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2012 Subaru Tribeca

Overview
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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.
Favorite Features

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 190 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

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."

2 people out of 4 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

Really Nice, but Not Up to Current Technology

By on Saturday, March 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Nice Car, Quiet, Ran Well"

Cons: "Too small"

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

"This is a super car, but I noticed one glaring omission from the amenities - the ability to use flash drives or smart phones through the entertainment system. Big missing, in my opinion. The finish on the interior of the car is good, but not great. There were a couple of trim items that came loose and that were a little sloppy. The leg room for the third row was non-existent. Not sure how you would fit anything but a small child back there."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

great car-gas mileage could be better

By on Monday, January 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 133,334

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great in all road conditions"

Cons: "poor gas milage"

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

"I have enjoyed driving this car for 5 years with no mechanical issues. It drives like a champ through all kinds of weather and road conditions. The interior is luxurious. The only draw back is the gas milage-average 18 mpg. With high gas prices in NY this is the only draw back."

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Not happy

By on Sunday, December 01, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 121,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Comfy, great AWD"

Cons: "Mechanical quality/reliability questionable"

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

"Bought this in 2010 when it was two years old. Loved it till 2011 when, just after the 3 year warranty ran out,the nav unit died. Was told by the dealer it would be $1000 to replace. Found out this was common problem. A month ago the transmission died. Dealer said 5 grand for a rebuilt tranny. Found this transmission has had a lot of documented problems as well. Oil cooler gasket wears out on most of these which causes you to steadily leak motor oil till you replace it (after two years?? come on Subaru) This is one of the most comfortable cars we have owned. The AWD works great. The bells and whistles are great(when they work)Gas mileage is terrible. Overall I don't think this vehicle is worth the price they are asking for it, especially considering the serious reliability issues which can be found with a little research. As someone else said this is a high maintenance vehicle."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

More cons than pros.

By on Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Wanted upgrade.

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Just okay."

Cons: "Cramped back seats, small gas tank, touch screen."

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

"Bought this vehicle new, had to take in twice for service because of engine jerking when going from 2nd to 3rd gear. Interior is decent looking, but very cramped back seats, never should offer with a 3rd row. Touch screen is ok, but hard to see the screen when it's sunny out. Feel like we had to fill the gas tank constantly, only a 15 gallon tank. Gas mileage is pretty weak. Drives pretty smoothly and decent acceleration."

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