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2017 Subaru WRX STi

2017 Subaru WRX STi Sport Package

2.4 L Turbo 4 Cylinder 305 HP with 6 Speed Manual Transmission

World Rallye Blue with Black Leather interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the

I can feel the smirk on my face get bigger as I’m walking up to this WRX for the first time. I think to myself “wow that is way more aggressive then my little 2008 Impreza” As you walk around you do notice more bulging fenders, quarter panels, a really big wing, and the typical STi hood scoop.

The model that we got to drive was the Sport Package STi which came with the huge rally wing, LED front and rear lights, power driver’s seat, and sun roof. From the front the car has an aggressive look to that commands respect, and does speak volumes when seen in a rear view mirror. Ours was also erupted with the 6 speed manual and carried an MSRP $40,796. The performance level of the car is tremendous, The majority of the performance you feel is due to the speed you can carry around corners or on/off ramps. Grip level, suspension set up, and brakes are the prime reason why this car is still on the top 100 Ring times, and tied with a Ferrari F430 and ahead of some late 2000’s model Porsche GT3’s.

Sitting in, and driving the car you can tell where money was spent. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing but it depends on the type of person you are. The majority of people who will buy the STi will not be concerned that only the driver’s seat is power, or that the exhaust rumble is loud (that’s what the girl friend says) or that the suspension is too stiff.

The interior is iconic Subaru except for the Recaro seats, and actual carbon fibre trim. The radio is the same as you find in the standard Impreza with 6 speakers that can be fed AM/FM/bluethooth, and XM radio. The infotainment system styling is also straight out of the Impreza and is adequate. For the Audiophiles out there In the Sport-Tech model does get a premium Harmon Kardon 9 speaker sound system and navigation as well. Regarding the quality of materials and styling but a Subaru will always have a unique perspective on interior styling, and where the R&D funds are spent.

Transmission wise the new STi gets 2 choices a CVT and a 6 speed manual, ours came with the manual. Shifter feel is direct and throws are short. The clutch is aggressive and is heavier than the pedestrian Impreza and rightfully so since it also has to deal with almost twice the power. Motivating the 2017 STi is the tried and true 2.5L flat 4 being fed 17PSI of boost from a twin-scroll Turbocharger, the outcome of all this is 305hp and 290lb-ft or torque. Peak torque is at 4,000 rpm so if you keep the rpm’s around there or above that the car feels very motivated and moves down the road with authority. Below that the STi feels more sedate and could make a nice daily driver.

Transferring all this power is a slick 6 speed manual, and a trick centre differential that can be controlled from the console toggle switch. Power can be split 50/50 to the front and rear or as low as 20/80 front rear or you can leave it in full auto and the car will send power to the best location based on your driving. On top of the adjustable differential the STi also offers a cool engine management system called SI-DRIVE. This system has 3 different settings, I, S, and S#. I- which is the intelligent mode opens up the throttle more gradually and can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10%. S- Is the nice everyday sport mode which makes the car more lively and good for “spirited driving”. S# is the most aggressive map and doing a pull in 3rd or 4th gear and mid pull you switch maps you feel as if the car just got fed a few extra PSI of boost. Throttle response is very sharp and you feel as if the car is always waiting for you. To be honest the car spent most of the time in this mode and the fuel consumption shows it. As The Colonel say’s “last I checked it still takes gas to make power” and the STi is no exception. Another member of the Strada crew who drove the car said that it reminds him of a go-kart, and in essence it is a big go-kart.

All the small quibs that the 99% of people out there would have issues with this car “oh the suspension is to hard” or “the radio is not that good” or “why is that wing so big?” “400km to a tank!?!” and that is fine, that is not the car for them. The 1% who will buy this car, will buy it for all the reasons that the 99% of the others won’t, and use it.


 Strada Talking Points:

  • Superior handling.
  • Appreciable level of performance
  • Innovative center differential controls
  • Bold street presence
  • Fun

 The quick review...




