The powertrain in the 2014 Subaru Tribeca is tried-and-true: a 256-horsepower, 3.6-liter flat-six engine and five-speed automatic transmission. Altogether, with symmetrical all-wheel drive sending torque sent to all four wheels, the Tribeca delivers performance that's confident and respectable, yet not quite up to par with the rest of this class—if you compare to rival models with available V-6 engines or turbo fours and six-speed automatics.
That aside, the Tribeca is a responsive, agreeable vehicle, and compared to other taller crossovers it simply handles better—as if it were lower and leaner. That's due in part to the lower center of mass afforded by Subaru's horizontally opposed (flat) engines, and because the suspension doesn't allow a lot of excess body motion. But its steering is also better than the current norm for crossovers.
There's just enough of a nod to ruggedness in the Tribeca. Thanks to standard all-wheel drive and 8.4 inches of ground clearance, muddy trails or deep winter snowfalls should be no problem.