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The Tribeca, Subaru's first midsize sport-utility, is a relatively recent addition to the crossover SUV segment. Bigger and taller than the company's other utility vehicles, it's meant to be a viable alternative to established Japanese crossover competitors as well as other more upscale sport-utilities.
The Subaru Tribeca (originally known as the B9 Tribeca) succeeds in that regard. However, there's not much to push the Tribeca beyond that "alternative" status. Though premium in look and feel, the vehicle's interior is a little cramped when compared to some competitors. Earlier models also suffered from mediocre acceleration.
Overall, the Tribeca's faults are significant enough that we think most shoppers will be happier with other top crossover SUVs. Only if you're a dedicated Subaru fan looking for something out of the mainstream will it be worth adding to your consideration list.
Used Subaru Tribeca Models
The Subaru Tribeca midsize SUV debuted for the 2006 model year, though it was originally known as the B9 Tribeca. The "B9" was dropped for 2008. Named for New York City's fashionable and affluent TriBeCa neighborhood, it became Subaru's first U.S. vehicle to feature a controversial (and short-lived) new design expression consisting of a stylized triangular grille and rounded bodywork.
This look was poorly received by the public, hence the current model's generic front-end treatment, which bowed for the '08 model year. The following year saw a Special Edition model joined the original base and Limited trims, though for 2010 it was gone when the Touring trim debuted and the formerly optional third-row seat became standard across the board.
Used-vehicle shoppers should note that prior to 2008, the Tribeca's six-cylinder engine was a little underpowered. Displacing 3.0 liters, it made 245 hp and 215 lb-ft of torque. Subaru Tribecas with this engine can feel considerably more sluggish when accelerating than 2008 and later models.