2015 Subaru Legacy

2015 Subaru Legacy Limited

2.5 L Boxer 4 Cylinder 175 HP with Lineartronic CVT

Lapis Blue Metallic with Beige Leather

The photo gallery/slide show of the

Subaru's have a precise driving quality that is unique to the brand. Although most cars drive well, Subaru's are several increments higher.

Last time we experienced a Legacy a few years ago, it was the preceding body style with a manual transmission. We were looking forward to experience the new Legacy which was voted the sedan of the year (below $30,000) by AJAC as well as having a 5 start safety rating from IIHS.

You could say that its a decorated car with compelling accolades.

The styling is what you expect from Subaru, conservative, subdued, while the bolder grille makes a stronger statement in identifying that it is a Subaru. The fastback roof line ads a touch of sportiness. This tester has a beige interior which is refreshing compared to the almost standard black interior of most press vehicles. Its well finished, the leather has a nice feel, with the wood paneling adding richness and sophistication to the overall look of the interior.

The mid size sedan segment is competitive, the Legacy rises to the occasion with a full complement of options, from power and heated front seats, sunroof, navigation, impressive sound system, automatic HVAC, folding rear seat backs to name a few.Complemented by the adult size rear seat leg room.

The interior makes you feel good, all in the conservative fashion that is part of its DNA.

The center of the dash screen is easy to use, and competitive with offerings in the segment.

Before we forget, and as if you did not know the Legacy is a rare standard AWD.

You can configure your own

How does it drive?

Instantly communicates that its precise, with a reassuring composure and smoothness on the road. One comment was "It feels like a luxury car".

Needless to mention that on our favorite broken pavement, and twisty road the car never loses its composure while constantly inspiring confidence. You would not expect anything less from a Subaru. The steering is precise with a solid on centre feel, the brakes are good.

There is adequate power on surface streets as well as highway passing. Acceleration is sedate. The paddle shift emulates a 6 speed from the CVT transmission when upshifting and downshifting. If you prefer additional power there is the 6 cylinder version with 256 HP. all Subaru's the faster you go with this Legacy the better it handles.

The EyeSight driver assist is simply awesome. The sensor is at the top of the windshield which is ideal for our climatic conditions, compared to being somewhere is the grille. You can adjust the distance from the steering control, and the car brakes by itself.

Its brilliant technology that literally needs to be experienced, set the distance, set the speed, the car will seamlessly maintain a constant distance from the vehicle in front, and brake to increase deceleration if required. Its impressively cool.

If you are considering a mid size sedan with the versatility of AWD; we urge you to experience the Legacy, and EyeSight.  Be assured that you will be impressed.

Strada Talking Points:

  • Inspires supreme confidence
  • Fresh styling with a bold grille
  • Well executed interior
  • EyeSight driver assist
  • 5 Star safety rating


 The quick review




2013 Subaru BRZ

2013 Subaru BRZ

2.0L Boxer 4 cylinder 200 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

World Rally Blue Pearl with Anthracite Black Leather/Alcantara

The photo gallery/slide show of the BRZ

Its been almost 20 years since Subaru made a 2 door sports car, and I can’t even remember the last time I saw a SVX on the road. Fast forward to 2012 and out of a joint venture with Toyota the BRZ is born. Just looking at the car and its proportions, lines, and stance it easily pulls second and third glances from everyone.

Its traditional sports cars looks with a long hood, and short rear deck you could almost stare at the car for hours. Our 2013 BRZ was the fully equipped version with Automatic, and the Sport-Tech package, which adds Navigation, upgraded Stereo, xenon lights, and push button start just to name a few. Powered by Subaru’s new 2L boxer four from the 2012 Impreza but tweaked a little to make 50 more hp to a nice even 200. Thanks to Toyota's fuel injection system which uses both conventional and direct injection, this little boxer can now rev to 7,400rpm, and still pulls strong. The 6 speed automatic works very well, there is no gear hunting, with a snow, normal and sport mode which will sharpen up the upshifts, and even downshift for if you are hunting for on and off ramps. In manual mode the downshifts are quick with blips of the throttle. Makes you wonder if this is a dual clutch transmission.

