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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to buy a newer vehicle. I really like the Tribeca. I have had a Subaru before it was a 97 Subaru Legacy GT. It was a very good vehicle. We got almost 250,000 + on it. I have some questions about the Tribeca.

We wouldn't be getting it from a dealer, my fiance works at an auto auction, which is a major conglomerate so they have an auction in pretty much every state. So he has contacts with dealers who can buy a car for him. So we won't know a whole lot about the vehicle but he has the ability to inspect it somewhat and he's good with cars. He fixes all of ours himself.

My questions are:

1.) What mileage should I stay away from? Most I've seen online from dealers within our price grange have at least 120,000 miles to 150,000 miles and are 06's and 07's. I realize that with the auto auction we can probably get lower mileage for our price rage and maybe a little newer. The trick will be finding one. People seem to keep them a while.

2.) What are common problems we should look for with higher mileage Tribecas? Is there a particular year to stay away from? My trailblazer is an 02 and the first two generations had an engine flaw with an engine knock at around 140,000 miles. Had we known that we would have went a year newer.

3.) Every vehicle has some flaw (i.e. dodges/jeeps have terrible transmissions, some makes rust through easy, while others have engines that don't last long) What are some of the flaws that the Tribeca may have, even insignificant ones? I really don't want a vehicle that has a major flaw. I would like the engine to outlast the car, have good transmissions, and doesn't rust easily. I realize that from model to model within the same brand of car there can be differences. I live in Wisconsin so we see lots of snow & salt during the winter. Obviously it wouldn't be kept outside, it would be in a garage. I have an 02 Trailblazer right now that is just starting to show signs of rust on the back tailgate and that's it.

4.) I have looked at discussions in here about the gas you should use in it. Debating between regular and premium. I can not afford premium as it is way too expensive. So if I use regular would it do any damage to the engine or car in the long run? Obviously better performance with premium. But I'm not an aggressive driver, I rarely pass anyone or speed. So I may not notice any difference in performance with regular as opposed to someone who has a heavy foot. If it gets at least as good or better than my trailblazer as far as gas mileage I'll be a happy camper. Trailblazer right now gets about 15miles in the city and at best 18 mpg highway. I have 1/2 highway and 1/2 city driving.

5.) Is it expensive to fix? Is it easily fixed by yourself? Do you need expensive specialty tools to fix it? Are parts expensive or hard to find? It was easy to find parts for the Subaru we had. But when the catalytic converter went, there was two and it was a pricy fix. So want to know if the Tribeca is similar?

6.) Is it really comfortable on long trips? We occasionally drive to to PA which is about an 11 hr car ride. I can't sit in vehicles with bucket seats or basically if my knees are higher than my hips, I will have problems. I have bad hips and back. So the vehicle must be comfortable driving distances.

Thanks for any help in advance!
Mel
 

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I think Subaru is a good reliable brand. I own two of them, 07 Tribeca and 14 Impreza.

1) I would try to buy one that is as close to 90-100k as possible. It has nothing to do with Tribeca but with the fact that people dump the cars before a major maintenance milestone. My concern with those with 120-150k would be that the 90k maintenance has not been done at all. That also means that when you get it you need to do the complete 90k maintenance yourself or pay $800-$1200 for it. But that is true regardless of how many miles the car has, unless you have a verifiable proof of maintenance.
 

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2) & 3) I am not aware of any that would trouble me.
 

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4) I use regular, regular is OK to use, and would not void the manufacturer's warranty when new. I see no difference with different gas grades.

Look at the MPG stats closely for this car. The car is AWD with heavy luxury feel so you pay for it with MPG.
 

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5) I would say that it is similar to other brands.
 

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Detailed inspection is a must just like with any used car. I just can't stress that enough. If any noise or fluid leak is detected ask how much would it cost to fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the reply. I talked to my fiance and we can get blue book prices from the auction. However most Tribecas that are at dealers are the premium limited and touring. Right now or our budget (because we have to replace both our vehicles before fall) is around $10,000 (each vehicle). So through KBB.com I'm looking at a 07 with at least 112,000. If I want newer I'd have to take on more miles. I could get a 2010 but would have to take on about 139000 miles. Most that age are below 100,000 miles at dealers. So he'll have to take a look. He has a friend at the auction who's a certified mechanic so he'll have him go take a look at which ever one we're interested in. If he finds one within our budget range, and would give us an estimate as to how much it would cost if anything needs fixing. We have his mechanic friend fix what he doesn't want to or is too complicated. So we save money there, and he also has a client friend who also has his own junk yard so if something minor needs fixing we can get parts at low or no cost from newer models as long as it would work. So we have options. I would love a Tribeca but if that doesn't work out we're also looking at Forrester or Outback too. Those I can get with lower miles for within our budget.

