2009 Subaru Tribeca Limited SUV (Tribeca) (747)


This week we’re looking at the 2009 Subaru Tribeca Limited Symmetrical All-wheel-drive SUV. AWD is the Subaru signature feature on all their products. This Tribeca is the largest size product yet for the brand, which was introduced into the US market in 2006 sporting an upside down Alpha Romeo grill inspired by an X Alpha guy. After the rejection of the grill he was also history.

Subaru has grown in popularity since its arrival in 1968, and today marks the best ever for all models across the brand in my opinion. I haven’t been a fan since the beginning but it’s hard not to warm up to the brand if only because they have stood the test of time. They’re still standing when so many others are falling by the wayside.

General Info:

Parts –  US/Canadian 45%. Japan 45%.

Assembly – Lafayette, IN, USA

Class:  – SUV

Cars: – Forester, Impreza, Legacy, Outback & Tribeca


As I consider the growth of Subaru in America I have to assume they have simply been prudent in running their business. GM and Subaru were partners for a while and it is hard to know how positive the influence was on each of them. But last year Subaru cut the ties when it was apparent GM was in trouble. Toyota may indeed be the savior of Subaru by increasing their small ownership (less than 10%) stake in the company and take control of the parent company Fuji Heavy Industries. Toyota is well run and it convinces me the basic structure and management of Subaru is good.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, American counterparts are suffering and have spent lots of money on Hydrogen technology which has been a silent issue for several years now. It’s the taxpayer who will pay the price for that R&D gone bad. They surely thought they were doing the right thing with the Hi Wire product but I’m guessing it won’t make it to market in this economy.

A parallel is the relationship of many parents who find their children come home after squandering their inheritance, and ask to be “bailed out”. Don’t you just hate when they do that. I know most parents are pained by the misfortunes of their kids but when they have wantonly squandered and mismanaged their finances that’s when tough love should kick in and you tell them to get a job flipping burgers if they have to.

Unfortunately our bleeding heart leaders don’t have the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing. Of course for the half of Americans who don’t believe in Capitalism you’ll just have to wait to see why socialism doesn’t work. In the meantime take a look at current headlines – “Putin Warns US About Socialism”. In a speech at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin said, “The US should take a lesson from the pages of Russian history and not exercise “excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence”. Hello Washington! Are you listening? George bush was wrong about the Axis of Evil… they reside in Congress. Some would say that Axis is Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Let’s face it, congress has an approval rating far less than George Bush at his worst. I say throw the bums out. How about you?

Handling & Performance:

AWD is great for handling but fuel performance will suffer and potential maintenance problems down the road are unknown for certain. However I have to say that owning an automotive repair facility for many years we didn’t see problems from Subaru’s AWD system… Audi and BMW yes, but not Subaru.


Distinctively and Consistently Subaru. But it has matured and become much more eye pleasing over the years.

Fit and Finish:

Much improved over the years.


Pricey because of all the well engineered and implemented features. Safety and handling do not come cheap.

Conveniences and comfort:

Competitive complement of creature comforts.

Consumer Recommendation:

Wow! Look at the competition and if you don’t already know this is the most profitable class vehicle for all companies. It’s a truck in a tux. If you must have an SUV because it fits your life style best you have lots to look at. I’ve tested every one of these and unless badge is ultra important to you take a look at the price points that fit your budget. Fuel economy numbers are all very much the same.

Recognized Competition:

Subaru Tribeca $30-34,000, Chrysler Pacifica $25-36,000, Mitsubishi Endeavor $28-31,000, Chevrolet TrailBlazer $29-39,000, Chevrolet Traverse $29-41,000, Kia Borrego $26-40,000, Lincoln MKX $38-40,000, Dodge Nitro $22-29,000, Dodge Durango $28-40,000, Nissan Murano $28-37,000, Buick Enclave $35-39,000, GMC Acadia $32-40,000, GMC Envoy $31-39,000, Acura MDX $41-49,000, Honda Pilot $28-40,000, Cadillac SRS $40-47,000, Saab 9-7X $43-49,000, Ford Edge $27-37,000, Suzuki XL7 $26-30,000, BMW X3 $39,700, Land Rover LR2 $35,375, Infiniti FX $42-58,000, Saturn Outlook $31-36,000, Mazda CX-9 $30-35,000, Toyota Highlander Hybrid $35-41,000, Dodge Journey $21-29,000, Nissan Pathfinder $26-35,000, Volkswagen Routan $25-38,000,

Good News:

Nice handling, styling. Competitive pricing in class. All wheel drive.

Bad News:

Only average fuel economy.

Standard Equipment:

3.6 liter horizontally opposed 6-cylinder 256 hp engine, 5-speed auto trans, symmetrical All-wheel drive, 4-wheel power disc brakes with brake force distribution, dual front & side curtain air bags, child LATCH system, daytime running lights, rollover sensor, tire pressure monitoring system, vehicle dynamic control, roof rails, fog lights, power moonroof, air filtration system, stereo with 6-disc CD changer & MP3, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, climate control, heated mirrors, wiper de-icer, leather trimmed seats, steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, power windows with driver seat memory, rear 40/20/40 split fold down seats & security system with immobilizer.

Gas Stats:

$2.23/ Gal avg. Feb 23, ‘09


for more information.

16 City and 21 Highway MPG


MSRP $34,995.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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