drinking habit.

Special Pricing of the Subaru Tribeca 2018

As for what you’re going to get for your money … who knows?

We realize that isn’t a helpful statement, but we would guess that Subaru will offer the new one with all the latest technology and toys – pedestrian detection, automatic pre-collision braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, rear-view camera, smartphone connectivity, USB, Bluetooth, Navigation, touchscreen infotainment … the whole works, but what we don’t know is what will come as standard, and what will only be available further up the model range and price-bracket.

Given that Subaru want to jump right in to the market and start bagging customers from other brands, we’d think that they will be offering something special on launch, and loading just that little more tech than they would otherwise – they want to make an impact from day one and the best way to do that is to offer more of everything – they won’t be giving them away for cheap money, but they’ll at least make it seem as though you’re getting a whole lot more for the money.

October Roll-Out?

Although we are expecting an official announcement soon, perhaps even a production ready model debut at one of the larger auto shows, we don’t think that the new Tribeca / Ascent will arrive at the dealers until later this year – perhaps as late as October.

Given the market that Subaru will be competing in – against the likes of the Ford Explorer, Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander, the pricing will have to fit with them. So we would guess a starting price of around $30,000 going all the way up to around $50,000 for a fully-loaded flagship model.

2017-04-21 by Luke Widmeyer