Like all Subaru models, the 2012 Tribeca comes standard with all-wheel drive. And its six-cylinder engine is a horizontally opposed "boxer" design, lowering the center of gravity and giving the Tribeca the same good roadholding as its vastly more popular Outback sibling. The 3.6-liter flat six produces 256 horsepower, and performs respectably mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The engine likes to rev, and the transmission is tuned for smooth shifts, so while the Tribeca hardly outperforms punchier six-cylinder rivals like the Nissan Murano or Ford Edge, it's engaging to drive.
Push the Tribeca into a corner at speed, and you'll find the body is well controlled and the steering provides more feedback than many of its competitors. It also offers 8.4 inches of ground clearance, making it well suited to suburban family hauling duties on muddy soccer fields or perhaps rural gravel roads. It's hardly an off-roader, but it should provide good all-weather performance.