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2012 Subaru Tribeca

Overview
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2012 Subaru Tribeca Review

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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

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2012 Subaru Tribeca Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.7
Out of 10

Based on 194 Ratings for the 2006 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

My Fast and Safe Minivan Substitute

By on Thursday, July 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 143,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun, Safe, Fast, Powerful, Low Maintenance cost"

Cons: "Wipers, Relays and other parts only @ Dealer"

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

Love the Dashboard

"I have owned this car since 2010. It has needed nothing but oil changes, and New brakes. My friends always comment when getting into my car and how awesome it looks after being almost 10 years old. They would love to have my car, but Nissan's are "more affordable" they say. Every time I bring it to get the oil changed or to get it cleaned, I always get the compliment of that's a nice car. I will say that the one draw back to my car is that many of the items you do have to buy from the dealer. Windshield Wiper blades will run you $50 (you cannot buy at other stores) but they last almost 8 months to a year every time. If you need to repair something, it almost always has to come from a dealer (even if you go through another vendor), but I think it's probably the same with many other Subaru things. The things I Love! It has plenty of space, and after my husband drives our other car, he gets in mine and loves the way it just wants to take off. After owning my first Subaru and having to trade it in for a Grand Am (to lower monthly bills) I had nothing but regrets. I love the fact that I can pull over a snow mounded into a parking space in the city and still get out, without having to shovel. I always prefer to take my car with the kids in it, because even with this last winter we had, I never once had a loss of control. I know that many of the same vehicles get much worse on gas milage, but it really has everything to do with maintenance. The person that owned my car before me, had the 75,000 mile inspection and had every oil change documented. Currently my car with 143,000 still gets between 18 and 22 miles/gallon. I have a roof rack installed and use it for trips, I never had the hitch installed, but have been told my my mechanic that "it could pull a house" (limit of 3000lbs). I have never installed any hitch because I know that it is pretty hard on a vehicle. My husband has brought up me getting a new vehicle several times (because soon enough he feels age is going to catch up). I have gone car looking 2 times, and nothing has compared. Walked out of the dealership, happy to be in my own car again. Only thing I wish I would have in my car is the 3rd Row and entertainment system. But I will know better when I have to buy my next Tribeca, although this one shows no signs of giving up any times soon! The only thing I am interested in getting after this vehicle, is another one exactly like it!"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Love the Dashboard

A good choice for an all wheel drive

By on Sunday, May 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Subaru is a good choice"

Cons: "Hard to do work on if you like to do it yourself"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought used with 40000 miles. Have driven daily. Very good in snow and rain. Has a lot of room inside and with added tow hitch and roof rack can carry lots of gear or kayaks. Only negative is leather (pleather) seats."

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

I love this Subaru

By on Sunday, May 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,300

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: "Absolutely wonderful, safe and distinctive looking"

Cons: "No cons at all."

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

"I bought this Subaru used, at one year old. I've been T-boned in this car. While you never want to have your nice car messed up in an accident, this is the car to be in if you're ever in an accident. I was so impressed with how it held up in the accident. I've been rear ended twice since. It's like being in a tank. The doors close like bank vaults. I now have over 100,000 miles on this car and all that I've ever replaced is one CV drive axle (due to a leaking boot) and numerous light bulbs. I absolutely love this car and would buy another one in an instant. I like the distinctive styling of the older models, not the Chrysler- like look of the new ones."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Not what I had hoped for in a Subaru.

By on Friday, May 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 124,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Cons: "Has great pick up in a tight spot."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"First I did not do my research and this car uses premium gas. So even though the mileage is fair it cost a lot for gas. Previous Subaru's I owned ran on regular. I had to replace the headlight 3 times. The dealership said that how long the head lights lasted would depend on the quality of the lamps. The dealership had replaced the lamps. Replaced the struts that hold up the back gate. Replaced 3 out of 4 door locks, that failed and been replaced. By 100,000 miles had to replace the evaporator for the air-conditioner. Made out of aluminium and supposedly does not hold up in Florida's conditions; we live ten miles from the beach. Replaced the front CV joints. The cabin air filter has to be replaced frequently, and one can count on buying new widow wipers every year. The utility plug in the back of the car for games to plug into has failed. The headsets to watch videos were flimsy at best, did not last long with kids using the headsets. With this vehicle one must replace all four tires at one time or it will cause damage to the transmission. I would not buy another tri-beca and looking to trade mine. This is Subaru's high dollar car. Needless to say I am very disappointed. Yes the engine and transmission have held up and I have kept up the service."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Solid feel with excellent road manners

By on Thursday, April 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Smooth, comfortable, competent in all weather"

Cons: "Rear leg room"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Purchased this as a used car and have very pleased. Gas mileage could be better especially when compared with other somewhat smaller Subarus but on a par with other mid sized SUVs from 2008."

5 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Nice, dependable car. Perfect size inside and out.

By on Monday, March 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good handling, roomy inside and cargo space"

Cons: "headlights, rattles, gas milage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Nice, dependable car. Great handling on road and in snow. Overall quality could be better. Underside starts to rattle after about 30000 miles. Dealer could not find a fix. (I tried out one with 30000+ miles and it sounded the same). My biggest complaint is the headlights. On dim they have a distinct line of light to dark. The light bobs up and down with the car. I don't feel like the visablilty is good. The best part is the size of the interior. You have plenty of room front and back and nice cargo space. Would like to see Subaru like this with better gas mileage, lift gate and a luxury package."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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