2013 Subaru Tribeca Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Subaru Tribeca was new.


Performance: 7.2

The 2013 Subaru Tribeca gets generally positive reviews for its performance. Most say it has enough power for daily driving, and that it handles fairly well for an SUV thanks to its low center of gravity. One of its biggest drawbacks is its fuel economy, which is fairly poor for the class. Some critics also say that the brakes and steering could be improved.

  • "A few minutes behind the wheel and it becomes evident that Subaru's 2013 Tribeca is not your run-of-the-mill SUV. The handling is responsive, and the steering firm and linear. Driving into sharp curves yields some mild body lean, but overall it's evident that the low center of gravity of its unique drivetrain enhances stability and confidence." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "From behind the steering wheel, the … Subaru Tribeca feels competent, maneuverable and easy to drive, with the light-effort steering enhancing an overall feeling of nimbleness." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "Despite its pathetic fuel economy and lack of marketing attention, the Tribeca is reasonably good to drive. There's adequate power, decent body control, and a comfortable ride." -- Automobile Magazine (2012)
  • "This three-row SUV isn't built on a truck platform, and it has a reasonably carlike feel. It's comfortable, rides well, and the six-cylinder engine provides good power. It's not much fun to drive, but it competes in a dull segment." -- Car and Driver (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Tribeca is powered by a 256-horsepower, six-cylinder engine. Power is routed to the wheels through a five-speed automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16/21 mpg city/highway, which isn’t particularly good for a crossover. Reviewers offer mixed reviews of the Tribeca’s power. Most say it is sufficient, though some also say that it feels sluggish from a stop. One reviewer also notes that the transmission changes gears somewhat lazily.

  • "Tribeca's engine provides enough power for most situations, though some testers wish it offered more low-end punch. The transmission can be a bit tardy to kick down for more power, but the driver can help matters by using the transmission's manual shift gate." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Power is more than sufficient for such a heavy vehicle, while fuel economy is surprisingly good." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The engine works hard, but it revs smoothly and delivers decent power.” -- Car and Driver (2012)

Handling and Braking

As is the case with all Subaru vehicles, the 2013 Tribeca comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is uncommon for the class. One critic says the Tribeca handles well, in part because its engine sits low to the ground, which keeps the center of gravity low, which aids handling. They say that the ride is fairly comfortable over rough pavement. One reviewer comments that the steering, while responsive, doesn’t provide a lot of feedback. Another says that the brakes do OK at stopping the Tribeca, but wishes the pedal felt less mushy. New for 2013 is a brake override system, which cuts power to the engine if the accelerator and brake pedal are pressed simultaneously.

  • "Subaru's novel boxer-engine design is the primary reason for the Tribeca's adept handling. The boxer engine sits lower than a standard-size V6 or inline engine, helping to reduce the vehicle's center of gravity and improving its overall stability." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Tribeca's ride is absorbent, stable, and well-controlled over most surfaces. Tribeca's handling is more minivan than high-body midsize wagon. Tight turns require slowing down more than you might think, but cornering lean is moderate for this vehicle's height and weight. Steering is a bit numb, but it is responsive. Unfortunately, Tribeca has a wide turning radius for its size. Brakes have adequate stopping control, but pedal action is somewhat spongy and non-linear." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The suspension soaks up both big bumps and small pavement imperfections nicely." -- Edmunds (2012)

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