In a world where most cars in this class have 300 HP or more like the V6 Mustang, Camaro, and Genesis, the car on paper does look under powered, but Subaru wanted to focus on the driving dynamics, weight, and comfort. Strapping the car on for the first time you instantly realize that this is a drivers cars that will reward you. The suspension is firm, steering is telepathic, and brakes are strong. Weighing in 2700lbs the BRZ is at least 600lbs lighter then any of the 3 cars mentioned, and it shows. Body roll is minimal, and everything works well together. The short wheel base almost makes the car feel like a go-kart. The extremely low center of gravity that bests cars such as the Nissan GT-R, Ferrari 458, every Porsche model, I don’t need to say that this little car mean business when it comes to driving.

Getting in the car, the typical Subaru owner will instantly recognise the instrument cluster with the typical red glow, and that’s about it, everything else is “ oh that’s nicer than mine” , “oh that’s cooler than mine”, “ I don’t have that” with the sport-tech package the BRZ comes well equipped, with fully automatic dual zone climate, and heated seats. after the looking at the gauges, your eyes will migrate to the pioneer navigation system, which has every feature you could want from Bluetooth, BT audio, iPod connection, SD card slot, and the sound quality is good. Although it looks out of place, ruins the flow of the interior, and looks aftermarket, and is not the most intuitive system. The seats are excellent and with Alcantara inserts and leather bolsters, they make sure that you are going nowhere when the road gets a little curvy. Being a 2+2 car, the BRZ does have back seats but unless your friends are just torsos , they most likely wont fit, but being a sports car, and one of the smallest in the market, cargo is not its strong suit, and potential customers will easily accept the lack of cargo capacity.

Other cars in this class may have more room, or more power, but most of them miss the point of a true sports car.  Make it a point to drive the BRZ so that you can realise what you will be missing, and what other manufacturers are trying to cover up by adding flashy paint colors such as “Gotta have it green metallic tintcoat” or 320hp to try and motivate a car that weighs 1,000lb more.  


The quick review




2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

Subaru in typical Subaru fashion is conservatively proud of the XV Crosstrek, and very excited launching the Crosstrek in the Canadian market. As you probably know Subaru is on steady path of increasing their sales, and market share in Canada. What is remarkable of the sales increase, its achieved again in Subaru fashion, earning their customers and sales contrary to buying their sales with incentives.

In one of the many conversations a comment that caught our attention from a Subaru executive "Used Subarus are hard to find, since they are handed down to family or close friends". 

At a time when every manufacturer is focusing on Gen Y / Millennials, and designing products that will appeal to this segment that is increasingly coming of age. With every manufacturer arriving at their own interpretation of the segment, while designing specific vehicles that will resonate with Millennials.

Subaru is launching a versatile vehicle that will accommodate Canadian climatic conditions, an active lifestyle, a family, with design that generates emotional appeal, having urban (smaller than bigger) and not suburban (bigger than smaller) size and capabilities.

From our perspective the XV Crosstrek is a Forester with increased attitude that will resonate with Millennials, and the folks that want an additional cool factor in their choice of vehicle. 

Its exciting to see Subaru break with tradition and enter a competitive market segment populated with established, and well entrenched competitors. 

There are 3 versions of the Crosstrek, with the Touring starting at $24,495. the Sport at $26,495. and the Limited at $28,995.

It seems that all manufacturers that want to appeal to Millennials which is the first generation of "digital natives" (born with PC's) make it a point to include connectivity, and technological features in the higher version (more expensive) of their offerings. 

For Millennials the dash display is a touch point that will immediately wow, or dissappoint. 

Contrary to some offerings in the compact crossover segment that are primarily front wheel drive, and become all wheel drive if the traction conditions are poor.

The Crosstrek is a full time symmetrical all wheel drive, and yes you would not expect anything less from Subaru.  

The engine is the classic Boxer 4, this one is 2.0L in displacement, with 148 HP, and 145 lb.ft. of torque. Obvious that a vehicle with urban aspirations will have a slightly smaller engine, in addition to improved fuel economy of 6.0L Highway and 8.2L City per 100 kms.

