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I love my Subaru Outback. I’m a birder and spend a lot of time driving to out-of-the-way places to find them. The all-wheel drive Outback gets me there, lugs a lot of high-tech gear easily, is always full of dirt and looks good dirty. My friends in Maine and Oregon love their Outbacks too. They’re great in snow. So the brand, Subaru “Outback,” means me on vacation and on the weekends. But the new Suburu Tribeca tortures that identity. “Tribeca?” The attempt at urban sophistication blurs the brand image of a truly great car. Diego Rodriguez wrote an insightful piece in metacool on how Subaru is fast replacing the Saab as the rugged, iconoclastic car of the day. The name Tribeca works against this switch. Of course, a brand name doesn’t define a product. The product defines the brand—up to a point. Mixing a rugged outdoor reality with an urban, cool image doesn’t work for me. The Subaru has an outdoors soul.
I like the new car, or rather SUV, a lot. It’s got edgy styling and, with the option of a third row of seats, is a good alternative to minivans. But the name? Any 20 or 30-something New Yorker knows that “Tribeca” isn’t even that hip anymore. Subaru should have called its latest car “Williamsburg.” Or “Brooklyn.”
Subaru B9 Tribeca.
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