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  • Truck Trend Pre-Owned: 2008-2014 Subaru Tribeca

Truck Trend Pre-Owned: 2008-2014 Subaru Tribeca

Winter Warrior

Colin Ryan
Jul 27, 2016
Photographers: Courtesy Of Subaru
The Subaru Tribeca is a foul-weather friend. This midsize crossover SUV followed on from the B9 Tribeca, based on the Legacy sedan. When the ’08 model was launched, it came with extra power, easier access to the rearmost seats, a new nose (looking more Chrysler-like), and minus the B9 designation. The Subaru marque in general is renowned for tough construction, all-wheel drive as standard equipment, and horizontally opposed engines.
Photo 2/7   |   Subaru Tribeca In A Field
The Tribeca also offers a third row of seating, which was optional for the first couple of years and then standard for the rest. It’s best for kids, but could be useful several times a year when helping out another parent on the school run, especially during winter. One big positive about the Tribeca is its ability to deal with snow and rough weather in general.
There are parts of the United States where it seems every other vehicle is a Subaru, and these are usually the places that can virtually guarantee harsh winters, such as Colorado and the Northeast. Then again, all-wheel drive and generous ground clearance can also work well in summer for those dirt roads leading to the lake. The ride is soft and passenger-friendly, so not too inspiring through the corners, but that’s really not the point of a family SUV/crossover.
Photo 3/7   |   Subaru Tribeca Seats
The second row of seats can slide forward and back. Folding them down (and the third row, if there is one) will result in 74.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Some other midsize crossovers offer more, but the Tribeca is on the smaller side. These tighter dimensions have an upside in parking lots and urban streets. In any case, the first-generation Ford Edge (only a five-seater) offers just 68.9 cubic feet.
There’s just one engine, a 3.6L flat-six making 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. This energy goes to all four wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
Photo 4/7   |   Subaru Tribeca Dash
Photo 5/7   |   Subaru Tribeca Rear View Camera
Like the rest of the vehicle, this is a sturdy engine and the virtue of its configuration means a lower center of gravity for optimum stability. But it does have a thirst: 16 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. And it’s only got a 16.9-gallon gas tank.
The 2008 version came in base and Limited trims. The base model still had 18-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning and power accessories. Limited brought leather upholstery, roof rails, heated front seats with driver-side memory settings, sunroof, and second-row temperature controls.
There have been some gripes. Checking out the Car Complaints website, the ’09 model year had a couple (seriously, just two) reports of shaking while driving. It looked like the torque converter could have been the problem here (although operator error shouldn’t be discounted, given the small number). A few other owners have taken to the Internet to share stories of brake and headlight bulbs blowing prematurely and oil leaks. The cabin’s materials also seem to have suffered from the rigors of time and use.
Photo 6/7   |   Subaru Tribeca Trunk
Potential problems with the hood latch, dodgy puddle lights, and the automatic transmission parking rod either getting stuck in Park or unable to engage Park have all prompted recalls. And the Tribeca is among the many vehicles involved in the Takata airbag mass recall.
Checking the value of a hypothetical ’11 example in Limited trim with 76,000 miles, in good condition and bought from a private party, the all-knowing Blue Book gives the figure of $14,985. For comparison, a similar Toyota Highlander Limited (with seven seats and all-wheel drive) could fetch $22,154. If five seats are sufficient, an all-wheel-drive ’11 Ford Edge, also in Limited trim, would cost around $15,857. So someone could buy a Tribeca and still have enough money for a new set of winter tires.
Photo 7/7   |   Subaru Tribeca Driving

2008-2014 Subaru Tribeca
Body type: 4-door SUV/crossover
Drivetrain: Front-engine, 4WD
Airbags: Driver, front passenger, front side
Engine: 3.6L/256hp DOHC flat-6
Brakes, f/r: Disc, disc, ABS
Price range, whlsl/retail (KBB): $8,175/$11,085 (2008, base, 3.6L flat-6), $25,053/$27,994 (2014, Limited, 3.6L flat-6)
NHTSA frontal impact rating, driver/fr pass: Five stars/five stars

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