Subaru Tribeca may leave you wanting more

Subaru Tribeca may leave you wanting more

Subaru Tribeca Featured

The Subaru Tribeca shed its former styling for a bland new look that will leave you yawning.

This is a crossover SUV that competes with Ford’s Edge, Chevy’s Traverse and Mazda’s CX-9, just to name three with more style. My test car was the upscale Touring edition, which means it goes for a premium price tag, starting at $35,795. This one hit $38,720 after adding a $2,200 navigation system and delivery charges.

[![Subaru Tribeca snapshot](http://media.jsonline.com/images/WHEELS14G4.jpg "Subaru Tribeca snapshot")](http://media.jsonline.com/images/WHEELS14G4.jpg)Click to enlarge.
Other crossovers cost more, so this isn’t atop the price charts, but this is not a special crossover in styling or performance. Consider a lower cost model.

On the plus side are its engine and all-wheel drive system. Tribeca now uses a 3.6-liter H6 engine. The engine pumps out 256 horsepower, up from the previous 3.0-liter engine that delivered 250 horsepower. It feels like it has more power and will help the Tribeca pull away from stoplights with authority.

Still, it gets just so-so gas mileage, with an EPA rating of 16 mpg city and 21 highway. I got 18.1 mpg in an even mix of city and highway driving.

An all-wheel drive system keeps the wheels well connected, no matter the slop under tread. That counts in our climate.

Subaru uses only a five-speed automatic, while others are moving up to six-speed automatics. This one shifts fine, but a six-speed might help improve gas mileage or smooth out shift points.

Ride is more firm that I expected and turned bumpy on decrepit streets. I would have expected a more refined ride, like the Edge or Traverse offer.

[![Subaru Tribeca exterior](http://buyersguide.carsoup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Subaru-tribeca-exterior.png "Subaru Tribeca exterior")](http://buyersguide.carsoup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Subaru-tribeca-exterior.png)An all-wheel drive system keeps the wheels well connected, no matter the slop under tread. That counts in our climate.
Tribeca feels heavy from a steering standpoint, and it’s not skinny, weighing 4,256 pounds. The crossover leans some in corners and the steering is vague so you’ll be adjusting the wheel regularly on the highway.

Tribeca rides on 18-inch tires and grip is good, the all-wheel-drive being a plus in winter driving. There are four-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS and a dynamic vehicle control system to help prevent a spinout.

Inside the roomy metallic red test Tribeca were charcoal gray leather seats with gray stitching. The dash was the same charcoal shade over a lighter gray plastic. A matte silver trim accents the dash and center stack, while the steering wheel and shifter are leather like the seats.

[![Subaru Tribeca interior](http://buyersguide.carsoup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Subaru-Tribeca-interior.png "Subaru Tribeca interior")](http://buyersguide.carsoup.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Subaru-Tribeca-interior.png)I liked the front power seats, which were easy to adjust and find a comfortable driving position.
Overall, it creates a pleasant look, but the dash’s plastic looks cheap compared with the rest of the interior. Still, the dash gauges are easy to see, with white numbers and red needles.

The seats are fairly flat and comfortable, and the Touring model has three-speed heat in the front seats. There is a 50-50 split third row seat so you could haul seven people. But the rear seat legroom is limited, so anyone sitting back there better be small. Second row room is fine for average size adults. All the seats are easy to move and adjust with the third row being flip-up seats that are fine to raise and lower without power.

I liked the front power seats, which were easy to adjust and find a comfortable driving position. But the steering wheel is tilt only, which seems unusual at this price point. With the optional navigation system comes a large map screen center dash. I also like the rearview camera that makes use of that screen when you back up.

Behind the third row seats is a small storage area where you could put four or five grocery bags. But if you’re going on a trip and need suitcases, you’ll need to fold the third row seats down. Tribeca’s hatch is not a power job, like so many these days, but it’s not hard to pull down.

Overall Tribeca is an average midsize crossover performer, but you could get into one for less than the test vehicle, as it approaches the luxury level where you’d expect more extras.

The base Premium Tribeca starts at $30,395 and the Limited model goes for $32,495. Both feature the same strong 3.6-liter engine and all-wheel-drive system found on the upscale Touring model.


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