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STYLING | 7 out of 10
it's a pity that the exterior doesn't work as well as it looks
The dash styling is a bit heavy on silver-colored trim, but at least it doesn't look cheap.
there are still some things that just seem out of proportion
When it was originally introduced, the Tribeca offered a far swoopier, edgier, and more flamboyant design (and was larger than the Outback), but for 2008 the Tribeca was given a plain-Jane refresh that effectively made it more anonymous on the outside while keeping its curvy, once-futuristic cockpit. With a larger Outback bowing a couple of years ago, both models are now about the same size.
The existing Tribeca design impresses as smooth and decent-looking yet carefully calculated so as not to offend anyone. Especially from the front, its styling is generic to the point of invisibility. It wasn't also so; when the Tribeca was launched for 2006, it had a "winged" grille design on its front snout that was said to have been inspired by Subaru's aircraft history, as well as a curvier (and memorable and well-integrated) front-end design. Some panned the styling, and sales were slow; so for 2008 the exterior was given its present look.
The interior makes more of a impression, for better or for worse. It's a little dated, with its space-robbing contours and overuse of matte-metallic surfaces. Like the rest of the Tribeca, that look is now somewhat dated. The details of the design are handsome, with extensive ambient lighting adding a touch of sophistication. Still, many may feel that there's just too much matte-metallic plastic.
The 2013 Subaru Tribeca is rather anonymous, but its distinctly different interior will polarize.