Subaru B9 Trifecta SUV Forum banner

Does this article accurately reflect your ownership experience

  • Absolutely: Spot on!

    Votes: 3 60.0%
  • Mostly

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • You make some good points

    Votes: 1 20.0%
  • What are you smoking Andries?

    Votes: 1 20.0%
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys - the article below will be published tomorrow on http://www.wheels24.co.za I had to trim it down for the website, but thought I'll publish the whole thing for you to read. Enjoy.
:tup: :tup: :tup: :tup: :tup:
We should all be driving Toyotas. Well, cars that are manufactured locally, straight forward to service with established service centres, basic in design, reliable and comfortable. Toyotas.

But we don’t. We are wooed by motoring journalists that has particular preferences and that brings to life the finer points of differentiation. Brands push their unique features to the point where we are not buying cars, but we are defining ourselves. In the process we lose a bit of objectivity at times. We write off certain brands due to past showings in performance tests, road tests, shootouts and long term tests. We become Merc people, BM people, Volvo People, Daihatsu people, Spur people.

So this review then to really break that mold, and bring you the truth according to a family man that has specific needs. You see, I used to be an avid reader of every motoring mag on the market. But gradually, (with marriage, my first born, second, third) my needs have become more and more removed from that of the programmed writer, to the point where I needed to start thinking.

By now, you are probably thinking: “ seems like a reasonable guy, what on earth was he thinking in buying a Subaru Tribeca?” Let me help out whilst all this thinking is going on...

My core needs:

Good fences makes for good neighbours. Having three lively children under the age of 7, there is alway one out of reach of the driver or co-driver. So we decided that it had to be a 7 seater. This way, a fence can be erected to make the neighbours live peaceably through the karoo. (It works!) But vehicles with this configuration are not aplenty, and they mainly fall into the mom’s taxi or big off road 4x4 catagories.

I also wanted safety and security and decided to give Sidney Mofemade a call. He did not answer (voicemail said something about not COPEing), but I was going to discuss with him that my needs were pre-active safety rather than in crash features. In my mind proper use of excess available power together with solid handling and breaking in all conditions are probably more important than 8 airbags. Security was also a concern and so I was open to the idea of not getting something that everybody else would want.

I wanted good service and a known and reputable drivetrain. This was due mainly to my previous SUV that was a 70% eXtraordinary Car. The other 30% was shocking and expensive.

Finally, I also needed something for the daddy. Yes, I decided that I was not going to turn a blind eye to my needs in the name of being responsible and doing the family thing. No, daddy was short a bit of fun and excitement and the car needed to contribute in order to earn it’s keep!

The Car:

I got the ’07 Subaru B9 Tribeca at a great price. The current market is depressed, and the smaller brands are struggling even more than the bigger ones to ship as people are more and more conscious of buying better “investment” options. (Why is this never part of the “hot hatch shootout” criteria?)

The power comes through Subaru’s H6 boxer engine via a 5 speed tiptronic box through the constantly improving Symmetrical All Wheel drive system. The standard engine delivers 180 Kw and 297 Nm of torque, but the previous owner had also fitted a free flow system from Power Flow. Joy.

So on paper, that looks OK. But in real life, it is better. Much better. You see, what the figures do not mention is the delight that this boxer brings. She red lines at 7000 Rpm, with a howl, nay a squeal, staring at 5000+ that is completely addictive. The engine shares tech with Porsche, and it is clear. Zero vibration. Low centre of gravity translates into precise handling that, as a previous SUV owner, boggles the mind. All the parts works together in a brilliant way, and the one overriding message that is sent to the driver at all times is: “This is what engineering is all about!” Oh yes.

In physics, Newton penned proven laws governing speed, momentum, acceleration and friction. Car manufacturers are getting more clever by the day and fit very intelligent software algorithms that act on feedback received from sensors. Often in wet conditions, one would see a little light flashing away on the dashboard as these algorithms do the thinking for you. And I am all for it... But with this car... Man - even though it has all the software, the basic configuration provides for so much mechanical grip that the dashboard remains as dark as Zimbabwe by night. This is a sweet configuration.

Inside, it is a good environment for all. The third row of seats are for young ones really (JP Duminy may just fit), and having those seats in the upright position (they neatly fold away into the floor) leaves one with a small loading space. Folded down, the loading bay gobbles up the Starship Enterprise. Access to the rear is easy via the moving middle bench (both sides move and fold, 60/40 split). Passenger position in the middle is comfortable, with loads of headroom as well as a seating position with adjustable tilt.

The front reveals an interesting sculpted dashboard with sufficient comforts for all. Touch quality is not Inglostadt, but it is not Detroit / Seoul either. It has a wonderful aircon, with vents and controls for all rows of seats. This is really impressive and it cools a lot of air in no time. The 6 cd frontloading changer with MP3 provides good sound, with even a standard subwoofer in the back. Other standard feartures include 4! 12V dc powerpoints, an auxiliary input into the stereo, leather seats, a sunroof and electrical seats. So in all, it comes fully loaded with goodies that the German brands would charge a fortune for.