The auction he works at does handle like insurance claim vehicles. And salvage vehicles. Now if we found like an 06 but with either a bricked engine or a bad one that need replacing. His junk yard friend does have a 2010 on his lot which was in an accident (rear ended good) but the engine is good and has like 68,000 miles on it. He said he would not charge us as much as a regular customer so if we could get it at a really good price would a 2010 tribeca engine fit or work with a 2006? We're also looking at that option too cause we could get an older model 06-07 for a good price and with engine replacement still be under our budget.

But that would be a last resort. Ideally we'd like one well taken care of. He'll have to give me vin numbers and I'll have to look at carfax reports to see if there are any service records available.

Mel
 

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I would look at ebay, craigslist, car dealers in 100 miles radius to make sure I am getting a good deal though the friends at auto auctions. Engines are different, I am not sure if they are compatible.
 

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We've had our Tribecca for 7 years, around 76k miles now. Here's my take on it. We get 16 mpg, which isn't very good by today's standards. It burns through oil faster than any newer car I've owned. But other then that it's been a good car. Repairs have been replacing the drive belt pulley, driver's sun visor, rear door latch cover, and replaced Rear Differential Cross Member. Needing repairs is a loose drivers side mirror, air vent not staying in place and drivers window switch, all are common problems with this car.

We have the limited with leather seats, navigation, puddle lights, etc. It is a very comfortable car for long road trips. It handles well and essentially has been a very good car. We like the larger size of the Tribecca too.
 

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(4) If you get an 08+, Premium/Regular gas becomes a non-issue; but I understand that your purchase budget might not allow you to do so.

(6) Subjectively, for me, yes, this vehicle is very comfortable for longer trips. But that's honestly just me; hopefully, you'll get a chance to sit in one for a bit before you buy. You should be able to satisfactorily adjust the driver's seat for either a "flat" or "rear high" bottom seating position.
 

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Well, look around.

We got a 2008 with everything (NAV, DVD) and 108,000 miles for 11,500 from the dealer that sold me my new Outback. The asking price had once been 17,000, then 14,000, I asked about it when it was 12,000 and got it for 11,500.

The Tribeca is the opposite of a hot commodity and if you are patient enough you should be able to get a good deal.

When we got the 06 in 09 it was far more difficult, took me 3 months to get a good deal.

I love the looks of the 06-07 and could not care less for the exterior of the 2008+.

However, the powertrain is better and worth getting the newer car.

Judging anecdotally from this forum, Tribecas are no strangers to abuse. It seems to me that if you pay actual money for a car, you will spend a bit to maintain it properly, but I have read a few horror stories here that obviously must have resulted from total car neglect.

Another strategy would be to invest 15-17,000 in one car and repair the better of the remaining cars for 3-5,000.
 

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In terms of long-distance comfort, we have plenty of experience in the B9 as well as one 2,000 mile trip on the 2008 and comfort is about the same, very good. However, I find the 2010+ Outback excellent. The worst feature of the Tribeca, other than the pathetic range, is the extremely disconnected steering feel. I was used to it but now that I drive the OB as my car, the Tribeca annoys me tremendously, especially on longer drives.

When I had the B9 and the Legacy I thought that the B9 seats were perfect. Switching to the OB took a couple of weeks of discomfort. Now I find the Tribeca seats less comfortable. I.e., do not be quick to judge the seats.

The Tribeca's Achilles heel in terms of creature comfort MAY be the right knee for a tall person. If you are 6' or taller you will find your right knee constantly touching the plastic. It does not really bother me, but if you are above 6, it may be a real issue.

The suspension is heavy duty so it is not as plush as the 2010-4 Outback but is fine enough.

If you put performance tires on the Tribeca it can handle and corner exceptionally well for a mid-size vehicle. Since putting Nitto 420S on ours, I stopped joking that my spouse should trade it in for a WRX!

Overall, the Tribeca is a fantastic choice when found at the right price--and so long as you do not plan a lot of city miles. The mpg in town is 3-4 less than my OB's--which has oversize AT tires!--and the range is laughable, 200 miles in town vs 300 on the H6 OB.
 

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Don't let the negative experience described here to deter you from Tribeca. If you go to any car forum you will find many complaints and horror stories.

By the way, I am over 6' and have not noticed any issues with comfort.

I still think that MPG numbers for Tribeca are pretty good in the class. However you cannot compare them with 2WD CRV for example, that is the car in a totally different class.
 

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I Have my Tribeca since 2005 .no real issues so far ..however I take really good care of her .have done lots of preventive maintenance. like fluids .belt tensioner and idler pulley'.plugs Etc ..the only recurring issue that I get .is the front sway bar bushings .but it is ridicously easy and cheap to fix..as far as MPG I get consistently 19.2 MPG Average after switching to synthetic oil and using Red Line fuel system cleaner Every 5 or 6 month ....Regards ...Gerry
 

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All you need is to look at the signature comments below to see what I think of Tribeca. I am on my third and not for any problems just like new every three years. I know that doesn't help with longevity questions you have, but my sister-in-law bought my 2008 which now has 80K miles. She loves it. She has had zero issues, but again she bought the vehicle knowing the history. I am anal about keeping every maintenance current and she has done a good job of service compliance as well. The vehicle is great for comfort on long hauls. I drive from Delaware to Key West every winter and rack up about 3500 miles in six weeks. A 12 hour stretch behind the wheel is easy. The only shortcoming is range and MPG due to weight. I can get 250 miles highway out of a tank before looking for a station. On the highway I have gotten 24 MPG but 21 and change is more realistic. Good luck with your hunt.
 

