Shopping for a new Subaru Tribeca?
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We at FamilyCarGuide like the Tribeca for its comfortable seating (the first two rows of it, at least) and its surefooted, responsive handling. It's also sized just right for families who occasionally need a third row but might not have quite as much garage space. Altogether this earns it an 8 out of 10 on the FamilyCarGuide scale, with tight front legroom and that especially tight third row the only sore points.
Actually, you can access a little more space for the third row, if you're willing to sacrifice some legroom in the second row. The second-row bench slides fore and aft a few inches, so when the third row isn't being used and it's scooted back all the way, it's almost limo-like. Unfortunately, the front seat accommodations are a bit disappointing; it's mainly let down by the odd curvature of the instrument panel, which really cuts into front legroom (the seats don't go back as far as they could either), and it might be hard for some shorter drivers to get positioned as the steering wheel doesn't telescope.
Gas mileage isn't particularly good for this class, but performance is strong. The 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter horizontally opposed ('flat') six-cylinder engine moves the Tribeca quickly enough for almost any parent in a hurry. All the while, Subaru's standard all-wheel drive system not only helps with slippery roads and snow traction, but also stability in the corners. With 8.4 inches of ground clearance overall, it's not designed for rigorous rock-scrambling, but it will do just fine on a muddy path or in deep snow.
Safety has been a strength in the Tribeca; it's been named an IIHS Top Safety Pick. Visibility isn't great, especially for shorter drivers, so we'd recommend the rearview camera. And while the Tribeca is now a dated design, Subaru has done a pretty good job keeping its feature set up to date, with top Limited models including standard Bluetooth; rear climate controls and a ten-speaker, 385-watt sound system are also on offer.
For more, please see the full review of the 2011 Subaru Tribeca over at The Car Connection.