2010 Subaru Tribeca SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2010 Subaru Tribeca SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Subaru Tribeca Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L Flat 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 256 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/21 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2010 Subaru Tribeca

  • Although it provides all-weather capability and a distinctive dashboard design, the 2010 Subaru Tribeca is generally outclassed by other midsize crossovers.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Stylish interior design, standard all-wheel drive, perfect crash-test scores.

  • Cons

    Cramped third-row seat, limited cargo capacity, steering wheel doesn't telescope, indifferent driving dynamics, unimpressive fuel economy.

  • What's New for 2010

    The Subaru Tribeca is only available in seven-passenger form for 2010, and a new top-of-the-line Touring model adds a variety of luxuries. Also, Bluetooth is standard on the Limited and Touring trims. A new back-up camera for models without the navigation system and minor equipment reshuffling round out the changes.

Full 2010 Subaru Tribeca Review

What's New for 2010

The Subaru Tribeca is only available in seven-passenger form for 2010, and a new top-of-the-line Touring model adds a variety of luxuries. Also, Bluetooth is standard on the Limited and Touring trims. A new back-up camera for models without the navigation system and minor equipment reshuffling round out the changes.


The 2010 Subaru Tribeca takes its name from the artsy New York City neighborhood, and indeed, this Subaru has a little avant-garde in its genes. Boasting standard all-wheel drive and a futuristic dashboard design, the Tribeca would seem to be aimed at those who appreciate a daring departure from the norm. Beyond these elements, however, the Tribeca turns out to be a surprisingly forgettable midsize crossover SUV. It's not bad, but it's also not as good as many rivals.

Taken on its own merits, the Tribeca is a perfectly competent vehicle. Seven-passenger seating is standard for 2010, and the now-familiar 3.6-liter flat-6 joins forces with the standard AWD system to deliver solid year-round performance. The Tribeca is also a bit smaller than the average midsize crossover, making it a boon for those who navigate crowded streets and parking lots on a regular basis. Moreover, the Tribeca's ride is smooth and quiet -- unusually so for a Subaru.

Alas, shortcomings abound. The third-row seat is little more than a token gesture for marketing purposes, as there's no way an adult or even a growing child could fit back there comfortably. The driving position is inadequate for taller drivers due to the lack of a telescoping steering wheel. Despite Subaru's reputation for above-average handling, the Tribeca feels soft and uninvolving from the helm, so those who want a sporting flavor should look elsewhere. Another downside is cargo capacity, which checks in at 74 cubic feet, a low number for a midsize crossover.

Attractive three-row options are plentiful at this price point. The Ford Flex is an excellent choice, as are the Buick Enclave/Chevrolet Traverse/GMC Acadia triplets, Hyundai's Veracruz, Mazda's CX-9 and Toyota's Highlander. All of the above offer more expansive interiors, and many of them cost less, drive better and even boast higher-quality cabins. The 2010 Subaru Tribeca's avant-garde credentials are questionable at best, and it's not that good at being mainstream, either.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

A midsize crossover SUV, the 2010 Subaru Tribeca comes in Premium, Limited and Touring trim levels, each with standard seven-passenger seating. The Premium comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, tri-zone automatic climate control, a tilt (but not telescoping) steering wheel, heated power front seats, full power accessories, cruise control, a six-speaker CD/MP3 sound system with an auxiliary input jack, a 7-inch display screen and keyless entry.

Stepping up to the Limited adds leather upholstery (vinyl for the third row), three-mode heated front seats with driver memory, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with a six-CD changer and satellite radio and additional interior ambient lighting for the console. The Touring tacks on exclusive 18-inch alloys, a monotone exterior paint scheme, xenon headlamps, silver roof rails, a sunroof and a back-up camera with a small display in the auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The Touring's roof rails, back-up camera and sunroof are available on the Limited as the Moonroof package. Optional on both Limited (Moonroof package required) and Touring is a Navigation package that includes a navigation system, a back-up camera (with the camera display migrating to the navigation screen) and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. These models are also eligible for a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2010 Subaru Tribeca's 3.6-liter, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine produces 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. The sole transmission is a five-speed automatic with a manual shift mode. All Tribecas use an all-wheel-drive system that sends 55 percent of the power to the rear wheels in normal driving.