The available transmissions are a 5 speed manual, or a CVT with paddle shifts that emulates a 6 speed. By now you know that we prefer automatics in this type of vehicle, we enjoyed the CVT, and having the option of shifting gears or letting the transmission and technology do its thing. 

We had the opportunity to drive a manual transmission version, which is easy to shift up or down, with a smooth clutch pedal.

The electric power steering has the right amount of feel for this type of vehicle. The brakes were up to the task. We travelled on enough gravel, and broken roads to unequivocally say that the Crosstrek is solid, and inspires confidence in adverse road conditions. 

The missing element was snow, but we have had the opportunity to drive several hundred kilometers with different Subarus under totally awful snow was always an epic experience...the worse it gets the more seamless it is with a Subaru. 

The specifications, features, configurator of the 2013 Crosstrek.

The interior is well finished, with a good choice of materials, and tactile touch points. The rear seat is roomy, the cargo area is versatile with the folding seat back, and discreet with the sliding cover. 

All the safety features from airbags, ABS, traction control, stability, brake override, high strenght steel, are all present, and Subaru anticipates a 5 Star rating when the Crosstrek is crash tested.

We spent several hours, and drove numerous kilometers on surface roads, gravel, and rough gravel roads, what stands out for us, its a Subaru (handles challenging roads and conditions seamlessly), the interior is well finished, the seats are comfortable, the styling and street presence is appealing. The CVT with the paddle shifter is cool, while the power is adequate for a vehicle with an urban inclination. 

If you are seeking a compact crossover with more style than the habitual "flat roof", obvious that Subaru did not blip on your it does...make it a point to experience the XV Crosstrek, and the seamless performance of a Subaru.


Our quick overview...





2012 Impreza - First Impressions

 “It has a smaller engine. It’s down 22 HP, and down 25 lb/ft of torque, it has a smaller gas tank, and I’m worried” that’s what I kept hearing from Subie fans and a few dealers that I talk to. Being the bread and butter model in the Subaru line up the Impreza cannot afford to have short comings like this, especially in the ultra-competitive compact car segment. What most didn’t know, including myself was that figures like these are just numbers. Synergy is defined as two or more things functioning together to produce a result not independently obtainable, and that’s what this car has. It’s down 22hp and 25lb-ft and still faster. It has a smaller 2L boxer, but it’s more advanced. It also lost 10L in its gas tank size, yet its capable of getting 1000km per tank now. The specifications are amazing considering they are supposed to be the so called short comings endowing the 2012 Impreza .

I arrived at the Mississauga convention center early just because I was excited to see the new Impreza and hoped that all those figures I read about were nothing to worry about.  There was a small fleet of touring package sedans and sport package 5 doors. At first glance the cars look dynamic, with sharp creases on the hood, fenders, and doors. After a few hours inside talking about the car, specs, and other numbers, the time came to actually have behind the wheel experience. The interior is a lot less inhospitable. The dash and doors is covered in a soft-touch material rather than the hard plastic. The fit and finish is also better with reduced gaps in-between panels. 7 air bags can also be found in the car including a knee air bag, which all makes it’s a safer environment to live in. One of the cooler features that the 5 door has is a 4 inch screen that displays all sorts of information, from the time, to which wheel is getting power, average speed, fuel consumption, it will even graph the last 30 minutes to display you how you are doing. Overall the interior is more modern, with the fit and finish that the car deserves.

What most people were worried about was the new engine. Subaru is using a smaller 2L vs. a 2.5L H4. Most of the time when an engine loses 20% of its displacement some power also goes missing, but what this new engine loses it gains it back in many other ways. Subaru applied a DOCH format versus the previous SOCH configuration. Both the intake, and exhaust valves now have variable timing. The timing belt is replaced with a chain that no longer needs to be replaced at 160,000km. One of the biggest concerns that Subaru had to deal with was fuel economy, with all these new features, paired with the all new CVT that replaces the archaic 4 speed Automatic, the new Impreza gets 30% better fuel economy than the outgoing model. It’s not often that you a 30% improvement of anything in the automotive world. Subaru made sure that people will now have to find something new to complain about other than the fuel economy.

