By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.4
While it's true there are dozens of 7-passenger vehicles on the market, you won't find many that offer as advanced an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system as the 2013 Subaru Tribeca. Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is a proven system loved by those whose daily drive is often accompanied by snow, rain or even dry curving roads. Subaru's novel boxer-engine design is the primary reason for the Tribeca's adept handling. The boxer engine sits lower than a standard-size V6 or inline engine, helping to reduce the vehicle's center of gravity and improving its overall stability. Inside, the Tribeca provides room for seven, but its aging platform doesn't offer the same advanced electronic audio, infotainment or telematics as many newer competitors.
If you've been a longtime member of the Subaru family, but your own brood has outgrown your 5-passenger sedan or wagon, the 2013 Tribeca SUV is the answer. Decent fuel economy and good resale should help lessen the sting of the Tribeca's $35,000 price tag.
Those looking for the latest in audio and infotainment systems will find the Tribeca woefully inadequate. It should also be noted that despite is strong safety ratings, the Tribeca's side-curtain airbags do not extend to protect the third-row passengers.
For 2013, the Subaru Tribeca is offered only in Limited trim, and a new brake override system is added this year. The system cuts engine power when both the brake and accelerator are depressed at the same time.
Driving Impressions A few minutes behind the wheel and it becomes evident that Subaru's 2013 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 AWD 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.
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.
Excellent fit and finish, appealing materials and an uncommon dash design are the hallmarks of the 2013 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 2013 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.
The Subaru Tribeca for 2013 is offered in only one trim: Limited. It includes a 3.6-liter 6-cylinder engine, 5-speed automatic with SportShift manual function, Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), 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, leather seating, remote keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear-cabin air conditioning, privacy glass, 10-speaker harman/kardon audio, Bluetooth and satellite radio.
Upgrades available on the 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. Subaru dealers also offer a large selection of accessories, from cargo carriers to a remote-start system.
The Subaru Tribeca for 2013 offers a single drivetrain combo, that being 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 AWD 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.
256 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
247 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21 mpg
By Charlie on Friday, August 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Excellent value and dependability"
Cons: "Could use a couple of more horses under the hood"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"My summary tells it all. My brother has owned several Subaru vehicles and has great luck with them. This was our first and I have to agree, this car lived up to every expectation."
5 people out of 9 found this review helpful
By Subaru Lover on Thursday, July 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 143,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun, Safe, Fast, Powerful, Low Maintenance cost"
Cons: "Wipers, Relays and other parts only @ Dealer"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"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!"
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Wahhabi on Sunday, May 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
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."
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By glamou3209 on Sunday, May 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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
By Flqueenbee on Friday, May 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 124,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
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 10 found this review helpful
By Eric on Thursday, April 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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