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2013 Subaru Tribeca Overview
Despite lackluster sales and abundant rumors that the Tribeca wasn't going to last much longer, Subaru's lone 3-row offering continues into 2013. This is a feat in and of itself given the rumors, but the new version will have very minor changes. A brake override system is standard equipment for 2013, dampening engine output when both the throttle and brake pedals are engaged, and other than that Subaru isn't saying much more about the future of this midsize people-hauler.
Despite the fact Subaru is not saying anything more, the company has said enough to indicate at least the functionality of the Tribeca is in Subaru's intended future. A Subaru spokesperson was reportedly quoted at a car show emphasizing the company's dedication to providing a 7-passenger vehicle, and a rumored partnership between Subaru and Toyota has finally been confirmed, adding fuel to the furnace. Whether the Tribeca will continue in name is still a question, but it seems all but certain the next-generation Tribeca will be nothing like the 2013. Instead, the next 7-passenger Subaru is most likely to be a re-badged 2014 Toyota Highlander—a mixing of breeds that leaves brand fans with mixed feelings.
Although these rumors are already 2 years in the making, there's still nothing in the way of spy shots, testing or previews. That isn't really very surprising, since Toyota is the one making it, but that also leaves fans wondering if Subaru intends to take a year off between Tribecas. The current 3.6-liter horizontally opposed 6-cylinder "boxer-6," so much a hallmark of Subaru, is expected to carry over to the new Tribeca, and this makes some problems for Toyota's V6 and Hybrid mountings. If that's the only problem, then it could be out "on time," but usually switching out an engine entails a little more than new brackets—time will be the only teller here. Either way, the 2013 Tribeca is your last chance to get a purebred Subaru for 7 with tried-and-true dynamics.
That said, this Tribeca isn't exactly problem-free. The side-curtain airbags don't cover the third row, something that has more than a few drivers concerned. The steering wheel tilts but doesn't telescope out, and sometimes fuel economy drops below the advertised rates. Otherwise the Tribeca may not be the beefiest SUV, ponying up 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque, but 8.3 seconds to 60 mph isn't too shabby, with confident throttle response from its manually shiftable 5-speed automatic. The Tribeca's rated to get 16 mpg city/21 highway. Typical of Subaru, every Tribeca has all-wheel drive, sending 55% of its power to the rear wheels until the system notices a need to shift power distribution.
For now, Subaru offers 3 Tribeca trims differentiated by feature content: the 3.6R Premium, 3.6R Limited and 3.6R Touring. At its Premium base you can expect features like 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear controls, heated powered front seats, reclining 40/20/40-split second row and a 50/50-split third row. The Limited antes up with leather upholstery, driver memory, Bluetooth connectivity and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system upgrade, and moving up to the Touring notably adds special wheels, HID headlights, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, sunroof, roof rails and a rear-view camera. Only the Premium is left out on getting some of those features and a few others as options.
by Patricia Mayo
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