2012 Tribeca New Car Test Drive
Now in its fourth year of production, the Subaru Tribeca is a solid midsize crossover SUV. About the size of a Toyota Highlander, the Tribeca seats seven. It's loaded with technology, starting with its world-class all-wheel-drive system, and offers a luxurious cabin.
We found the Tribeca a joy to drive, with a roomy, comfortable cabin that has an upscale feel and a modern interior design. From behind the wheel, because of a sloped windshield and short hood, it feels more like a minivan than an SUV. The leather seats in the Limited model could use more bolstering, but it's a practical vehicle with lots of nice features.
The Subaru Tribeca is powered by a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine with horizontally opposed cylinders (called a boxer six) rated at 256 horsepower. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 16/21 mpg City/Highway. All models come with all-wheel drive and a 5-speed SportShift automatic with a manual shiftgate.
Tribeca has good power, and it's smooth and quiet at highway speeds. Subaru is a leader in all-wheel drive technology so the Tribeca boasts one of the best systems in its class, making it a superb choice for foul weather. The handling is sure-footed and agile for a vehicle this size, the all-wheel drive giving it a secure feeling that encourages spirited driving.
Tribeca was launched as a 2006 model. 2008 brought styling revisions, a larger engine and mechanical refinements. For 2010, all Tribecas became seven-seaters, and the Touring luxury model was added. There are no significant changes for 2011.
The Subaru Tribeca comes in three trim levels: Premium, Limited, and Touring.
Tribeca Premium ($30,495) comes with cloth upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat, and a four-way power passenger's seat, both with manual lumbar adjustment and heat, 40/20/40-split reclining second-row seats, 50/50 split third row, rear-seat air conditioner with outlets in the headliner and a separate fan speed control, 100-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers and auxiliary input jack, cruise control, interior air filter, fog lights, remote keyless entry, power windows, power heated outside mirrors, power door locks, tilting steering wheel with redundant radio controls, leather-covered shift knob, driver information center, P255/55HR18 Goodyear Eagle LS2 all-season tires on five-spoke alloy wheels.
Tribeca Limited ($32,495) upgrades with leather seating for the first two rows, two-position memory for the driver's seat, HomeLink universal remote, ambient interior illumination, a 385-watt harman/kardon 10-speaker audio system with 6CD changer, XM Satellite Radio, and BlueConnect hands-free Bluetooth capability.
Tribeca Touring ($35,795) adds moonroof, HID headlights, rearview camera with monitor imbedded in the rearview mirror, special trim, seven-spoke alloy wheels.
Options include moonroof ($1,500), navigation system with rearview camera ($2,200), and a rear-seat video entertainment system. Dealer-installed accessories include all-weather floor mats, auto-dimming inside mirror, reading lights, puddle lights, bumper-protection, and roof-rack systems set up specifically for kayaks or bicycles.
Safety features on all models include Subaru's Vehicle Dynamics Control, Variable Torque Distribution all-wheel drive and all-wheel traction control to help the driver maintain control. Brakes are vented discs with antilock (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), and Brake Assist. Front seat occupants are protected by dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side impact airbags and active head restraints, which automatically push forward and up in rear-impact collisions. Curtain airbags insulate the front and second row seats in side impacts. All seating positions get adjustable head restraints, and outboard seats have height-adjustable anchors for seatbelt shoulder straps. Child safety seat anchors (LATCH) are provided for the rear seats. A tire-pressure monitoring system is standard. The only safety option is the aforementioned rearview camera.