Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • Midsize SUV Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs
  • Compact SUV Buyer's Guide
  • 15 Best Family Cars of 2015
Go

2012 Subaru Tribeca

Overview
Share this page
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Subaru Tribeca Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 6.5

With a number of 7-passenger SUVs on the market, what's so special about the 2012 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 snow, rain or even dry, curvy roads. Subaru's unusual 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. The Tribeca's roomy interior coddles its passengers and stimulates its driver with loads of features. And while the same enthusiasm is harder to generate for the styling of this largest Subaru ever, it's pleasantly attractive, thanks to rhinoplasty in 2008 to address the snout with which it came to market.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're a Subaru devotee whose family is too large for an Outback or Forester, the 7-passenger Tribeca is the logical choice. First-time Subaru buyers will find the Tribeca's good fuel economy, confident handling, strong resale 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 seating falls short, and the Tribeca's side-curtain airbags do not extend to protect the third-row passengers.

What's New for 2012

Other than a revised head-restraint design, the Subaru Tribeca sees no major changes for 2012.

Driving the Tribeca

Driving Impressions A few minutes behind the wheel and it becomes 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 mild body lean, but overall it's evident that the low center of gravity of its unique drivetrain enhances stability and confidence. The all-wheel-drive system splits power in a 45/55 proportion that favors the rear wheels. If a tire loses grip, power is immediately transferred to the wheels with a better handle on the situation. The 3.6-liter "boxer" engine delivers good performance, while improved shift points programmed into the automatic transmission result in less gear-changing when climbing hills or moving through varying traffic.

Split/reclining/folding 2nd-row seats
Beyond the expected 60/40-split tumbling feature, the second-row seatbacks fold down individually in a 40/20/40 configuration, allowing the narrow middle section to make way for skis or divide a pair of arguing kids. In addition, the seats slide fore-aft nearly eight inches, and the seatbacks recline, making this one of the most versatile seats in its class.

Dual-zone climate control and rear-cabin a/c
While abundant safety features are a given in a Subaru, the Tribeca's generous luxury exceeds any Subaru to date. Dual-zone climate control for the front cabin features air filtration, while a separate system for the back rows helps make almost any seat in the house an agreeable one.

2012 Subaru Tribeca Details
Interior

Excellent fit and finish, appealing materials and an uncommon dash design are the hallmarks of the 2012 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 fuel economy, temperature and information are housed in a large, recessed binnacle properly set at eye level. Convenient tilt-and-slide second-row seats combine flexible comfort with easy third-row access. We applaud the ample distribution of cup holders and wide front seats, which also feature adjustable lumbar support for both driver and passenger. Useful features include an auxiliary audio input jack, as well as optional GPS navigation, rearview camera and second-row DVD entertainment system.

Exterior

The original 2006 Tribeca's face was unique, if not beautiful. A quick refresh in 2008 brought about the more palatable, if somewhat generic, front end it wears today. The 2012 Subaru Tribeca's grille features horizontal slats below the familiar Subaru star-cluster badge flanked by large headlights and front fenders that impart a strong road presence. Large side mirrors and windows, along with narrow roof pillars, help with outward vision. Around back, the Tribeca touts wraparound taillights and a sporty rear valance under its large liftgate. Standard 18-inch alloy wheels, a taut rear suspension and an impressive 8.4 inches of ground clearance lend it a confident stance that its handling backs up.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The entry Tribeca 3.6R Premium features a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine, 5-speed automatic with SportShift manual function, Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, 18-inch alloy wheels, front side-impact airbags, side-curtain airbags for the first and second rows, heated power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, heated power front seats (8-way driver/4-way passenger) with lumbar adjusters, 60/40-split/reclining/sliding second-row seats, 50/50-split third-row seats, four power windows, remote keyless entry, 6-speaker stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear-cabin air conditioning and privacy glass. The 3.6R Limited adds leather, 10-speaker harman/kardon audio, Bluetooth and satellite radio. The top Touring trim adds xenon headlights, moonroof and a rearview camera.

