2011 Subaru Tribeca Review

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Subaru Tribeca model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Stylish interior design
  • standard all-wheel drive
  • admirable crash-test scores.
  • Cramped third-row seat
  • limited cargo capacity
  • steering wheel doesn't telescope
  • indifferent driving dynamics
  • unimpressive fuel economy.

The 2011 Subaru Tribeca has a few things going for it in the form of all-weather capability and a distinctive interior, but in the end, other midsize crossover SUVs present better alternatives.

Vehicle overview

People champion excellence, not mediocrity. After all, you won't see a bumper sticker touting, "My child is a C+ student at Middling Jr. High." So we find it hard to rally around the 2011 Subaru Tribeca. While there's nothing about this vehicle that makes us cringe, it simply pales in comparison to other SUVs, which seem to do everything just a little better.

From the outside, the Subaru Tribeca was originally styled to be bold and innovative, but indifferent customer reaction has led Subaru to make it less distinctive, so now it looks too much like an artist's rendition of a generic SUV -- neither inspiring nor offensive. Even the Tribeca's performance is simply middle-of-the-road. The interior shows some signs of life with a futuristic dash design, but it comes at the expense of some usability.

On the plus side, the Tribeca's all-wheel-drive system delivers the assurance of solid footing in a variety of climates, a feature that sets it apart from the usual front-wheel-drive crossovers. Maneuvering in tight city confines is made easier by the Subaru's smaller dimensions. At the same time, a certain lack of interior space is noticeable. The second-row seats slide fore and aft, but all the way back is the way you'll use them. The third-row seat is for part-time convenience, not long-distance trips. Most important, taller drivers will bemoan the lack of a telescoping steering wheel.

Since there are no truly awful midsize crossover SUVs, it might be that benign doesn't add up to a compelling proposition. The Tribeca compares in size to the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox and 2011 Ford Edge, while it's a bit smaller than the 2011 Mazda CX-9 and 2011 Toyota Highlander. And when it comes to price, dynamics and overall appeal, the Tribeca gets lost between these vehicles.

2011 Subaru Tribeca models

The 2011 Subaru Tribeca is a seven-passenger midsize crossover SUV that is offered in Premium, Limited and Touring trim levels.

The Premium trim starts 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), heated front seats, driver-seat 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 will get you exclusive 18-inch wheels, 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.

2011 Highlights

The 2011 Subaru Tribeca carries over unchanged from the previous year.

Performance & mpg

The 2011 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 with a manual shift mode is the only transmission offered. Every Tribeca features an all-wheel-drive system that sends 55 percent of the power to the rear wheels in normal driving.

In recent Edmunds 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 16 mpg city/21 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined.


Standard safety features for the 2011 Subaru Tribeca include antilock brakes (with brake assist), traction control, stability control with a rollover sensor, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.

In recent Edmunds brake testing, a Subaru Tribeca required 121 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph, which is slightly shorter than its competitors.

The Subaru Tribeca has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedure. Its 2010 rating (which isn't comparable to 2011 ratings) shows that 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.


Unlike most other Subaru vehicles, which tend toward fun and lively, the Tribeca takes a step back. Though its all-wheel-drive system does impart a sense of confidence, this Subaru feels lethargic. The transmission is also a bit slow to react, but selecting Sport mode will sharpen things up.

Around town, the Tribeca is easily maneuvered into tight parking spots thanks to feather-light steering effort. Bumps and ruts in the road are readily absorbed, maintaining composure and delivering a calm and smooth ride quality. Once again, the 2011 Subaru Tribeca proves itself to be able-bodied, but lacking in spirit.


The Subaru Tribeca's interior offers a taste of excitement, as the sweeping wraparound dash features complex organic shapes that blend smoothly into the center console. Unfortunately, most buttons on the dash are difficult to read and the curved panel shape hampers operation as the console bends away from the user. Most materials are either soft to the touch or well textured, and various panels are tightly fitted.

The Tribeca's front seats provide decent comfort for the average-sized driver, but the lack of a telescoping steering wheel compromises seating for taller adults.

The second-row seats offer nearly 8 inches of adjustable travel, but they don't slide far enough to the rear for us to get comfortable. Access to the third-row seats is hampered by a narrow opening and only the smallest passengers will feel comfortable once they get back there. Most competitors in this price range offer superior third-row accommodations. Maximum cargo capacity is just 74 cubic feet.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2011 Subaru Tribeca.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Excellent quality; average look
3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)
This is our second Tribeca. The first 2006 was an attractive looker with distinctive Alfa Romeo front but was lacking the performance. The new 2011 is a complete opposite. Average Pacifica like look with improved power and excellent track on quality and reliability. This is the only SUV that we'll trust on our trips to skiing resorts. Nobody can bit Tribeca’s handling in a nasty winter storm, especially with a set of dedicated winter tires. We also like the fact that it is Japanese made but assembled in USA. You have both: Japanese superior engineering and outstanding American quality.
4 out of 5 stars
The big persons Subaru
The DayWaster,05/24/2018
3.6R Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)
Legroom in the back two rows are limited. Third row seating is a joke. I've had 7 Subarus and this is the first one that I fit in. Great vehicle overall. 160,000 miles and drives and looks like it did the day I got it.
5 out of 5 stars
2011 Tribeca Still Rocks in 2019
3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)
Here in 2019 we still can't find a reason to trade this beauty in. Granted ours only has 41,000 miles and runs like new, but it still offers us everything we want; and we don't have to deal with a bunch of unwanted "millennial tech" gadgets. Very powerful, extremely comfortable, and always reliable. Has all the options we would want.
5 out of 5 stars
Comfortable and safe
Robson Braga,05/06/2020
3.6R Premium 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A)
I just bought a 2011 Subaru Tribeca Premium, with 100k miles. This one is very proper, all the maintenance was did right and the vehicle is very sharp. I find it very comfortable, stylish and safe, because of the Subaru's AWD System. I love the fact that even having a third row, there's still some considerable cargo room. The engine is very powerful, although it has poor gas mileage. Actually, that's the only thing I have to complain about the car, poor gas mileage, but, come on, it's a 6 cylinder engine with continuous AWD. In terms of style, for me, it's far pleasant than the 2011 Honda Pilot or the 2011 Toyota Highlander. Anyways, I have no idea why people don't like this mid-size crossover.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover16.4%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2011 Subaru Tribeca

Used 2011 Subaru Tribeca Overview

The Used 2011 Subaru Tribeca is offered in the following submodels: Tribeca SUV. Available styles include 3.6R Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A), 3.6R Touring 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A), and 3.6R Premium 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Subaru Tribeca models are available with a 3.6 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 256 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Subaru Tribeca comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2011 Subaru Tribeca comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Subaru Tribeca?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2011 Subaru Tribecas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2011 Subaru Tribeca for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2011 Subaru Tribeca.

Can't find a used 2011 Subaru Tribecas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Subaru Tribeca for sale - 1 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $13,029.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Subaru Tribeca?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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