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2009 Subaru Tribeca Review

Though auto reviewers praised the 2009 Subaru Tribeca's powerful, responsive ride and excellent performance in crash tests, some wondered if it offers enough to distinguish itself from the competition.

Pros & Cons

  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Well-made cabin
  • Great safety scores
  • Cramped available third row

Rankings & Research

The 2009 Subaru Tribeca's #18 ranking is based on its score within the 2009 Affordable Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Subaru Tribeca has a score of 7.9 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 93 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.9
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 7.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Subaru Tribeca Overview

When it was new, reviewers said the 2009 Subaru Tribeca was a pretty good crossover. They said it has a comfortable ride, plenty of power, lots of family-friendly features and is well-made.

The 2009 Subaru Tribeca comes in base, Special Edition and Limited trims. All models feature a 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine and standard all-wheel drive. The Tribeca’s standard all-wheel drive should please shoppers looking for a sure-footed vehicle in wet weather, but it also means that that the Tribeca uses more fuel than many front-wheel drive 2009 midsize SUVs, earning an EPA rating of 16/21 mpg city/highway. Test drivers said it’s not a bad performer, but it isn’t especially sporty or smooth.

Some models feature a third-row seat, but reviewers noted that it’s too cramped for anyone larger than a child. Test drivers said most will find the other seats fairly comfortable. The Tribeca offers seating for five or seven, and base trims are well-equipped for the class, with a power driver’s seat, automatic headlights and dual-zone climate control. Higher trims add features like three-mode heated driver and passenger’s seats, leather upholstery, a rear-seat DVD system and touch-screen navigation.

See the full 2009 Subaru Tribeca specs »

Other Cars to Consider

If you like the 2009 Subaru Tribeca but want better fuel economy or a roomier third row of seats, take a look at the highly-ranked 2009 Toyota Highlander. The Highlander’s base four-cylinder engine isn’t nearly as powerful as the Tribeca’s flat-six, but its fuel economy is very good for the class. The Highlander is also available with a V6 engine, and even when equipped with all-wheel drive, it gets better fuel economy than the Subaru. It also has great safety ratings. Reviewers appreciated the Highlander’s well-made interior and said that it’s a particularly good three-row SUV for families.

Reviewers liked the 2009 Honda Pilot thanks to its refined interior, comfortable cabin and maneuverable performance. The Pilot also gets better fuel economy than the Tribeca.

Compare the Tribeca to the Highlander and Pilot »

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