Optional Equipment

In typical Subaru fashion, the entry-level trim, Tribeca 3.6R Premium, offers nearly no options, but it's well-equipped to begin with. Upgrades available on the midline 3.6R Limited include a moonroof package with a rearview camera (the latter is also available by itself), a touch-screen navigation system, and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. With the moonroof package standard on the top-level 3.6R Touring, its only options are the navigation and rear-seat entertainment. Subaru dealers also offer a large selection of accessories, from cargo carriers to a remote-start system.

Under the Hood

Subaru offers a single drivetrain combo in the Tribeca, a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder boxer engine producing 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque, and symmetrical all-wheel drive. With its low profile and naturally balanced design, in which the pistons lay flat in a horizontally opposed configuration, the boxer engine and all-wheel drive provide a confident feeling of stability even when taking corners, unusual for a 7-seater SUV. Power is more than sufficient for such a heavy vehicle, while fuel economy is surprisingly good.


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

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Subaru Tribeca Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 205 Ratings for the 2006 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Love my Tribeca!

By on Thursday, May 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handles great"

Cons: "Gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Drives awesome....just love this car. Handles like a dream in the snow. Only downs side is the gas mileage."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Had higher expectations of Subaru

By on Monday, May 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "comfort in safety ratings, ran great first few"

Cons: "expensive faults, constant issue"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Seems to be one problem after the other. I bought car new in 2007 and initially, there were no problems. After 5 years, I'm having a more active relationship with the service personnel at Subaru than anyone. Problems range from $6 - $600 a pop - you name it, something's happening - AC, engine, radiator, lights, etc This is my first subaru and although they tend to get very high safety ratings, if this is a representation of the reliability, i'm not impressed. I don't know if it's the make or the model but I think i'll be getting out of it shortly."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

The best car I have ever owned.

By on Saturday, May 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 180,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Very reliable and great to drive."

Cons: "No connector for my iPod. Due to age of car."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car has been a dream for me. I purchased it new in 2006. It currently has 180,000 miles and still runs great. I have never had any major repairs needed. Just the regular yearly maintenance and replacement parts. I drive 80 miles each day to work and put about 25,000 miles per year on my cars. I have purchased 2 other new cars over the years (Chrysler). Both of these cars had to be traded in and only made it to the 165,000 mile mark. My Subaru is still going strong. I am hoping it will last another 100,000. Fingers crossed. I love not having any car payments and I love my Tribeca!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I ever owned.

By on Thursday, April 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great price, reliable, roomy, great cabin space."

Cons: "The third seat area cramped."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have never had a mechanical problem with this vehicle. Nothing, nada, it just goes and goes. But I also did all of the recommended vehicle maintenance in the book. The DVD player is still in excellent condition as is the sound system. Excelleont in ice and snow and being from North Dakota that is a must. I would buy another one."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

rid yourself of this after 60000 miles QUICK!!!

By on Sunday, March 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 133,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "good as a 2 or 3 yr lease only"

Cons: "pricey repairs like BMW, not a reliable SUV"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"This car started of great as a 1 yr old lease turn in. obtained an extended 100k warranty and put it to full use after 55k. Extensive nickle dime issues with cooling system, steering, brakes and belts and little leaks. after 100k we ended up putting over $8,000.00 over 3 yrs into repairs through dlrship to keep it road worthy. Even so, the engine blew due to overheating caused by dealer workmanship. dlr placed new engine for free then 8 months ltr tranny blew. dlr wanted $5800.00 for repairs or recommended we get RID of our TRIBECA! We got rid of it and the "REPUTABLE Dealership" in San Diego. Not the SUBARU name all speak of!"

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Great car! Seats seven people. All wheel drive!

By on Friday, February 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable and fun to drive."

Cons: "Headlights are difficult to change."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This has been a great family car for us. It is safe and reliable. The all wheel drive makes it excellent for driving in the snow."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?