2007 Subaru Tribeca


2007 Subaru Tribeca Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2007 Subaru Tribeca was new.


Performance: 7.2

Reviewers generally agree that the 2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca has proven itself as a decent performer, earning particular praise for in-town driving, but they still feel the engine is lagging. Edmunds explains, "The 3.0-liter flat-six is merely adequate in terms of power, and that's just with the driver aboard. Adding a full load of family members taxes the engine, which becomes noisy and rough."

Acceleration and Power

The 2007 Subaru B9 Tribeca is equipped with a 245-horsepower 3.0-liter DOHC Subaru boxer engine (215 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm) for all trims and a five-speed automatic transmission with SPORTSHIFT manual control. All-wheel drive is standard on all Subarus, which sets them apart in their classes. According to the EPA, gas mileage for the Tribeca is estimated at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway, prompting the Orlando Sentinel to claim that (for the tested seven-passenger AWD), it's "not that bad."

Most reviewers approve of the boxer engine, but a few question its power. As The Family Car explains, although the engine was "quiet and refined, there were times I felt that the 4,200 pound vehicle could have used a little more power." In NewCars.com's comparison tests, the Tribeca falls short: "Torque is force that lets you accelerate quickly, and in this respect, the average midsize SUV is quite a bit more powerful than the Subaru B9 Tribeca."

The majority of reviewers, however, like the engine's abilities. The Sacramento Bee claims that it's "surprisingly muscular for a 250 hp SUV topping 4,200 pounds," and the Orlando Sentinel also gives the engine a thumbs up, explaining that "it's a great engine with plenty of power -- except at idle, perhaps -- as smooth as any V6." In regards to the transmission, MSN notices that "the engine works with a 5-speed automatic transmission, which upshifts smoothly but is a little slow to downshift," and The Auto Channel also calls it "slow-shifting," while Motor Week calls the transmission "quick" and "smooth."

Handling and Braking

Most reviews praise the Tribeca's handling. About.com explains that "what will ultimately make it succeed is this automobile's engineering excellence, its build quality and its superb handling," and Forbes refers to the handling as "decent." CNET also adds that "steering response and handling on the all-wheel-drive Tribeca are far better than that of many other similar-size SUVs we've driven."

The Tribeca has a performance-tuned four-wheel independent raised suspension. MSN finds that the "suspension and compact engine that sits low help keep the center of gravity low for good handling," and The Family Car adds that "...the revised independent suspension improves ride comfort and handling and the power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering provides a fair amount of feedback from the road."

Many reviewers enjoy the Tribeca's smooth ride (particularly for in-town driving), but some are divided on its capabilities on rougher roads. As Car and Driver explains, the Tribeca "has fine driving manners with smooth power and nimble handling," and the Los Angeles Times applauds the overall ride, claiming that "the vehicle has an agile, level, well-planted feel when driven hard; turn-in is crisp and the steering is direct and communicative."

Out of town, the driving experience changed for some, and the Tribeca's capabilities on rough roads and acceleration became an issue. As MSN explains, "it provides lively in-town acceleration, but average acceleration above 60 mph. It's quiet during highway cruising, but sounds strained when asked to work hard." And About.com explains that "the combination of low torque and maybe one too few gears conspire to make it feel sluggish on hilly roads." Consumer Guide's tests (for the Limited seven-passenger) also showed that the acceleration "feels strained in highway passing or uphill climbs" and that there is noticeable "choppiness over rough surfaces."

All-Wheel Drive

Subaru's well-known symmetrical all-wheel drive is standard on all their vehicles, which makes the Tribeca a capable and reliable ride in inclement weather. According to Subaru, the all-wheel drive system allows the engine to send power to all four wheels for enhanced performance and traction. Reviewers are unanimous in praising the system. The Auto Channel sums up the majority view, saying that this "fabulous system...will keep you moving no matter how inhospitable the road surface becomes."

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