We appreciate Subaru’s for their driving dynamics. The cars always feel solid, responsive, smooth, these are words that you can’t always use in this segment of cars. The 2012 Impreza does not disappoint. The car is solid at any speed, rough roads, bumps, railroad tracks are easily absorbed, and you always feel confident about the car, and its capabilities. Some of this is because of some new suspension design, STI bushings, new sway bars, and disc brakes at all four wheels just to name a few.

You can’t help but be impressed with the 2012 Impreza. Like the old saying goes you can’t judge a car by the last page of the brochure. All those numbers are just that, numbers. The best brochure to this day, is still a drive.

Early in the New Year we will have an opportunity to spend more time with the new Impreza, and who knows what else the last page of the brochure will be bring about. 




2011 Subaru Forester - Its Capable

2011 Subaru Forester 2.5X Touring Package

2.5L Boxer 4 cylinder 170 HP with 4 Speed Automatic Transmission

Obsidian Black Pearl Metallic with Onyx Black Cloth interior

The photo gallery/slide show of the Forester

By now we know that Subaru offers a wonderful driving experience, and a high degree of peace of mind under Canadian climatic conditions especially in winter. This time we had the unique opportunity to use the Forester for an extended road trip, under typical Canadian conditions. Some photos of the road trip the return was especially fitting for the capabilities of the Forester. 

As climatic conditions deteriorate with more snow, when folks inquire "What are you driving?" and you respond "Subaru" the look is "You don't have a problem or worry or're cool". Uncanny what a single word elicits in most folks.

The styling is conservative with a discreet street presence. The interior is well finished with good attention to detail, and fit. The cloth seats (the new leather) are comfortable with the driver seat being power, with lumbar support. The extended road trip confirms that the seats are comfortable. The Touring Package is the middle of the road offer with a base MSRP of $28,695 fortunately the huge sunroof brightens the frugalista interior features which are decidedly conservative. 

The sound system with 4 speakers...yes 4 speakers, need we say more! The rear seat provides good leg room, the cup holder that extends from the seat cushion is cool, the folding of the backrest is easy and intuitive. Yes the sunroof reaches the rear seat. 

The rear cargo area with the easy to raise tailgate will accommodate all the items that a family would carry.

For 2011 there is a new engine, same displacement but with a longer stroke, better torque, and timing chains replace the belts; coupled to a 4 speed automatic. On paper a 2.5L 4 cylinder with 170 HP, coupled to a 4 speed automatic seems weak especially in a CUV, and you would expect corresponding performance. 

In reality this combination feels more like a 6 cylinder with more gears in the transmission. Totally surprising how well this engine performs with a strong low to mid range, while the transmission shift algorithm is quick to downshift if the need arises. One quickly forgets that its only a 4 cylinder, with a 4 speed automatic.

The fuel economy rating is 7.5 L Highway and 9.9 L City per 100 kms.

All the specifications and configurator

This Forester upholds the Subaru DNA, with a superior driving experience. Yes...Subaru covers all the minor details to provide wonderful driving dynamics. A responsive steering feel, good brakes, subdued wind noise, while constantly inspiring confidence. For a CUV it will cruise all day at Canadian highway speeds, or do a quick errand for the necessities of life with equal ability.   

Why you should consider a Forester? You appreciate a vehicle with superlative driving dynamics, and have an affinity for novel engineering (boxer engine, and Symmetrical all wheel drive). Make it a point to experience the Forester!

The quick review





2011 Subaru WRX - Seamlessly Fast

2011 Subaru Impreza WRX Sedan AWD

2.5L Turbocharged Flat 4 265 HP with 5 Speed Manual Transmission

World Rally Blue Pearl with Anthracite Black cloth and Red Stitching

The photo gallery/slide show of the WRX.

We were anxious to review a WRX especially the 2011 version with the "wide body", needless to tell you that when the opportunity presented itself, we jumped! In what other color than World Rally Blue!

