This 7-passenger SUV may have trouble keeping its head above water in the sea of competition, but its standard AWD, clean exterior lines and style-forward cockpit design make it an attractive choice in an increasingly crowded segment. Aside from the cosmetic details, there’s just no denying Subaru’s legendary safety record. It’s worth wading through the abundance of mid-size SUVs in order to check out this solid piece of engineering.
Standards are rather generous in this model: heated mirrors with turn signal lights, heated power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support on both sides, dual-zone climate control, and a 6-speaker stereo system with MP3 compatibility.
Changes for 2012
The only change for the Tribeca in the 2012 model year was a slightly modified head support.
What We Like
The attractive fit and finish are appealing, as is the A/C in the rear cabin and the superior handling. The center row of seats is adjustable, allowing for a bit of added legroom in the back. When all the seats are folded down there’s a hefty 74 cubic feet of cargo area. The low center of gravity – despite 8+ inches of ground clearance – gives the Tribeca a confident road feel and sturdy presence. We also appreciate that the base model comes with an expansive host of accoutrements.
What Concerns Us
The third row of seating is pretty much limited to smallish children and is awkward to climb into. The wavy dash design, while visually fascinating, places some of the controls at a slightly awkward angle for the driver. There is no option for a telescoping steering wheel, making it slightly inconvenient for those drivers who are unusually short or tall.
Level up to the Limited and you’ll get Bluetooth and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. The Touring offers additions like a moon roof and backup camera.
One engine is offered in all three trims of the 2012 Subaru Tribeca: 3.6L 6-cylinder 5-speed automatic.
In February of 2013 a recall was issued on versions of the Tribeca equipped with puddle lights underneath the doors. Moisture may enter the housing of these lights, causing a short in the circuit board which has the potential to produce heat that could melt surrounding areas or start a fire. The company notified owners of affected vehicles and stated that they would repair the issue free of charge.
There are no consistently reported complaints on this model.