Performance is respectable, with the 0-60-mph sprint requiring 7.8 seconds. Fuel economy is unimpressive, however, at 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.


Every 2010 Subaru Tribeca comes with antilock brakes (with brake assist), traction control and stability control with a rollover sensor. Front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints round out the safety features.

In government crash tests, the Tribeca scored a perfect five stars for both front and side impact protection. It also received the top rating of "Good" in frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Tribeca's interior is its most distinctive feature. The dashboard's dramatic curves are a rarity in today's automotive landscape, adding a welcome dose of character to this otherwise bland Subaru. However, materials quality is average at best -- plastics are hard and even a bit coarse in places. We like the central display screen that shows climate control and audio information, a feature found on the Tribeca whether or not the navigation system is ordered. However, the arrangement of some controls is awkward, and the air-conditioner struggles to keep the cabin cool on hot days.

The Tribeca's front seats offer fine comfort, but the rear compartment isn't so pleasant. While the second-row seats offer nearly 8 inches of adjustable travel, they're still a bit short on legroom, and hiproom is also at a premium. As for the third row, it's simply too cramped for all but small children -- most competitors in this price range offer superior third-row accommodations. Maximum cargo capacity is just 74 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Subarus tend to be entertainingly quirky vehicles to drive, but the 2010 Subaru Tribeca bucks this trend. Its milquetoast character is apparent in its ho-hum handling and numb steering, though the ride is uncharacteristically smooth and quiet for a Subaru. Acceleration is respectably quick from the 256-hp flat-6.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

My 1st subaru is disappointing

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Tribeca 3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

I recently purchased a used 2010 Tribeca 3.6 L engine , my first Subaru, and am rather pleased except for a 'howl' in my automatic transmission. The sound changes as goes up through gears and especially noticeable from start through 2nd. Dealer has determined it is the alternator since engine speed also changes as gears change. Cannot believe any auto manufacturer would make their top of the line 'touring' vehicle with this howl or whine as I have been told by others. Either way a defective alternator OR transmission needs to be replaced.

Nice package

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Tribeca 3.6R Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

traded my 2009 Forester XT for a the 2010 Tribeca touring and it was a good decision. Needed a larger car with 2 kids. 3rd row is great for 2 extra passengers.

Nice upgrade

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Tribeca 3.6R Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

Traded in my 2009 Forester XT and don't regret it at all. The tribeca is overall a much nice SUV. The only thing I miss is teh Turbo in the XT but everything else has been great!

Powerful & safe awd family

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Tribeca 3.6R Premium 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

Traded in '06 Outback for '10 Tribeca due to growing family. We were tired of the limited space in the Outback for rear facing car seats, wanted to upgrade to something with a bit more room. It is a great all around vehicle. The 'beca has plenty of power and handles corners with ease. Seats are wider than in the Outback, which makes long trips much easier on a big guy like myself. Third row is tight, but I was able to fit back there. In reality third row is meant for kids, so not a big issue for us. We purchased the "base" Tribeca, but the vehicle comes with standard features that come as options in competing vehicles such as the Traverse. Overall we have been very happy with our purchase.

2010 tribeca ltd - 2,000

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Tribeca 3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

After 2000 miles still love the handling and safe feel of the Tribeca. The leather seats are comfortable, and the power moonroof is nice too. The home-link on the sun visor eliminates all the remote control clutter. Have not setup the Blue-tooth as yet. Getting better mileage then advertised, around 18.5 mpg city, don't know about highway. Would like to see more storage compartments up front - glove box just big enough to hold manual nothing else. I have not tried the transmission in Sport mode - regular mode seems plenty perky and alive.

Like no other

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Subaru Tribeca 3.6R Premium 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)

After 8000 km this car is definitely fun at the wheel. With the one of a kind symmetrical AWD this car is firmly planted on the road and while driving I always feel in full control of the vehicle. With a low center of gravity due to the lower placement of the Boxer engine this car does not sway while turning. With two small children safety is a top priority and with the 5 star crash test and safety ratings we could not ask for more. The stylish interior is a sight to behold and with smooth lines it is also very easy to wipe clean. Visibility is great front and back and the over-sized side mirrors are a bonus. Seats are comfortable and firm and on long rides the body stays rested. Great car

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Read more about the 2010 Subaru Tribeca

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 21
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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