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Used Subaru Tribeca review: 2006-2014

2006 Subaru Tribeca
EXPERT RATING
7.2
After decades of building small and mid-sized crossover all-wheel-drives, Subaru introduced the Tribeca SUV to compete at the big end of town in the 4WD market.

After decades of building small and mid-sized crossover all-wheel-drives, Subaru introduced the Tribeca SUV to compete at the big end of town in the 4WD market. It arrived in Australia in November 2006, only a matter of months after its launch in the USA, its principal market.

Indeed, the Tribeca is built in the USA and its name (pronounced 'try-becca') comes from a New York neighbourhood near the financial district that's well known for its bustling, cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Tribeca's styling, particularly its 'koala-nose' was controversial right from the start, both in the USA and Australia. Sales were slow, possibly because of the shape, so in November 2007, well ahead of the originally planned update, it received a major facelift. This was much more subdued in its front and people started to buy the Tribeca in larger numbers.

2008 Subaru Tribeca 2008 Subaru Tribeca

Subaru Tribeca has good seating for those in the front two seat rows, but the back seat is strictly for children, preferably those of the smaller variety. The centre row of seats can slide forward to gain more legroom for the rearmost seat and/or luggage. As part of the 2007 major facelift significantly larger rear quarter windows made it easier to see out, though the rising waist means these windows are quite high and still likely to be above the eye level of smaller children.

Folding all seats behind the front buckets gives a huge load area. Subaru Tribeca has no fewer than 64 luggage/passenger combinations on offer.

Power originally came from Subaru's well known 3.0-litre flat-six engine. Its torque peak doesn't come until the engine is spinning at 4200 rpm. So the five-speed automatic transmission is pretty busy at times to keep almost two tonnes of SUV moving well in hilly country. The automatic has manual overrides as well as an sports-auto setting to give the driver some say in what's going on.

Its handling is fine if driven in a conservative manner

The engine size was increased to 3.6 litres as part of the early facelift. Torque went up from 297 Nm to 350 Nm due to the extra capacity, but its peak is still high 4000 rpm. The five-speed automatic transmission was improved with better shift control for more accurate gear changes. It also led to slightly reduced fuel consumption.

Given the number of improvements in the late 2007 Tribeca it makes a lot of sense to opt for it rather than one of the originals. Unless they are well priced, of course.

Typical of its AWD/4WD class the Tribeca is quite a heavy vehicle with a relatively high centre of gravity. Its handling is fine if driven in a conservative manner. Even pushing hard doesn't create any dramas, though it's not really happy when treated like that. Yet another component of the 2007 update was the retuning of the suspension. By now it was a pretty good vehicle, though it still didn't set the market on fire.

2012 Subaru Tribeca 2012 Subaru Tribeca

Subaru is a past master at AWD and this excellent system is backed up by electronic stability devices to further improve safety on slippery surfaces, indeed any surface.

The Subaru company has been in Australia since the early 1970s and is well regarded for its overall engineering and build quality. Particularly strong in the mountainous areas due to the added grip offered by the AWD models Subarus appeal to those looking for function ahead of fashion.

There are dealerships in metro areas and quite a few in the aforementioned mountainous regions. The networks are well organised and we have heard very few complaints about parts availability or pricing.

Though Subarus have a different design to the mainstream they aren't particularly difficult to work on. Good amateur mechanics can do a lot of their own servicing and minor repairs. Leave the big jobs and anything related to safety to the professionals, though.

The Tribeca never did really take off in Australia or the USA and was pulled from the market downunder in January 2014

The Tribeca never did really take off in Australia or the USA and was pulled from the market downunder in January 2014, however some may not have been registered until well into the year.

The Subaru Forester has grown in size it's almost in the class once occupied by Tribeca. And Forester is selling quite nicely.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Tribecas often spend time in harsh areas, particularly in snowy regions in winter. So have a good look at and under the body for signs of damage.

In particular check the lower bumper corners, the sills and the doors for scratches or other mishaps.

Look at the cabin for excessive wear especially in the rearmost area where bored kids can kick and paw at things.

Make sure the engine starts easily and idles smoothly straight away

Similarly look at the cargo compartment for scars caused by luggage.

Check the engine oil level as Subaru units seem to use more lubricant than average. If there's any doubt have a look at the service books to make sure the Tribeca has received due care and attention.

Make sure the engine starts easily and idles smoothly straight away. Ideally, do this in the morning after the engine has been off overnight.

Automatic transmissions that are slow to go into Drive or Reverse may be due for an overhaul. Similarly, if the auto holds gears too long and/or changes too often may need work.

CAR BUYING TIP

The early bird catches the worm and so the best used-car buys are often scooped up within hours of a car going on sale. Set up online notifications and/or grab a newspaper with classifieds as soon as it hits the stands.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2014 $20,460 $25,850
2013 $18,370 $23,210
2012 $14,190 $20,570
2011 $11,660 $19,250
2010 $9,680 $20,130
2009 $7,150 $19,250
2008 $6,050 $12,210
2007 $6,160 $10,780
2006 $5,830 $9,130

View all Subaru Tribeca pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$7,480
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$5,830
Highest Price
$9,130

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
3.0R (5 Seat) 3.0L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $5,830 – 8,140 2006 Subaru Tribeca 2006 3.0R (5 Seat) Pricing and Specs
3.0R (7 Seat) 3.0L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,050 – 8,470 2006 Subaru Tribeca 2006 3.0R (7 Seat) Pricing and Specs
3.0R Premium (5 Seat) 3.0L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,380 – 8,910 2006 Subaru Tribeca 2006 3.0R Premium (5 Seat) Pricing and Specs
3.0R Premium (7 Seat) 3.0L, PULP, 5 SP AUTO $6,490 – 9,130 2006 Subaru Tribeca 2006 3.0R Premium (7 Seat) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.2
Pricing Guide

$7,990

Lowest price, based on 35 car listings in the last 6 months

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