The Subaru Tribeca continues as a favorite crossover SUV with American consumers even though there are virtually no changes for the new 2011 model.
All three trim lines — Premium, Limited and Touring — now carry seven passengers. Subaru added the Touring model to the lineup last year and gave it several additional luxury features over the Limited.
Increased customer demand for more comfort in crossover SUVs prompted Subaru to add the design features and luxury amenities in the Touring model. They include HID headlights, monochrome exterior paint scheme, power moonroof; rear vision camera with monitor in auto-dimming mirror, silverpainted roof rails, a silver-painted front underguard and seven-spoke alloy wheels. A Bluetooth hands-free phone module also is standard on the Limited and Touring lines, as is XM satellite radio.
On the road, Tribeca delivers a positive driving experience, thanks to Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC) and four-wheel traction control (TCS) that enhance the capabilities of the standard Variable Torque Distribution (VTD) version of Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Tribeca also comes with Brake Assist on its standard ABS brake system, which analyzes the force on the brake pedal and increases hydraulic boost to provide enhanced emergency braking, even activating the ABS system early if needed.
On the outside, Tribeca has a crisp, aerodynamic design with a swept-back windshield. Up front, the grille is integrated into the front bumper and has a chrome spreadwing design, with the Subaru star cluster badge as the focal point.
Under the hood, the Subaru 3.6-liter, 256 hp Boxer engine produces powerful low-end torque and its use of regular-grade fuel helps lower operating costs. The Active Valve Control System (AVCS) variable valve timing is used on both the intake and exhaust camshafts and the engine sustains at least 225 pounds-feet of torque from 2,000 to 6,000 rpm. Mated to a specially tuned fivespeed automatic transmission, Tribeca has good acceleration and is exceptionally smooth and responsive in everyday driving.
Tribeca is built around the Ring-Shaped Reinforcement Frame structure proven in Subaru models for over a decade. It is equipped with occupant-sensing, dual-stage driver and passenger airbags, front seatmounted side impact air bags and standard curtain side air bags (front and second rows). A rollover sensor can detect a potential vehicle rollover and deploy the standard side curtain airbags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Tribeca its highest five-star rating in all of New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) crash tests and a four-star rating in tests for rollover resistance. Tribeca also was a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Pricing on the 2011 Subaru Tribeca starts at $31,220.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com.