Having done a fair amount of reading on the car, I found that the motoring press have been slating it on two accounts. The gearbox and the looks. Their criticism of the gearbox is that it hunts for the right gear at times. I can confirm this, but have found that it does not hunt in sport mode. Clearly a software issue then, and one that I am sure Subaru can fix via an update. As for the looks, I will admit that it is unique. But I actually love it. It is bold, stylish, and it represents Subaru well. Also the lines make a lot more sense than the Audi trapezoid (what is that all about!) and anything Bangle dreams up. I am disappointed that they changed the grill in the ’08 facelift, following on the pressure from the international press.

Driving it: On and off road.

Subaru has always prided themselves in the fact that all their cars are AWD. Let me state plainly that this system is incredible. It is not intrusive, and one can almost sense that it has been continually refined and optimised over the years and that it is now approaching perfection. Case in point is my GPS taking me on some of the worst roads known to man in the name of saving mileage on our recent trip down to the coast. (Whitlesea anyone? - google it) So, there I was, with my fully loaded trailer, 3 kids, lovely wife travelling up a gravel mountain “pass” when another 4x4 approaches. “How did you get this far in... what is that?” the man asked as I waved him down, getting more and more nervous as the “road” turned into a 4x4 course. Did I mention we were on the way to the coast? Don’t ask.

“Unless you want to sleep on that mountain, you will have to turn around.” Great was his amazement when I told him that his suggestion would be impossible as I had a fully loaded road trailer behind me! The now single file road would not allow for a U turn. So him and his partner helped me and my longsuffering wife in unhitching the trailer, doing a 20 point turn at the edge of the cliff, and hitching it again. Crawling down the mountain, again I could see that this car is awesome - NEVER loosing its footing, not even on one wheel (as on the way up).

Fuel consuption on this road trip - Johannesburg to PE to Cape Town and back was about 12.5l/100 Km. I was cruising at 140Km/h, and had the trailer and the whole family on board always. I think that is really good actually considering that it is a 2 ton vehicle.

As a final point, I need to write about the service that one gets from Subaru in Sandton and Midrand. Their workshops are impeccable, service sharp. What impressed most me was how knowledgeable and passionate they were about their brand and about providing me, the customer with good service. I have to say that this kind of thing really gives one confidence, and should be included, not only on Carte Blanche, but on the next SUV shootout article as well.

Summary:

Most Subaru owners hold on to illusions of grandeur of victories in the WRC. Though this has not happened in 6 years, and now probably never will with Subaru pulling out of the WRC, their technology has always translated well into their road cars. The B9 Tribeca is no different. The engineering is really a joy and the whole ownership experience, together with the practical value of this vehicle has blown me away. And did I mention that dad now has a constant smile on his face on the way to work these days?

Strengths: Engineering, comfort, practicality, service etc, etc.

Weaknesses: Normal mode of gearbox
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
Well written, I agree with you on the fun factor. We went from an Acura MDX which was a very nice practical crossover...but it was boreing. I actually enjoy driving my Tribeca and love the way it looks compared to the cookie cutter crossovers and suvs. I also can say as a dad of 3 that it is practical and safe as well. My wife was sold as soon as she saw the dash. My only beef is the 3rd row room and gearbox.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
You mentioned "powerflow exhaust system". Is this a direct bolt up performance exhaust system. I have looked an cant find any info on it. Where can you buy it? Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks Vescomilkov. Article published on Wheels24.co.za toady, but was cut a lot, so lost a bit of punch.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
I'm sorry but while I love the car and its idiosyncrasies the problems are a little more fundamental. Subaru dropped the ball when it came to on-road handling; usually a strong point for Subaru. It lags way behind the X5/Cayenne competition. The gearbox problem is not a software issue rather a poor auto box that is geared way too high for an engine that is severely lacking in lowdown pulling power. Putting it in sport just gives you a lot of revs and noise. The H6 is nice enough but it's coarse and unrefined at high revs!

For me the best points are the interior, Subaru dependability and………..the looks!:eek:

Nice write-up but the dealers should be offering whatever you are smoking as they walk into the showroom!;):D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice one SimonD. :rolleyes: I think the exhaust does contribute to my positive experience in no small way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
134 Posts
:) We're very happy with ours because its weaknesses don't really matter to us. I don't need a two ton family car to drive like a sports saloon and we spend most of our time on motorways or in city traffic where the gearbox problems are least obvious.
Add to that the fact that an X5 specced to the same level as ours would cost twice the current price of a new/old stock '07 Beca and it really is a no-brainer.
It's nice to see a good write up from someone else who is enjoying theirs.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top