Your thoughts on 2009 Subaru Tribeca vs Toyota Highlander - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 16 Old 04-19-09, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Your thoughts on 2009 Subaru Tribeca vs Toyota Highlander

We're shopping for a new SUV with third row seat for the occasional family visit. We test drove the following: Acura MDX, which was a nice ride and a decent size for our need. The second was Subaru Tribeca which surprisingly comparable or even better ride than the MDX. The interior quality is also comparable to the MDX and we both agree we like Tribeca better. However, the third row seat on the Tribeca is practically only for small kids. Our third was Toyota Highlander which has plenty room and decent engine with the V6. The leather interior and finish is not bad, but not as good as the Tribeca.

Based on what you get for the price. We're eliminating MDX as an option. I prefer the Subaru due to the handling but wifey likes the Highlander due to its roominess. I assume the Toyota will be reliable. However I don't know much about the Subaru. I would very much appreciate it if people can share their real life experience on the pros and cons of these two vehicles. How are the reliability, maintenance/repair cost, customer service and resale value?

Right now the Highlander seems to be the leading choice because it'll be driven mostly by my wife. I wish it could be as fun to drive as the Tribeca. Similar option with leather, etc. they are pretty closely priced. Subaru is doing 2,500 cash back. We welcome any feedback on these two vehicles or other SUV suggestions.
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post #2 of 16 Old 04-19-09, 01:35 AM
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It sounds like you really need a mini-van but aren't ready to admit that fact.
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post #3 of 16 Old 04-19-09, 01:44 AM
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I have a Subaru (WRX)...they make very reliable cars. Mine has never needed anything done besides regular maintenance and I'm at 130k. My sister has a Forester and loves it. My brother has an Outback and loves it, and he has worked at car auctions and dealerships and has driven many vehicles. His wife has the Tribeca and she loves it.

Toyota's are nice too though, not familiar with that model.
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post #4 of 16 Old 04-19-09, 01:59 AM
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Check out, look at the reviews by the people that own them.
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post #5 of 16 Old 04-19-09, 09:16 AM
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I drive a Subaru for work. It is a 2004 Outback I have 240000 miles on it as of yesterday. reliability is not a question. All I have done to it is 2 timing belts brakes and tires. the only failure that I have had are the the front axles once and a u-joint on the drive shaft.

Just my 2 cents
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post #6 of 16 Old 04-19-09, 07:55 PM
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We had a Subaru Outback for several years that we enjoyed, and did not have any problems with it. It was a good car for us.

I recently looked at the new Tribeca(you can also get pretty good deals on 2008 models right now) as well as the Highlander. Also test drove the MDX.

We currently have a Honda Pilot which we enjoy quite a bit, and have had no problems with whatsoever, and have been very happy with it.

Ended up going a different direction, and purchased a 2009 Subaru Forester, which we will be giving to one of our kids when they turn 16 in not too long.

The Tribeca drove well, and handled good. I did feel it had some blind spots which could be significant for some. Also depended on the engine, with respect to overall response. The Highlander drove fine. It did feel somewhat rounded out. Did not feel sporty in feeling, and rolled a bit in corners. Also felt pretty heavy at times. Nothing major, but not something we enjoyed enough to drop the necessary $$$ on.

The MDX drove nice, and felt fine. We did not like the foot space in the second row, and still feel the third row in the Pilot is better than in the MDX.(we test drove an MDX when we purchased our current Pilot, and still feel the same way versus the two of them)

As has been mentioned, check out and go to their forum areas, where you can read about realword feedback.

Also, you can find reviews from owners and reviews at,, as well as other places on the net.
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-19-09, 08:51 PM
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You should definitely check out the Honda Pilot as well. As good or better quality than Toyota and you definitely get more vehicle for the dollar.

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post #8 of 16 Old 04-20-09, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the comments. We'll check out the different review sites and weigh all the options and hopefully can come up with a decent vehicle. One thing my wife and myself agree on is NO minivan for us. The only minis allowed in our household is the strata mini.
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-20-09, 06:07 PM
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Whadda about the Ford Flex? Mazda CX-9? Chevy Traverse (or one of it's twins)? Not a fan of domestics? If you have the time, what harm could it be to take a test drive to see how they compare?

IIWM, and in my budget, I wouldn't think twice about picking the MDX with Sports package (at a lower budget point I really like the Pilot). Car and Driver magazine awarded it first place in their luxury SUV comparison test, saying,
In comparison tests, it sometimes happens that the winner on paper — the vehicle with the superior test-track numbers — isn't the winner on public roads. Readers never fail to remind us of this, usually in letters that begin, "Dear Morons."

You'll be happy to know that this second-gen Acura MDX — which still sounds to us like a medical condition — was victorious almost everywhere it poked its gaudy grille. Check it out: Greatest skidpad grip. Highest lane-change speed. Second-quickest sprint to 60 mph. Best driving position. Best back-seat comfort. Lightest curb weight. Steering and brake feel that were tied with the BMW's. A ride as cushy as the Benz's. And a fun-to-drive rating equaled only by the Cadillac's. All of that for the lowest as-tested price.

On the freeway, even pushed by icy 30-knot sidewinds, the MDX tracked like an S-class Benz, with the sort of on-center feel you'd expect from an Audi. In turns, it took a firm and true set, requiring no midcourse corrections, always whispering to its driver, "Go ahead and nail it, chief — I may look like an SUV, but I'm actually a 300-hp wagon."

Don't get us wrong, the MDX proved plenty practical. Behind the second seat there's more cargo space than you'll find in the gigantic Land Rover, in part because this is the widest SUV in the group. And the split-folding third-row seat comes standard, although it can be accessed from the curb side only.

Complaints? The center stack's 50 buttons and switches looked like something NASA would reject. The MDX has no low-range four-wheel drive or ride-height control, although the traction- and stability-control systems mitigated that oversight. And the somber wraparound dash felt constricting to some, although it was in keeping with the MDX's anti-ute mission.

On comparison tests, early pronouncements are discouraged. But only 370 miles into this test, the Acura's grace and charisma sparked four editors to write in its logbook, "Looks like we have a winner."
USA Today's Jim Healey likes it too. Link. Don't forget to listen to his comments at the AUDIO/VIDEO link embedded in the article.

If I were married, I'd probably leave the decision 100% to the wife.
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-20-09, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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rsa wrote: View Post
If I were married, I'd probably leave the decision 100% to the wife.
Speaking like a true married man. Lots of uncertainties on the domestics right now. However, it's not like the Toyota and Honda are not made here in the US.

Somebody suggested Hyundai Veracruz; it's freaky on how close its exterior and parts of the interior resembles the Subaru. I bet the ride and reliability is nowhere as close.
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2009 , highlander , subaru , thoughts , toyota , tribeca

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