What’s in a name? Subaru gives a list of names for its Tribeca replacement. We pick a winner.

Rumor has it that Subaru has been surveying customers on a list of new names for its Tribeca replacement. We’ll go name by name and pick a winner below. First, here are the names in no particular order:

  1. Centauri
  2. Cypress
  3. Ascent
  4. Meridian
  5. Sojourn
  6. Columbia

The outgoing model was of course named after the TriBeCa neighborhood of New York City, a portmanteau of Triangle Below Canal Street. Kind of a dumb name for a mid-size SUV from Japan. No matter what Subaru picks from the list, we’ll be doing better than that.

CentauriDictionary definition: Astronomy. the Centaur, a southern constellation between Lupus and Vela, containing the triple-star system Alpha Centauri.

First off, it’s a pretty cool connection to the Pleiades star cluster that makes up the Subaru logo. I’m surprised Subaru hasn’t been naming more of their cars after star and constellation-related names this entire time. Maybe I’ve played too many fantasy video games in my 31 years, but all I can think of is a half human, half horse dude. Overall I think I’d be okay with this name and the meaning behind it. Grade: B+


CypressDictionary definitionany of several evergreen coniferous trees constituting the genus Cupressus, having dark-green, scalelike, overlapping leaves.

I like it. Subaru has been pushing its green, earth-saving hippie-theme for a decade now. Having a car named after a tree fits perfectly in line with that. My one qualm with it is the way it flows off the tongue. “Subaru Impreza”, “Subaru Legacy”, all seem to have a flow. “Subaru Cypress” kinda just flops out. Another way to look at this is to act like the Cypress is already around and use it in a sentence. “Hey man, have you seen the new Cypress XT yet?” Enh, it just, flops out. Cool name, but just doesn’t fit. Grade: C


AscentDictionary definition: an act of ascending; upward movement; a rising movement

With the thousands of vehicles ever produced in the world, I can’t believe this name hasn’t been taken yet. The name fits with Subaru. The name rolls off the tongue, “Subaru Ascent”. However, it’s a little too close to Accent. On the list of cars you don’t want to be associated with, the Hyundai Accent is near the top of the list, even if the Hyundai Accent WRC rally car was pretty hot. That isn’t enough to knock this down too much though. Grade: A-


MeridianDictionary definition: Astronomy. the great circle of the celestial sphere that passes through its poles and the observer’s zenith.

Another astronomy-based name that fits in line with the Subaru name. Like the Cypress, it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue when you take into account models and trim letters being added. “Introducing the brand new 2016 Subaru Meridian 2.5 XT” or “Dude that new Subaru Meridian is hot!” just doesn’t work. It is a solid name and gives off a strong yet sensitive vibe, but it just doesn’t fit. Grade: B


SojournDictionary definition: to stay for a time in a place; live temporarily

Unless this model run is only for a few years, that’s a terrible name for a car that will hopefully stick around and compete with other mid-size SUVs for a while. It reminds me of the Chevy Nova debacle. “No va” in Spanish means “No go”. A terrible name for a car that should “go”. Subaru sees the same problem here with a car saying it won’t be around for a while. “Subaru Sojourn” doesn’t slip off the tongue either. This is really the only bad one in the list. Grade: D


ColumbiaDictionary definition: a river in SW Canada and the NW United States, flowing S and W from SE  British Columbia through Washington along the boundary between Washington and Oregon and into the Pacific. 1214 miles (1955 km) long.

As a kid that who born in the Northwest US, I dig it, but there’s also the District of Columbia and Columbia, SC that might lay claim to the naming. We also need to take into consideration the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster of 2003. In a similar vein, Dodge has gotten around this with the Dodge Challenger and the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster of 1986, but in this case, the car came 30 years before the disaster. Subaru will be naming the Subaru Columbia post-disaster, which might make the name unpopular. It’s a good name when considered without history, but some names for vehicles carrying people just need to be retired after a tragedy. Columbia is one of them. Grade: D+


Overall I think the Subaru Ascent would be a classic name that wouldn’t become unpopular over time. It has that earthy, green, feel-good vibe that Subaru loves and essentially says the new SUV is ready for any weather, from the bottom of a mountain to the top. The Subaru Centauri gets an honorable mention for its continuation of Subaru’s constellation-based name. Finally, I wouldn’t be too mad if the Subaru Meridian got the go ahead either.

Either way, goodbye Tribeca. It was really nice knowing you. Do you have a better name for the new 7-seater? Add it in the comments below.

2 Comments on "What’s in a name? Subaru gives a list of names for its Tribeca replacement. We pick a winner."

  1. Noah Rawding | June 4, 2015 at 12:09 am | Reply

    Subaru Quadbeca. Subaru Highlander. In all seriousness the front looks like a cute little robot face.

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