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7/23/06 Notes from the first week with our B9 Tribeca Ltd. 5P

Generally speaking:

Build quality. Build quality is something you count on when you buy, but you can only become assured about it after you have spent some time with a car. This is our first Subaru product and I am enthused: This car has every bit the build quality of BMW's and Benz's we have owned. And I think the paint finish is even better than some. Everything feels rock solid and substantial and yet the balance of, for example, the doors is such that they do not feel overly heavy or awkward.

Roominess. Reviewers have described the B9T as not having as much room as competitors. Even if these comments are true they beg the question about driving experience. I liken the experience of driving or riding in front as being comfortably ensconced. All the controls and things you need are right at hand. I am 6'0" and over 200 lbs and have plenty of headroom, legroom, shoulder room and am totally comfortable. if you like the experience of being perched in a truck cab this is not for you, But it is roomy enough and if you have ever fancied piloting an airplane, then drive this vehicle at night and you will get a delightful sense of being in a high tech ****pit (I think this word was censored automatically when first posted :rolleyes: ).

Some specifics:

Under the hood. My neighbor came over for a look and you gotta lift the hood. Everything is neatly done under there although of course we no longer know what any of it does. It's just a new car ritual--a guy thing. As we chatted, I pulled the plastic turtle shell off which covers the engine to get a better look. The trouble came when I went to reinstall it. It is hard to line things up and get it back on securely. I fiddled with it for about 10 minutes. I will definitely be making a note to check this after taking it into the shop for any reason. Failing to re-secure this thing properly is a "natural" for a distracted or hurried mechanic.

Downshifting. A review in Consumer Reports said that this vehicle is sluggish and does not downshift readily. I find that it has plenty of power (another guy thing--we always wish for more) and that it downshifts more readily than I would prefer. I am going to wait for 1,000 miles to see if i adapt to it, if there may be a problem or if I just don't like it.

Rear storage. I like the rear storage. I also like the plastic cargo mat that protects the rear carpet. Unfortunately there are two lift up storage panels and the mat is one piece. This is a problem. I am giving some thought to cutting the mat in two or removing it entirely and making my own two piece mat out of commercial entry mat material.

Dead pedal. One way I like to think you can tell if a car was really built for drivers is by the location of the dead pedal. In this car it perfectly placed and angled.

Gary K.
 

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Nice write-up. But what is a "dead pedal"? I assume it is the place where a clutch would be if there were one. Right or wrong?
 

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The dead pedal is where you rest your left foot since most people do not left foot brake, that foot has nothing to do until you need the e-brake :)
 

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Peaty said:
The dead pedal is where you rest your left foot since most people do not left foot brake, that foot has nothing to do until you need the e-brake :)
Cool, thank you. Ya learn something new everyday. :tup:
 

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lanaina said:
Downshifting. A review in Consumer Reports said that this vehicle is sluggish and does not downshift readily. I find that it has plenty of power (another guy thing--we always wish for more) and that it downshifts more readily than I would prefer. I am going to wait for 1,000 miles to see if i adapt to it, if there may be a problem or if I just don't like it.

Gary K.
I though this too until I started using "Sport" mode. I am not talking about "Sportshift", just "Sport" mode. To get this, flip the shifter out of "D" to the left, but DON'T change gears manually or you are committed until you switch back to D and then to Sport again.

Anyway, long story short, if you use this mode, you get quicker acceleration and smoother shifting. HP is the same, but it is used far more effectively for the most part.

I don't think MPG changes much either and might actually be better if anything as the vehicle isn't constantly shifting gears.
 

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As for legroom, the smartest thing Subaru did was make the second row adjustable. Not only can you recline the seats in the second row (a first of cars I've owned), but you can slide both sides of the seat fore and aft to add or take away legroom. The furthest back postion adds about 6 inches of legroom to the second row which is quite generous. This is a must if you are tall and have small kids in car seats in the second row who normally love to kick your seat back as they will no longer be able to reach it, thus calming your nerves and protecting the seatbacks! :lol:
 

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HB_Dad said:
I though this too until I started using "Sport" mode. I am not talking about "Sportshift", just "Sport" mode. To get this, flip the shifter out of "D" to the left, but DON'T change gears manually or you are committed until you switch back to D and then to Sport again....
Sweet! Learn something new every day.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Owners Journal - Second Entry

Followup on first entry comments:

Downshifting. I am now comfortable with the downshifting and reiterate my comment that i think this vehicle has quite sufficient power. I am still in the break-in period and the mileage is just shy of official numbers but more power =poorer mileage. I have friends with big engine BMW X5's and Lexus models and they really complain about mileage.

New Comments:

Interior plastic textures. I really like the choices Subaru made for the plastic finishes inside the vehicle. While the ubiquitous leatherette finish is present here and there, the black pebble texture on the dash is really nice as are the smoother tan plastic surfaces elsewhere.

Climate control. We have had quite a range of temperatues here in Portland including plenty of sub-60 degree F morning temps. I have yet to see the AC light NOT lit when the system is set for Automatic operation at various times of the day. Also, I would make much different choices as to when I would choose to have the air recirculate compared with the choices made by the system in Automatic mode.

While in the end, the system achieves comfortable results, I question the need to run the AC compressor when, for example, the interior temp is set to 74 and the external temp is 62 degrees F. I question the wisdom of recircuating the internal air when it is well over 100 degrees inside the car after you have had it parked in the sun and want to cool it down (the external air temp being, say, 80 degrees F).

