2014 Subaru Tribeca Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Subaru Tribeca was new.


Performance: 7.4

Reviewers say the 2014 Subaru Tribeca has a comfortable ride, well-weighted steering and stable handling, and with standard all-wheel drive, is surefooted on slippery roads. Most agree that its six-cylinder engine has sufficient power and that its transmission puts that power to the wheels effectively.

  • "The Tribeca also rides and handles better than most of its competitors, chiefly because of its low-sitting boxer engine that helps reduce its high center of gravity." -- AutoTrader
  • "The Tribeca is notable for its standard 6-cylinder boxer engine and sophisticated all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, which enable this 3-row SUV to be a tenacious handler in slick and snowy conditions." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 Tribeca comes with a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 256 horsepower. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. At an EPA-estimated 16/21 mpg city/highway, the Tribeca's fuel economy is generally in line with other six-cylinder, all-wheel drive rivals’ fuel economy.

According to test drivers, the Tribeca accelerates at a reasonable pace in most situations, though some critics say that it could use a bit more power to get going from a stop. Some reviewers remark that gear changes in the Tribeca's transmission can be a bit slow.

  • "The Tribeca's 3.6-liter engine delivers good performance thanks to its 256 horsepower, and shift points of the 5-speed automatic transmission have been improved vs. previous versions." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Tribeca's 5-speed Sportshift automatic transmission does a good job of finding and holding the right gear. For those so inclined, the Sportshift can be manually shifted by tapping the gear shift. This feature comes in handy when you need extra passing power or engine braking to slow the vehicle during a steep descent." -- AutoTrader
  • "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 (2013)

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers write that the Tribeca has a comfortable ride and stable handling, with minimal body lean when turning. They say its handling abilities are complemented by its standard all-wheel drive and well-weighted steering. Critics add that the Tribeca has a large turning circle, which can make it tricky to maneuver in close quarters, and say the brake pedal feels a bit mushy.

  • "This family hauler's handling is responsive and its steering feels satisfyingly firm. Throwing this big Subie into a corner yields some body lean, but overall the Tribeca inspires confidence thanks to its low center of gravity and standard AWD system." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Despite its nearly 8.5 inches of ground clearance, the Tribeca remains remarkably stable and well-balanced. The steering feels tight with good feedback, and the Tribeca tracks straight and true at highway speeds. Under normal driving conditions, the VDC distributes more torque to the rear wheels, which helps improve cornering when accelerating out of a curve." -- AutoTrader
  • "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 (2013)

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