I recently researched the 2011 Subaru Tribeca, among 23 other top-rated, best value SUV’s. My biggest requirement was that it had to have third row seating that was collapsible as we only use the extra seating on occasion. Other requirements were: leather seats for easy cleaning, all wheel drive to accommodate a variety of weather conditions and a price of under $30,000. Of the 23 SUV’s I researched, I test drove only the Subaru Tribeca and the Kia Sorento but ultimately chose the Tribeca.
The Tribeca has a sleek appearance and looks smaller than it actually is. The color selection was narrow but standard such as black, silver, charcoal, etc. The ground clearance is low. Internally, the vehicle feels roomy with an M-shaped dash that gives a more modern wrap-around feel. The seats are plush, soft and comfortable and there is storage for persons in each of the seven seats.
The ride is smooth over bumps and drives like a luxury vehicle. The turn radius is incredible with the front end giving the feel of a much smaller vehicle yet the length is not cumbersome. When using the second row seats only, the entire row slides backward to give maximum leg room. When using the third row seat, the seat must slide forward cutting leg room in half but not so much that it becomes uncomfortable for the riders. Third row seat leg room is adequate for someone smaller (children, smaller adults) but would be uncomfortable for taller, larger or more elderly adults. Car seats are not recommended for the third row either.
The major negative findings I have had with the Tribeca are:
–Tailgate is easy to lift but heavy to close.
–Air traveling over the sun roof is loud at higher speeds, especially if the shade cover is open. This might be muffled with a deflector.
–Car seat latches are located on in the 2nd row seats on the outside, therefore if you wish to place a car seat in the center position (the safest) you must use the side-anchored center seatbelt rather than the tethers, impeding entry and exit into the third row.
The out-of-the ordinary features:
— Leather seats are soft and comfortable (Sorento seats were made of a harder leather)
— Reasonable amount of storage space in back with the third row seats in use. (Sorento has almost zero)
— Audio input and outlets in front and back for charging electronics
— Sturdy, easy to clean roof and sun-roof cover (Sorento materials very cheap and flimsy)
Ultimately, the vehicles I looked at were so similar in features and specs that the decision factor fell to price. The Tribeca without navigation or entertainment is around $29,200. This was one of the lower priced of all SUV’s with the same equipment that I researched. I am more than happy with my recent purchase of the 2011 Subaru Tribeca.