Few if any other sport sedan look as aggressive as the restyled WRX, the car has the appropriate styling cues to communicate a strong street presence, with a passionate message. From the front bumper, hood scoop, flared front fender with vents, quarter panel flares, and the rear bumper with the diffuser enhanced by the 4 exhaust tips. 

Yes...the WRX has the same wide body as the STi version...

Our tester is the base version sedan with an MSRP of $32,495. The interior is pleasant, from our perspective the cloth bucket seats are refreshing, perhaps cloth is becoming the new leather. The fit and finish is very good, even if the synthetic surfaces are black with a rigid tactile feel. The automatic climate control is a pleasant surprise, the sound system is primitively acceptable. The rear seat has good leg room for the size of the car, while the folding seat back enhances the versatility of the trunk.

The bucket seats are supportive, comfortable, and heated. The red back light instruments with the prominent tachometer are very cool, all the controls that you need while driving are intuitively accessible. 

It looks aggressive and purposeful on the outside, the interior is efficient, we like the cloth, a larger armrest would be appreciated. 

The fuel economy rating is 8 L Highway and 11.1 L city per 100 kms.

You can use the configurator to build your personal version of the WRX.

How does it drive?

Lets be expect a WRX to offer superior performance, this car does not disappoint. The tachometer is prominent, but keeping a watchful eye on the speedo is an absolute requirement, especially that from our perspective Subaru's run better higher speeds.

The steering is communicative, the engine has a purposeful sweet spot from 3,000 to 5,500 RPM, the transmission is good, the shifter is a little notchy, the brakes...once you grasp that you need to apply pressure relative to the speed of the car they work well. The exhaust has a pleasant sound from the quad outlets.

Do we really have to tell you that this car inspires confidence under any and every driving condition, on rough pavement its supremely confident, in wet conditions it inspires spirited driving...its a seamlessly fast car that is rewarding to drive. Obvious that on / off ramps are a moments of fun.

Few cars in this price range have the look, the driving dynamics, the performance, the fun factor of a WRX.

If you are seeking an AWD performance sedan with superlative capabilities, as your first priority, accompanied by compelling performance styling, as your second priority. Make it a point to experience the will win you heart.

The quick review...




2011 Legacy 2.5i Sport - Its Smooth

2011 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Sport AWD 

2.5L 4 cylinder 170 HP with 6 Speed Manual Transmission

Graphite Grey Metallic with Black Cloth

The photo gallery/slide show of the Legacy.

We find Subarus fascinating, the more you use them, the more they engage you, the more they win you over. Here we are driving a Legacy which after a few days wins us over with its smoothness, quietness, and sophisticated frugality.

Having reviewed a good number of mid size sedans, what makes this Subaru unique? The obvious answer is that Subarus are only available in AWD. 

This Legacy has a discreet street presence, with appealing styling. The interior is spacious, with good materials for the price segment.  By now cloth is perhaps becoming the new leather, we like the cloth interior, the fit and finish, the attention to detail. The rear seat leg room is surprisingly ample, you don't expect that amount of rear seat leg room.

The simplicity of the controls is refreshing, and exudes a sense of reliability, from our perspective simplicity is synonymous with reliability. At the same time all the features that you expect are present from Bluetooth, MP3 connectivity, Satellite Radio. Its simple while being cool. As usual the manual HVAC controls are not our favorite (we prefer automatic climate control).

To continue on the theme of simplicity, this tester has a base MSRP of $27,995, to make it simple no options are available. Its an exceptional value proposition, a full featured mid size AWD sedan with a 6 speed manual transmission for less than $30,000.

All the specifications of the Legacy 2.5i Sport Comprehensive information on Symmetrical AWD

The fuel economy rating is 6.4 L Highway and 9.1 L City per 100 kms. 

How does it drive? 

What is really interesting about this car! Subaru simplifies the use of a manual transmission, with a "hill hold" feature which greatly facilitates starting on an incline, the electric hand brake is very convenient, the engine is sequenced with the up shifts to ensure that they are smooth and seamless.  

