The Subaru Tribeca is a four-door, car-based crossover which competes with midsized SUVs and crossovers. The 2013 Subaru Tribeca is only available in a 3.6R Limited trim. All-wheel drive comes standard. Good all-weather handling, a small footprint, and standard up-scale features are the main reasons buyers keep the Tribeca on their list.
New For 2013
Subaru has all but forgotten the Tribeca. The only change is a standard brake-override system. Last year saw a new design for the head restraints. It seems as if the Tribeca has been put out to pasture.
The 2013 Subaru Tribeca looks like a Subaru but with a slightly higher roof-line. The details are comely. The design, while not especially inspired, certainly won’t offend. If design language were an ice cream flavor, the 2013 Tribeca would be vanilla. Not French Vanilla, not Vanilla Bean, not even Vanilla Cream: just plain-old Vanilla. The most outrageous available color is a sedated Venetian Red Pearl. However, what the Tribeca lacks in wow-factor design, it makes up for in its simplicity when buying a vehicle. The vehicle is only available in one trim (3.6R Limited), and three equipment packages. Tribeca buyers can option, purchase, and drive away in less time than it takes to review the competition’s optional packages and trim configurations. In typical Subaru fashion, everything on the Tribeca is well thought out, with nothing superfluous tacked-on. Consistently ranked as the top ice cream flavor, perhaps vanilla isn’t so bad.
Respectable 18-inch alloy wheels come with every 2013 Tribeca. Raised roof-rails that can carry up to 150 pounds and a moonroof are available as options. Standard foglights and daytime-running lights improve visibility. Available dealer added accessories include everything from kayak carriers to LED puddle lights.
The Tribeca offers excellent front and side outward-visibility. The roofline slopes down toward the back, somewhat compromising visibility out the rear-side and liftgate windows. Standard body-colored side mirrors which are powered and heated come in handy. The Tribeca’s smaller footprint makes it much easier to drive in traffic and park than in some competitor vehicles.
Interior & Cargo
The 2013 Subaru Tribeca offers a handsome cabin with a premium look and feel. Ambient lighting helps the Tribeca feel more upscale. The vehicle contains quality materials which are sleekly arranged, but an over use of matte-metallic material distracts from the otherwise distinctively designed interior. A large central screen, embedded where the dash and center console merge, provides access to standard climate and audio controls. The screen also provides access to optional navigation-system controls. Overall, interior contours rob front-occupants of space which makes the Tribeca feel cramped. However, materials like the standard leather-trim help the Subaru retain a swankier feeling than do its competitors’ standard interiors.
Interior options can be had in three different packages: Moonroof; Moonroof + Navigation System; and Moonroof + Navigation System + Rear Seat Entertainment System (RSES). Each package adds to the lower package. The packages pretty-much include what they list. A rear-view camera comes in each package which is a nice touch. Wireless headphones and a wireless remote come along in the RSES package, as do auxiliary plugs for nearly all common game-systems. The standard eight-way power driver's seat and four-way power front-passenger's seat are available in traditional Desert Beige or Slate Grey leather colors.
While the Tribeca boasts a third row seat, the seating is best left to children old enough to fasten their own safety belts, but still young enough to fall short of some amusement park height-requirements. Third-row seating entry and egress are relatively good, but parents will find leaning in to fasten safety belts a challenge. Second row seating can also feel cramped for some adults, and a rear-facing infant seat can be snug when both front-seats are positioned back fully. Fortunately, cargo room with the seats folded is slightly more liberal. The Tribeca supplies 8.3-cubic feet behind the third-row seat and 37.6-cubic feet with the third-row seat folded. Folding down both third and second row seats yields 74.4-cubic feet of total cargo area. Not quite enough for that kayak, but fortunately Subaru offers a place for that up top. Compared to competitors’ crossovers, the Tribeca offers a smaller vehicle along with less space.
It seems that the 2013 Subaru Tribeca comes equipped with more standard safety features than some competitor’s have for optional interior features. The 2013 Tribeca stands as one of the safest picks among crossovers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded it a Top Safety Pick. Standard symmetrical all-wheel drive, traction control, and a ring-shaped reinforced-frame supply the foundation for the Tribeca’s safety rating. The optional rear-view camera will help driveway visibility when reversing. The Tribeca’s protect passengers with six-airbags. However, third-row passengers lack airbag protection. Given the likelihood that rear-most occupants will be older children and younger tweens, this may be an unfortunate absence.
A few other standard safety features worth mentioning are Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and a brake-override system. EBD optimizes the distribution of braking force between the front and rear wheels according to how the vehicle is loaded with passengers and cargo. This helps bring the Tribeca to a stop more quickly. The brake-override system automatically reduces engine power when the accelerator and brake pedals are simultaneously pressed. Brake-override mitigates unintended acceleration and prevents extended stopping distances.
So far as the overall driving experience goes, the 2013 Subaru Tribeca has a few advantages over its competition. The Tribeca has a smaller footprint, standard independent front and rear suspensions, and Subaru’s traction-elevating all-wheel drive. All of these factors help the Tribeca drive like a leaner, lower vehicle when cornering. The steering is tighter than most, and the all-wheel drive splits the power (45-percent front and 55-percent rear) under normal circumstances, but redistributes power as needed for driving and road conditions. Also, the Tribeca's highway ride is smoother and the cabin remains quieter than other crossovers.
The 2013 Subaru Tribeca is powered by a 3.6-liter, horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine producing 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission with sport and manual shift modes is standard. This engine matches the Tribeca’s size and weight just as well as competitor engines match their respective vehicles. A smaller vehicle matched with an engine producing less power should make for better fuel economy. Not so in the Tribeca. The 2013 Tribeca delivers EPA rated 16/21 mpg city/highway fuel economy. That’s not much better than the 2013 all-wheel drive Traverse’s V-6, and lower than the all-wheel drive 2013 Pilot’s six-cylinder.
The 2013 Tribeca can tow from 2000 pounds up to 3500 pounds, depending on what accessories are added. A dealer installed towing package, which includes coolant and brake system upgrades, is required to achieve the 3500-pound tow rating. The engine can become noisy when towing, but the split-power all-wheel drive adds torque when needed better than other all-wheel-drive systems.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Subaru Tribeca
- Chevrolet Traverse
- Dodge Durango
- Honda Pilot
- Mazda CX-9