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The Subaru Tribeca first hit the market in the 2006 model year as the odd-looking, yet functional, B9 Tribeca. In 2008, Subaru redesigned the model, giving it a more traditional crossover look and dropped the “B9” from the name. The Tribeca carries on through 2013 as the flagship model for Subaru.
The Tribeca carries over from 2012 essentially unchanged, but drops from three available trim levels to just one: 3.6R Limited. It comes fitted with a 3.6-liter boxer-style six-cylinder engine that pumps out 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, and makes use of a five-speed automatic transmission to deliver power to all four wheels. This drivetrain allows the Tribeca to hit 60 mph in an acceptable 8.3 seconds, but fuel efficiency is a little subpar at 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.
Utility remains a key rationale for choosing a crossover SUV, and the Tribeca has relative success in this area. Its strong unibody construction and balanced drivetrain provide a 3,500-pound towing capacity. A third row brings seating capacity to seven, but is better suited to children than adults, and reduces cargo space to 8.3 cubic feet. With the second- and third-row seats folded, however, the Tribeca can handle up to 74.4 cubic feet of cargo.
The Tribeca's sweeping dashboard is pleasing to the eye, but places many buttons nearly out of the driver's reach. Subaru did a great job of insulating the cabin, however, and excessive wind and other outside noises are capably muted.
The 2013 Subaru Tribeca comes in only one trim level, and features standard equipment like: vehicle dynamics control; traction control; speed-sensing power steering; four-wheel disc brakes with brake assist; 18-inch five-dual-spoke aluminum alloy rims with H-rated tires; fog lights; projector headlights; power and heated side-view mirrors; chromed dual exhaust tips; tinted glass; power windows and door locks with keyless entry; cruise control; a leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel; a universal garage door opener; ambient interior lighting; dual-zone automatic climate control; a 385-watt, Harman/Kardon audio system with 10 speakers, AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM capabilities and Bluetooth connectivity; leather seating with an eight-way power driver’s seat and two-position memory; and silver-metallic interior trimming.
Powerful engine lineup, lower base price and huge towing capacity, but a little bulky
Powerful V6 engine lineup, better mpg and good towing, but looks are polarizing and pricey options
Low price, thrifty four-cylinder engine and powerful optional engines, but weak base engine and limited towing capability
Higher cargo capacity, higher horsepower and 5,000-pound towing, but unresponsive handling