When it launched in 2005, Subaru's three-row crossover featured daring exterior styling, a handsome interior and a slightly cumbersome B9 Tribeca moniker. Over the years, Subaru has revised the CUV with more conventional styling, a stronger engine and simplified "Tribeca" badging, but larger and more fuel-efficient rivals have left the Subie feeling a bit dated.
For the latest model year, the Tribeca gains a standard moonroof. Additionally, the previously separate navigation and rear seat entertainment system packages have been combined into a single option.
Based on an extended version of the last-generation Outback's platform, the Tribeca debuted with a controversial aviation-inspired front end that set it apart from the competition. A mid-cycle facelift replaced that unique touch with a more generic, mass-market friendly look, so the highlight of the Tribeca is now a stylish but small interior.
With an organic dashboard that flows elegantly from the edges of the doors down into the center, the Tribeca's interior has a fresh, contemporary apperance that belies the crossover's advanced age. However, those looking for a crossover that handles large amounts of passengers and cargo might be let down by a lack of space. There's technically room for seven passengers, but the third-row seats are best suited for small children. Furthermore, with the third-row in place, there's just 8.3 cubic feet of cargo space - less than half of what most competitors offer.
The Tribeca utilizes a 3.6-liter boxer six-cylinder that produces 256 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 247 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm. Paired with a five-speed automatic that sends power to all four wheels via Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel-drive system, the Tribeca is capable of scooting from zero-to-60 mph in around eight seconds, which is competitive for the segment. Fuel economy, however, is rated at a dismal 16 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.
Standard and Optional Features
The Tribeca Limited comes well-equipped with leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable front seats, a 10-speaker, 385-watt harmon/kardon AM/FM/CD/XM radio stereo system with an AUX input jack, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, foglamps and 18-inch alloy wheels.
The optional Navigation package includes a navigation system with a seven-inch display, a rear parking camera, a DVD player and a nine-inch ceiling-mounted display.
All Tribeca models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to traction and stability control systems.
Those shopping for a Tribeca might also want to consider the efficient Honda Pilot, the sharp-handling Mazda CX-9 or the strapping Dodge Durango.