Although Subaru is about to see its fifth consecutive year of sales increases, sales of the Tribeca three-row crossover have lagged behind other models since its 2006-model-year arrival. A 2008-model-year refresh brought a less polarizing face and increased sales (16,790 units in 2007), though the Tribeca continued to struggle against competitors from Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, and Ford. Now, we have confirmed that 2014 will be the last model year for the Subaru Tribeca.
While early Tribeca models were offered in five- and seven-passenger models and in regular or Limited trim, Subaru eventually made the third row standard. In 2012, Subaru sold just 994 Tribeca crossovers. The latest report suggests a Tribeca replacement is already under development, which should include better packaging. That model could arrive about two years after 2014 Subaru Tribeca production ends in January. The 2014 Subaru Tribeca 3.6R Limited will be the only available configuration in its last year.
"Subaru of America has confirmed that production of the Tribeca model will cease in January 2014 with last deliveries to retailers in February 2014," a Subaru representative told us. "…The company has announced that it plans to return to the mid-size SUV segment with a three-row vehicle in the future."
In our 2006 Subaru Tribeca First Test, we said: "Subaru's first venture into the sport/utility market is bold, stylish, and a good conversation-starter. The face isn't for everyone, but it's the driving experience that counts, and Subaru's done an excellent job keeping it sporty enough to make the daily commute more enjoyable."
Fast forward five model years: "But unlike the ever-evolving globe it traverses, the 2011 Subaru Tribeca remains roughly the same mid-pack contender it was when it debuted as a 2006 model," we said in our 2011 Subaru Tribeca Limited First Test. We thought the Tribeca's exterior had "confusingly plain styling. It isn't unattractive, but it garners no second looks and even a few stern stares. … Inside, the exterior's plain, generic theme carries through, although the front dash's modern layout provoked plenty of pokes and prods. The futuristic bird-inspired console feels space age-y, and not necessarily in a good way." Though we found the third-row seat far too small, the crossover rode comfortably and quietly.
We concluded: "For the handful of drivers wanting a relatively rare CUV that ruffles few feathers, has room for seven, and proudly touts 74.4 cubic-feet of cargo capacity (with the rear seats down), the current Tribeca should stay on their Potential Buy radars. But a handful of buyers only goes so far."
What should Subaru focus on with its Tribeca-replacing three-row crossover?