Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The Tribeca arrived on our shores in October 2006 with unusual front & rear styling. Luckily a major facelift arrived shortly after (December 2007) and with it came a much more cohesive styling update... In addition, Subaru switched the slightly undersized 3.0L six-cylinder petrol engine for a much more promising 3.6L.
Not so good The optional third row seating is fine for kids. The second & third seats aren’t as clever or useable as in a number of dedicated People Movers; (however, the vast majority of Australian buyers seem to rather drive a $60k SUV than a similar-priced People Mover, and we find that a tad confusing!?).
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good The unique dash/centre console design is certainly different, but it works! The reversing camera is one of the better ones we’ve come across. The second row seats slide forward & backwards to aid with cargo space, or you can opt for a third row (available on both Tribeca variant's). The Premium grade comes standard with a rear DVD player & screen and second & third row air-conditioning vents - perfect for keeping the kids entertained and chilled at the same time. The boot is large and the optional third row seat folds flat into the floor when not in use.
Not so good Not everyone liked the futuristic dash design. Steering adjusts for tilt (up and down) but not reach (in and out) so taller drivers may complain... All seats could offer more side-support and the third row are best reserved for children.
Performance

Performance

Good The six-cylinder 3.6L petrol engine’s performance figures of 190kW and 350Nm of torque are comparable to key competitors (CX-9/Kluger/Territory etc); however the Subaru engine has a unique flat configuration compared to the other's ‘V’ or ‘inline’ configurations. The new engine benefits from the extra 53Nm over the previously smaller 3.0L and it now also runs on regular unleaded.
Not so good In a battle for mid-range performance against a CX-9, Kluger, Murano or Territory and we’d bet that the Tribeca might struggle for a podium spot...however, on the plus side, we’re confident that the Tribeca’s real world fuel economy would see it beat most to the podium!
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Even when driven quickly the Tribeca’s ride stays commendably composed for an almost two-tonne Large SUV. The big Subaru also offers a slightly softer, more comfortable ride than some competitors. Even over coarse bitumen the Tribeca cabin stays quiet and refined.
Not so good The Tribeca is slightly less inclined to enjoy being hustled along than say a Territory or CX-9 - but to be truthful how many people want, or should, be driving briskly in a large family-carrying vehicle?
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Build quality appears to be spot on. There's high levels of standard equipment on all grades and competitive pricing gives it good overall value. 3.6L engine is more economical than the previous 3.0L. Subaru’s generally have excellent resale value and we don’t expect the Tribeca to be any different.
Not so good Space saver spare limits serious touring confidence.