I would be most interested to hear from others about their experiences with automatice climate control.

Driver side floor mat. These floor mats are rubber backed carpet that reminds me of carpet used in commercial entryways which is designed to capture and bury dirt particles between cleanings. Good idea, but the area under my heel is already looking worn after just three weeks. Since these were shipped with the car, I suppose I will have them replaced as needed until the warranty expires--about every 3,000 miles looks rigth for the driver's mat.

Goodyear Eagles. I am not sure if all these cars are equipped with Goodyear Eagles, but I really like these tires.

Moonroof. The moonroof booming effect is less pronounced than that of many other SUV's but is still present to a degree. Of more interest is a sound exactly like that of a squadron of B17's that commences at about 45 mph when the moonroof is open. To be honest i kind of like the sound in small doses.

What I don't like is the two stage closure switch action required. The rationale for this is apparently the notion that a young'un will be strangled should the thing close on its precious little neck. My notion is that the youngster would already be strangled by me if its parent allowed it to stand on the console in order to stick its silly little head out of the moonroof in the first place (And its little dog, too...).
 

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lanaina said:
Climate control. We have had quite a range of temperatues here in Portland including plenty of sub-60 degree F morning temps. I have yet to see the AC light NOT lit when the system is set for Automatic operation at various times of the day. Also, I would make much different choices as to when I would choose to have the air recirculate compared with the choices made by the system in Automatic mode.

While in the end, the system achieves comfortable results, I question the need to run the AC compressor when, for example, the interior temp is set to 74 and the external temp is 62 degrees F. I question the wisdom of recircuating the internal air when it is well over 100 degrees inside the car after you have had it parked in the sun and want to cool it down (the external air temp being, say, 80 degrees F).

I would be most interested to hear from others about their experiences with automatice climate control.
I just wish they still had an AC "Econ" mode as my old '03 LL Bean Outbacks did. I'd like some cool breeze without being so harsh on the MPGs...
 

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HB_Dad said:
I just wish they still had an AC "Econ" mode as my old '03 LL Bean Outbacks did. I'd like some cool breeze without being so harsh on the MPGs...
They kinda do. Turn on the A/C like normal and then turn off the A/C button (not the off button). Adjust air flow as desired as the air will still come in from the outside, but the A/C compressor will not be running. I think this is what you are talking about...

Would be nice if they had a specific button for it though.
 

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kooldak said:
They kinda do. Turn on the A/C like normal and then turn off the A/C button (not the off button). Adjust air flow as desired as the air will still come in from the outside, but the A/C compressor will not be running. I think this is what you are talking about...

Would be nice if they had a specific button for it though.
Unfortunately it is not that easy. To do this, you need to do as you say, but also reduce the temp knobs to 65 degrees and make sure the recirc is off. Also, it turns out that the systems uses both temp and ambient light sensors to decide what to do. I discovered that on an overcast day with the temp in the low 70's, I could turn the AC off, set the temp to 65, tuen the recirc off and the air coming out of the vents was STILL warmer than the ambient outside air! This feature is not very well thought out unless you simply do not care at all about fuel consumption--in which case it is perfect?! :-{
 

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Well......yeah. This is all true. Hence my use of the word "kinda". Obviously the ricirc. must be off or you won't be bringing in any outside air. The deal with the temp. control is pretty basic. In ANY mode, the unit attempts to warm air to the cabin by adding warm air via the ducts. If you do not want your outside air to be warmed, you must make sure that the temp setting is below what the cabin sensors determine is your cabin temp. This is not necessarily a bad thing and most cars that I have owned have worked the same way. It is helpful to be able to warm your outside air some if it is colder than you would like. But the controls could sure be more intuitive.

Now the fact that it uses both sensors is somewhat problematic. I had the same issue with my Linc. & my (no so elegant) solution was to place something over the light sensor under those conditions (in both the Nav and the Trib it is located on the dash). We had a red Nav & wife kept a red stuffed lobster on the dash for appearance and use for this purpose.

On a side note, I think the fact that the cabin air intake has a filter is very cool. While it requires changing every 3 months, being able to filter the air is nice.
 

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HB_Dad said:
I though this too until I started using "Sport" mode. I am not talking about "Sportshift", just "Sport" mode. To get this, flip the shifter out of "D" to the left, but DON'T change gears manually or you are committed until you switch back to D and then to Sport again.

Anyway, long story short, if you use this mode, you get quicker acceleration and smoother shifting. HP is the same, but it is used far more effectively for the most part.

I don't think MPG changes much either and might actually be better if anything as the vehicle isn't constantly shifting gears.
So we're at the end of our first tank of fuel (the B9 has 14k miles, but new to us), and I mentioned to my wife that the computer registered 15.6mpg avg. She was surprised that it was that low, but asked "is that because of Sport mode?". I gave her a funny look I guess, and she replied "because I REALLY like Sport mode". Very funny. She's always driven a van, so to her it is like a sports car, and I guess she's driving it that way.
 

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lanaina said:
7/23/06 Notes from the first week with our B9 Tribeca Ltd. 5P

Generally speaking:

Rear storage. I like the rear storage. I also like the plastic cargo mat that protects the rear carpet. Unfortunately there are two lift up storage panels and the mat is one piece. This is a problem. I am giving some thought to cutting the mat in two or removing it entirely and making my own two piece mat out of commercial entry mat material.

Gary K.
Hmmm. I dont have that plastic mat in my cargo bay. Is that a standard accessory?
 
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