Subaru try harder

Aimed di­rectly at the Yanks, Soob’s first seven-seater was a petrol-slurp­ing eye­sore

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­


THERE are times when car­mak­ers get it hor­ri­bly wrong. As Ford did with the AU Fal­con and Leyland did with the P76, so did Subaru with the Tribeca.

So ugly was the Tribeca that Subaru launched in 2006 that just a year later it rushed an up­dated, much bet­ter-look­ing car to the mar­ket. It’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine what com­pelled Subaru to come out with the first it­er­a­tion.

The new model made good on all the crit­i­cisms lev­elled at the first model.

It looked much bet­ter, had a big­ger en­gine and a new trans­mis­sion. There were two wagon mod­els in the range — the R and the Pre­mium — each avail­able in five or seven-seat lay­out.

The changes to the styling, par­tic­u­larly the front, trans­formed the car and made it much more ap­peal­ing to the eye. The rear was also given a tidy up, but it was mi­nor in com­par­i­son to the ma­jor surgery that took place up front.

In­side, the cabin was lit­tle changed. The third row of seats in the seven-seater ver­sion was im­proved but that was about the strength of it.

En­larged from 3.0-litres to 3.6, the re­vised flat-six had al­most 18 per cent more torque and more than 5 per cent more power. The ex­tra torque gave the Tribeca much-needed lowdown grunt and greater smooth­ness.

The new driv­e­line — Subaru re­vised the five-speed sports auto — made the Tribeca a much more com­fort­able per­former on the road.


We have had very few com­plaints about the Tribeca. If there’s one that has been con­sis­tent its about the fuel econ­omy, or lack of it.

The trade also gives the Tribeca the tick of ap­proval. A Subaru wrecker we know well says he rarely gets any calls for en­gines or gear­boxes, the only Tribeca parts he sells are mi­nor trim parts that might break.

There have been three re­calls af­fect­ing the Tribeca in Aus­tralia. The first was in 2008 and re­lated to the pos­si­bil­ity of the lat­eral link in the rear sus­pen­sion crack­ing and ul­ti­mately break­ing. The re­sult of break­age could be the loss of con­trol of the ve­hi­cle.

Another re­call in 2008 re­lated to the sen­sor for the sta­bil­ity con­trol, which could have been mounted in the wrong po­si­tion and af­fect the op­er­a­tion of this im­por­tant safety fea­ture. In 2010 there was a re­call re­lat­ing to a pos­si­ble in­ter­fer­ence be­tween the front door latch ca­bles and win­dow reg­u­la­tors that could cause the doors to open un­ex­pect­edly when the win­dows were op­er­ated.

Check any car you’re con­sid­er­ing buy­ing to make sure it has been back to the dealer for the re­call work. If you can’t find any ref­er­ence to the re­calls in the log­book, walk away or ask the owner for other con­fir­ma­tion. Check also that your prospec­tive pur­chase has been main­tained ac­cord­ing to Subaru’s rec­om­men­da­tion.


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