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2011 Subaru Tribeca

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2011 Subaru Tribeca Review

A mechanical, generic SUV with very little zest.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2011 Subaru Tribeca is a midsized crossover sport utility vehicle manufactured by Subaru. It was launched in 2005 and was to be sold along with the Saab 9-6. However, the program was abandoned just before its release. The initial design of the car, which was seen in the B9X concept car, was heavily criticized. This prompted Subaru to give it a facelift and introduce it in 2007 for the 2008 model year.

The 2011 Subaru Tribeca, which was originally a bold and innovative SUV, is a strictly average part of its segment. While there is nothing particularly bad about it, the 2011 Subaru Tribeca is a bland offering.

The Range

Body Styles: five-door sport utility vehicle (SUV)
Engines: 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine
Transmissions: five-speed automatic
Models: 2011 Subaru Tribeca 3.6R Premium, 3.6R Limited, and 3.6R Touring

What's New

There are no changes for the 2011 Subaru Tribeca from the previous year. The last major overhaul of the SUV was in 2008, when it was restyled, and the more powerful 3.6-liter engine replaced the previous three-liter engine. The five-passenger version was discontinued.


As mentioned before, the 2011 Subaru Tribeca is unremarkable on the outside. The vehicle is available in three trim levels: the base Premium, Limited, and top-end Touring. The Premium version comes with 18-inch alloy wheels as do the other two trim levels.


The 2011 Subaru Tribeca offers something different in terms of its interiors. The wraparound dash is fitted with complex shapes that give it a sense of excitement. However, some might find this to be too elaborate, so it boils down to the customer’s personal tastes. The dash sacrifices a bit of its functionality for its form, because many buttons are difficult to make out and the curved panel makes it difficult to operate.

The overall quality of the interior is good with most parts being soft to touch and the minimal use of cheap plastics. Panels are well fitted and the texture is very good. The front seats offer decent comfort levels, but tall drivers may find some discomfort because of the lack of telescoping ability on the steering wheel.

The second row seats have a nifty reclining feature, but that alone is not enough to cure the lack of legroom. The third row is strictly for the smallest members of the family. Another problem with the 2011 Subaru Tribeca is the lack of cargo capacity. With a limit of 74 cubic feet, the Tribeca falls way behind its other competitors.

Performance & Handling

A 3.6-liter horizontally opposed six-cylinder (H-6) engine delivers 256 hp of power and 247 lb-ft of torque to the 2011 Subaru Tribeca. The engine is mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox with no other option offered. On a positive note, even the base model of the 2011 Subaru Tribeca gets an all-wheel-drive system. This is a rarity in SUVs of this particular segment. The Tribeca can go from standstill to 60 mph within 8.3 seconds, which is a decent number for a midsized SUV. However, the vehicle delivers below average fuel economy with a combined rating of 18 mpg.

Subaru cars are generally considered fun to drive, but the Tribeca is not so successful in this department. Its all-wheel drive does give it a certain level of entertainment, but the SUV feels low on energy most of the time. The Sport trim level has a responsive transmission, but the Premium version transmission is slow.

However, the 2011 Subaru Tribeca readily moves around tight corners with minimal steering. The impact absorptions works so well that most bumps and ruts are hardly felt inside the cabin. Overall, the Tribeca offers a smooth ride and handling quality, although it lacks the zest of other Subaru cars. You can trust the car to handle predictably and do well on the road, but you cannot expect to get excited about it.


The 2011 Subaru Tribeca comes with standard safety features like ABS with brake assist, stability control with rollover assist, traction control, active front restraints, front seat airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags. The SUV was tested in 2010 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and scored full marks for frontal and side impact safety. It received the best rating of ""good.""

EPA Fuel Economy

2011 Subaru Tribeca: 16/21 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Good safety test scores
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Good-looking interiors
  • Sliding rear seats
  • Nice handling

You Won't Like

  • Low cargo space
  • Bad fuel economy

Sum Up

A mechanical, generic SUV with very little zest.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Ford Edge
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Toyota Highlander

See the New 2014 Tribeca.

Front & Driver Side View