Subaru has always been known for its sporty and rather unorthodox - approach to its vehicles. In keeping with its tradition of going for the unconventional, The Pleiades (known in Japanese as Subaru) decided to take on a more utilitarian approach to its vehicle lineup with the latest introduction of its new luxury SUV - the Subaru Tribeca at the Motor Image Pilipinas headquarters along EDSA Greenhills.

The new Tribeca (which now sheds the B9 tag) is now branded as an SUV designed for people that place equal importance on work and play. The exterior is typical of the aforementioned branding, as the sleek bodyline and roof rails, coupled with stylish front and rear profiles and 18-inch aluminum alloy rims make it distinct from other vehicles in its class (such as the Nissan Murano, Mazda CX-9 and the Honda Pilot), more station wagon than SUV in general character.

Inside, the Tribeca has features that can match (or even better) European SUVs. The obvious attraction is the sweeping curves of the dashboard, calling to mind the similar interior layouts of the Toyota Previa and Mitsubishi Grandis. Power-assist is standard for the side mirror folding and movement, the sliding glass sunroof, the windows and both front seats, while independent front and rear airconditioning provides cool air throughout the cabin without relying on the front occupants to fiddle with the a/c controls.

In addition, large families will be attracted to the in-car entertainment (with steering wheel-mounted audio controls and auxiliary audio jacks for external MP3 players) and the seating layout, which can seat seven but its third row can only accommodate two kids or a single adult due to very limited kneeroom. For cargo haulers, they will be pleased to know that both rear rows fold flat and can swallow 37.6 cubic feet (with second row backrests upright) and 74.4 cubes (with both rear row backrests folded flat).

As with its other kin in the Subaru stable, a "boxer" engine nestles its way in the engine bay, with six cylinders displacing 3600 cc and putting out 254 hp and 350 NM of torque. The engine is controlled by a chain drive system for prolonged engine longevity and a Dual Active Control System that controls camshaft timing for quicker power delivery. Mated to the "boxer" engine is a five-speed a/t (with Sportshift manual mode) and Subaru's proprietary Symmetrical All Wheel Drive that distributes torque evenly, providing amazing stability for an SUV of its size and passenger car-like acceleration off the line.

Hauling passengers and loads is nothing if they can't be safe and secure. The P 2.733 million Tribeca steps up to the challenge with four channel anti-lock braking and electronic brakeforce distribution to help shed speed. In case impact is inevitable, front/front-side/curtain airbags and load limiter seatbelts (to reduce blunt force trauma to the chest) reduce occupants' injury, along with active headrests that automatically move forward (should the rear get the brunt of an impact) to support the passenger head area and avoid the effects of whiplash.

The new Subaru Tribeca is the company's newest venture into the lugging set, albeit for frequent haulers and/or those with large families. "The Tribeca is developed for those who demand more in every aspect of their occupational or leisurely performance. With its elegant interior and exterior, along with Subaru's finely tuned boxer engine and symmetrical all wheel drive, the Tribeca is sure to give outstanding driving and riding performance," said Motor Image group chief executive Glenn Tan during the Tribeca launch.