For many years, Subaru saw no point in developing a crossover: Subaru cars were already as capable as anything you could want, so what purpose could a crossover serve? What is popular is rarely the most logical, however, and the public just had to have them. Enter the Subaru Tribeca. This is probably what influenced the decision to name it after a fashionable neighborhood in NY. Early derivatives were woefully underpowered, and altogether not that enjoyable. However, recent enhancements should be taken into account. But, with this being the last stretch of its lifecycle, should you be investing in it?
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3.6L Flat 6 Gas
Rather typical of the SUV segment, the Tribeca is boxy and plain in appearance, with an exterior design that speaks more to function than form. And, with not much changing from the iteration before it, the "new" version is actually just more of the same aging aesthetic as before. The choice of paint colors does not do much to garner excitement either, with only Venetian Red and Deep Indigo Pearl in a palette of white and grey/silver. Still, it features 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, chrome-finished door handles, a tilt-and-slide moonroof, and roof rails in black.
Key dimensions are a length of 191.5 inches, a width of 88" including the side mirrors, and a height of 67.7" with rails. Curb weight is at just over 4,200 pounds.
A 256-horsepower 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer unit does duty again in the new Subaru Tribeca. Torque figures are 247 lb-ft, allowing for a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs when correctly equipped. It comes with symmetrical all-wheel drive and a five-speed automatic, and while this is excellent for all-weather practicality, it does not do much for performance. Sure, it is eager and strong, but it is also clear just how much more other competitors offer when you realize it will take the 2014 Subaru Tribeca around 7 seconds to do the 0 to 60 mph sprint. Cars like the Tribeca are not bought for off-the-line thrills and smoking top speed, though, so we'd still encourage a test drive if you're after a people carrier with superb safety ratings.
In reviews of the Subaru Tribeca's driving and handling abilities, the advantage of its stature, which is generally a bit shorter than many others in this classification, is obvious. Subsequently, handling is particularly satisfying, with good grip and confidence through corners. Steering feedback is also brilliant, and while it certainly does not inspire a surge of adrenalin, there is a sense of surety and control that benefits the driver.
Sadly, mileage is where it fails to deliver. The EPA rates it as achieving 16/21/18 mpg on city/highway/combined cycles, with rivals such as the Buick Enclave faring only fractionally better. From the Blue Oval, the Edge in AWD-spec sporting a 3.5-liter mill has a rating of 18/25/20 mpg.
With perches for seven, the compact cabin cannot quite make good on the promises of its configuration. This results in tight accommodations, especially for those in the middle row, and even more so right at the back. Still, the interior is smart and neat, with a contemporary dashboard layout and leather upholstery on seats that can power-adjust eight ways for the pilot, and four for the front passenger. The two rows at the back can fold down in 40/20/40 and 50/50-split, respectively, opening up a respectable 74.4 cubic feet for maximum cargo volume. In comparison, the Ford Edge has a fraction less than 70 cubes. Behind the rear-most bench, however, there is only 8.3 cu. ft. available in the Tribeca.
The manufacturer has put some effort into keeping the inside area comfortable, however, and dual-zone climate control and a rear-cabin air conditioner are factory-fitted inclusions.
Shipping with a ten-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, the Tribeca also has a six-CD changer, SiriusXM, and an auxiliary jack. There's an auto-dimming rearview mirror with an integrated backup camera displaying images of what is behind the vehicle as you reverse. Bluetooth hand-free and a HomeLink transmitter are included, too.
As this is not a new Subaru Tribeca SUV, so to speak, with most of it carrying over, there is no base model or upper trims to distinguish from each other for 2014, and the carmaker has done its best in terms of outfitting the sole variant as extensively as possible. As such, safety elements comprise a full consignment of airbags, traction and stability control, brake assist, tire pressure monitoring, and a braking override option. Navigation with a rear-view camera can also be added on, and although the 2014 Subaru Tribeca did not receive a comprehensive screening from the NHTSA, it scored 4 out of 5 stars in rollover evaluations. The IIHS's reviews resulted in a spread of 'Good' ratings for the Subaru Tribeca.
At its price, the Subaru Tribeca is on the more expensive end of the class in the US market. With an MSRP of around $34,000, the Tribeca costs almost $6k more than the base price of the Edge. But is the Tribeca a car worth spending on?
With the increase in demand for crossovers in the USA, competition is fierce, and now, more than ever, automakers are pulling out all the stops to produce the ideal combination of family-hauler and practical commuter. And, while the Tribeca's safety appraisals and reliability are highlights, it's uninspiring overall look and rather dull motor do little to endear it to us. With this being the end of its production, too, it may be advisable to peruse some edgier opponents.
The most popular competitors of 2014 Subaru Tribeca: