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2010 Subaru Tribeca

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2010 Subaru Tribeca Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors


There are a number of seven-passenger SUVs on the market, so what's so special about the 2010 Subaru Tribeca? For starters, every Tribeca is equipped with an advanced and capable all-wheel-drive system, a comforting thought for those whose daily commute sometimes includes deep snow and heavy rain. The Tribeca's unique boxer engine design lowers the vehicle's center of gravity and improves vehicle stability, and the Tribeca rates well in the government's front- and side-impact crash tests. Finally, the Tribeca's roomy interior coddles its passengers and stimulates its driver with loads of features, although the same enthusiasm is harder to generate when it comes to the Tribeca's exterior styling.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're a Subaru devotee whose family is too large for an Outback or Forester, the Tribeca is the logical choice. First-time Subaru buyers will find the Tribeca's good fuel economy, strong resale value and proven reliability very inviting.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need room for seven adults, the Tribeca's child-sized third-row seat falls short. Those who don't need all-wheel drive can save money by shopping one of the Tribeca's less-expensive front-wheel-drive competitors.

What's New for 2010

For 2010, the five-passenger model is dropped from the lineup, while heated seats and a new rear air conditioning unit are made standard on all models. Limited and Touring trims receive a new 385-watt harman/kardon 10-speaker audio system, with Touring trims additionally receiving HID headlamps, a power moonroof, a rear backup camera and seven-spoke alloy wheels.

Driving It Driving Impressions

A few minutes behind the wheel and it's evident the Tribeca is not your run-of-the-mill SUV. The handling is responsive and the steering firm and linear. Driving into sharp curves yields some reasonable and expected body lean, but nothing that's surprising or uncomfortable. The all-wheel-drive system splits power in a 45/55 proportion that favors the rear wheels. In the event of tire slippage, power is immediately transferred to the wheels with better traction, helping the driver to maintain control. The new 3.6-liter engine delivers good performance, while improved shift points programmed into the automatic transmission lessen the number of gear changes required when climbing hills or moving through varying traffic.

Favorite Features

Rear Vision Camera
This optional feature allows the driver to see objects down low and directly behind the vehicle. It's available only on the Limited trim.

Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC)
This safety feature works in conjunction with the all-wheel drive to help the driver maintain control. VDC senses the direction the driver intends to go and uses selective braking and engine power reduction to help maintain control.

Vehicle Details Interior   photo

Excellent fit and finish, appealing materials and an uncommon dash design are the hallmarks of the 2010 Subaru Tribeca interior. The wave-shaped dashboard visually delights, but its severe curve places some radio and heating controls at odd angles from the driver. Digital readouts for the fuel, temperature and information screens look attractive, but can fade when viewed through polarized sunglasses. Convenient tilt-and-slide second-row seat controls allow for easy access to the third row. We applaud the ample distribution of cup holders and wide front seating, which also have adjustable lumbar support for both the driver and passenger. Useful features include in auxiliary audio input jack and optional GPS navigation and rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Exterior   photo

The original Tribeca's face was unique, if not beautiful. A quick refresh brought about a more palatable, if somewhat generic, front end. The 2010 Subaru Tribeca's grille features horizontal slats below the familiar Subaru star cluster badge, flanked by large headlamps and front fenders that impart a strong road presence. Large side-view mirrors and rear windows, along with narrow D-pillars help with visibility. Around back, the Tribeca touts large, easily visible taillights and a sporty rear valance. A taut rear suspension carries over for 2010, helping to improve handling while yielding an impressive 8.4-inches of ground clearance.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2010 Subaru Tribeca features a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine, five-speed automatic with SPORTSHIFT manual gear change function, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) with traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), 18-inch alloy wheels, front side-impact and side-curtain airbags for the first and second row seats, tire pressure monitoring system, rear defroster, heated side mirrors, eight-way power driver's seat, four-way power passenger's seat, heated front seats, power windows, power door locks, 100-watt stereo with single-disc CD player with MP3 compatibility, cruise control, cloth seating, driver and passenger manual lumbar support, dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt steering wheel, seven passenger seating and a rear window wiper.

Notable Optional Equipment

Options on the 2010 Subaru Tribeca include XM or Sirius Satellite Radio, Reverse Assist Sensors, auto-dimming mirror and remote start. Upgrading to the Limited trim adds leather seating, two-position driver memory, power glass moonroof, HomeLink remote control system and 10-speaker harmon/kardon audio. Options for the Limited and Touring trims include GPS navigation, rear-vision camera and rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Under the Hood

The Tribeca's 3.6-liter boxer engine produces 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, which is more than sufficient to move such a heavy vehicle while returning surprisingly good fuel economy.


3.6-liter Boxer-6
256 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
247 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21

Pricing Notes

The 2010 Subaru Tribeca 3.6R Premium has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $31,000, while the Limited starts closer to $34,000 and a fully-loaded Touring tops out around $40,000. To make your best deal, be sure to look at the Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area have paid for their vehicles. Now in its fourth year of production, the Tribeca continues to hold strong resale values, just below the Honda Pilot and GMC Acadia, on par with the Ford Flex and Toyota 4Runner, and better than the Ford Explorer and Hyundai Santa Fe.

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