You almost get the feeling that its a manual transmission that aspires to be an automatic...its that simple.

With 170 HP and 170 lb.ft. of torque, the performance is middle of the road sedate, which is acceptable for an AWD sedan. Once you grasp that with 170 HP, it usually requires a lower gear to accelerate, and down shift accordingly its a lively car. 

A superb highway cruiser, smooth, quiet, in 6th it just wants to keep on going all day. We like the way this car feels like a bigger, more expensive car. 

On our habitual stretch of rough/broken pavement the car is composed, with precise steering, while inspiring confidence, frankly you would not expect anything less from Subaru. Although the suspension seems soft, in a corner it takes a set and its done. Does the car inspire spirited Can the car deal with spirited driving...yes. 

Why you should consider this Legacy?

You are seeking a manual transmission (clutch pedal) mid size sedan that transcends all climatic, and road conditions. You appreciate sophisticated simplicity, that exudes value, and reliability. You prefer a car with a distinct identity, engineering, driving characteristics. 

The quick review...




2010 Subaru Tribeca - Discreet Competence

2010 Subaru Tribeca Limited AWD 

3.6 L "flat" 6 256 HP with 5 Speed Automatic Transmission

Azurite Blue Pearl with Slate Grey Leather interior

The photo gallery / slide show of the Tribeca.

From a Twitter exchange, most folks are undecided on how to categorize the Tribeca. Is it a mini van, a wagon, a CUV or SUV. Lets get it out of the way right now...from our perspective its a traditional mid size SUV. We agree...the grille is confusing, and conveys a subtle message that it might be a mini van...its not a mini van.

What does one expect from Subaru? A flat engine, competent AWD system, attention to detail, good driving dynamics, conservative styling, innate ability to deal with rough/broken pavement (rallying success). The Tribeca does not disappoint, it delivers on all counts (we know we just made a strong statement here).  

The interior is well finished, with appealing detail stitching on the seats. We love the dash, the wave curve of the dash is different, the controls are easy to reach and operate, even if you have to push on "agree" every time. The fit and finish is what you would expect from Subaru. The 7 channel Harman Kardon sound system with 10 speakers and 385 watts is impressive. The back up camera is useful, while providing an accurate distance reading. Mind you parking sensors would be an appreciated feature at this price level. (MSRP $46,495.)

The rear seat is adjustable, with good legroom, the 3rd row seat is better suited for children, but will accommodate adults for shorter trips. All the seats are easy and intuitive to fold down. The ventilation/cooling vents mounted in the headliner raise the level of comfort for the rear seat passengers. A power tailgate would be cool.

All the safety features that you expect are present from air bags, to ABS brakes, traction and stability control. The specifications for the Tribeca are here.

How does it drive?

First thing you notice, the seating is high, although you quickly get used to the position. Its very smooth, the smoothness really grabs your attention, with reasonable steering feel, and strong brakes. The power and acceleration is adequate, with good low, and mid range performance. On our usual stretch of broken pavement, there are a few thumps from the suspension. The Tribeca does not communicate that its as solid as you would expect, while never losing its composure. 

Here's the thing, the suspension feels soft with a wonderful smooth ride, you hear a few thumps from the rear, the steering feel is acceptable. It does not inspire or urge you to get spirited . Suddenly the faster you go, the better this truck feels, even on our usual hairpin, it leans, but it sticks, and exudes a strong sense of confidence. The conclusion, if you go a little faster than you think you could go, this truck feels livelier, crisper, more accurate. Needless to tell you that the fun factor increases, along with the perception that its not as sedate as it initially communicates.

The fuel economy rating is 9.4L Highway and 13.1L City per 100 kms.

The warranty is 36 months / 60,000 kms for the vehicle and 60 months / 100,000 kms for the major components.

Why you should consider a Tribeca?

You need a mid size SUV with a 3rd row seat. Your place a higher value on driving dynamics, a smooth ride, competent AWD, than "bling, leading edge styling, leading edge features. 

If this is you, make a point to experience the Tribeca, there is more than meets the eye.

The quick review...