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^...Good choice of cars. Ours are close to what you have. :)

I did not buy the Tribeca new but I have seen the dealer's service record. There was no major issue during the 100k miles on this car.
 

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1. Go lower miles if you can, obviously. But if I had service records and maintenance was kept up on (for instance, transmission fluid done every 30,000 miles), I wouldn't be scared by something over 100,000 miles vs. something with fewer that was a mystery. Our 08 has 99k on it and the engine is immaculate.

2. No particular year. The 06-07 uses the first gen 5EAT and the 3.0 engine, which requires premium if you want to get the most out of it, but you can run 87. The 08 got the 3.6, which is 87oct only and more powerful across the revs than the 3.0. It also got a slightly more responsive 5EAT. 2010+ got a revision to the torque converter which eliminated that annoying vibration at low RPMs that some 06-09 models had.

3. I touched on the torque converter issue already. The other thing that the 5EAT seems to suffer from is the valve body/control unit tends to give a rougher 2-3rd gear shift when it's wearing out. Easy enough to change out, but it's an expensive part if you go new. The transmission itself is very stout, I've heard of almost no problems across the Legacy, Outback, and Tribeca models other than those two issues that were just mentioned.

As far as the EZ series (6 cylinder Subaru engines, both 3.0 and 3.6) engines go, they're very well built. When you hear about Subaru engines, you'll hear people winge about the headgasket issues that the EJ25D and EJ251/3 experienced, but they're far far far less common on the EZ series. If the coolant changes were kept up on, it's unlikely you'd experience a failure.

Other small problems - sway bar bushings can cause a mystery clunk over bumps even if they're visually OK. Easy fix. The interior, like every Subaru, tends to have its share of rattles, especially the rear hatch on the Tribeca. I fixed that issue by adjusting the latch bar and adding extra padding to the bottom of the hatch by the rubber seal. Seems to have worked.

4. I already touched on this earlier, too - you can run regular on both engines, but the 3.6 will run a lot better on regular as it was tuned for it. As far as MPG goes, we've been getting about 18 in the city and 24-25 on the highway when we do hwy-only trips. I don't heavily speed, so setting the cruise at about 68mph will get you to that figure. If you go more than 70, it can be lower, around 21-23.

5. Easy? some jobs are much easier than a vehicle with a standard Inline or V engine, some are harder. Oil changes are very easy. The trans flush that I did wasn't hard at all (I know some Fords don't even have an AT dipstick or filler anymore). The H6 is certainly a bit more cramped than my 2.5 in my Forester, but most of the stuff you'd need to touch frequently is a breeze. Overall, I think Subaru does a fantastic job designing their vehicles, compared to the nightmares that German and (modern) American vehicles tend to be. Parts aren't as common at places like NAPA as for something american, or even Toyota vehicles because of the obvious sales gap, but the dealerships can get stuff for you for a long time. The only slightly concerning thing is that the Tribeca is discontinued and it did sport some unique parts compared to other subarus, so there may be model specific parts that are phased out eventually.

6. Oh yes. I mean, it does have tall bucket seats like any other tall SUV/Van, but they're quite comfy and the ride at highway speeds is excellent. You can set the seat up to have the front of the seat lower than the back so your knees aren't as high as your hips - I actually prefer the opposite myself and wish the seat would cradle me a bit more. The seats are firm & supportive, but not harsh. Cushy seats tend to be worse for me as the miles go on (numb butt) and I don't have that problem with these.

The miles just peel away in the 'Beca when I take longer trips and the back seat isn't bad either, when it's all the way back (we have a 7 passenger).
 

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I still think that MPG numbers for Tribeca are pretty good in the class. .
In 2008? Yes. But in 2015? There are actual SUVs and trucks rated higher, or at least the same, I think.

For me, the range is the biggest gripe, be it in town or on road trips. Driving through AZ, Nevada, or Utah, except on the interstates, makes it necessary to constantly bear in mind where the next gas station might be. Throw in dirt roads and remote national parks and monuments and it becomes very annoying.

It is still a great car, especially at the current prices.
 

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In 2008? Yes. But in 2015?
Look at 2014/2015 models AWD 6 cylinder SUVs...the median is about 17 city/ 24 highway.

That comparison applies to $10k Tribeca vs $30-40k new SUV. Not too shabby.

The old saying: "The most economical car is the one that you already own." :)

https://www.fueleconomy.gov
 
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