Full 2014 Subaru Tribeca Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Subaru Tribeca is essentially unchanged apart from a minor shuffling of standard and optional features.
Usually, an average ballplayer on an average team gets playing time. But put that guy on a team stocked with talent and he's going to ride the bench. Take the case of the 2014 Subaru Tribeca. It's a pleasant enough midsize crossover SUV taken on its own. But compare it to any of its three-row crossover rivals, and it's merely a.250 hitter lost in a class of winners who all hit .400.
Subaru's largest crossover does offer fairly attractive styling, and it benefits from the automaker's capable all-wheel-drive technology. It comes in a single, loaded trim level with standard seven-passenger seating, which does simplify the buying process. But let's be honest -- those are hardly deal makers. Plus, the Tribeca hits a rather unenviable trifecta: passenger/cargo space are subpar, fuel economy is disappointing and, although it's nicely equipped, there's no appealing value proposition here given its dated design and lack of newer features such as blind-spot monitoring or Bluetooth audio/USB.
Those aforementioned heavy hitters the Tribeca goes up against include the 2014 Dodge Durango, 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2014 Kia Sorento and 2014 Nissan Pathfinder. Any of these models would be a more rewarding and worthwhile choice for a seven-passenger SUV.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Subaru Tribeca is a seven-passenger midsize crossover SUV that comes in a single Limited trim level.
Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, a power sunroof, rear privacy glass, dual-zone automatic climate control with separate rear air-conditioning control, leather upholstery (vinyl for the third row), heated power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger), driver seat memory functions, reclining 40/20/40-split second-row seats, 50/50-split third-row seats, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a six-CD changer, auxiliary audio input jack and satellite radio.
The options list is short and includes a Navigation and Rear-Seat DVD Entertainment package that includes a navigation system, a rearview camera and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. There is also the Popular Package, which features luggage rack crossbars, splash guards, a rear bumper scuff guard, a rear cargo tray and a retractable cargo area cover.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Subaru Tribeca is powered by a 3.6-liter, horizontally opposed six-cylinder engine that produces 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. Every Tribeca features standard all-wheel drive.
In Edmunds performance testing, the Tribeca accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, which is about average for this class. Fuel economy is below average, however, at an EPA-estimated 18 mpg combined (16 city/21 highway).
Standard safety features for the 2014 Subaru Tribeca include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
In recent Edmunds brake testing, a Subaru Tribeca took 121 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph, a slightly better performance than its competitors.
In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Tribeca earned the top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. The Tribeca's seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2014 Subaru Tribeca's interior has its strong points, including appealing styling, excellent visibility and a relative lack of wind and road noise. The front seats are comfortable, but the lack of a telescoping steering wheel may make it hard for some people to find an ideal driving position. Also, the design and layout of the buttons and controls located on the center stack are not particularly user-friendly.
The 40/20/40-split second-row seats get points for their ability to slide up and back up to 8 inches, but legroom still ends up being just adequate and the center position is really only usable in a pinch. The same goes for the 50/50-split third-row seat, which is only suitable for small children. Behind that third row you'll find a mere 8.3 cubic feet of cargo room. That number grows to 74.4 cubic feet with both the second and third rows folded down.
The 2014 Subaru Tribeca's 3.6-liter engine delivers acceptable acceleration, though it never feels particularly gutsy and sounds noisy when pushed hard. In its normal mode, the transmission is a bit reluctant to downshift, but engaging Sport mode wakes it up and gives it some much-needed urgency in passing situations on the highway. Shifts are executed quickly and smoothly in this mode, as well as under manual control. Soft suspension tuning allows the Tribeca to ride comfortably over rough and broken pavement, and the light steering feel aids maneuverability at low speeds.