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Subaru B9 Tribeca (B9X)



  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    First of all, TL and Legacy crash tests are irrelevant to the MDX/Tribeca comparison -- you should drop that point. The Tribeca handles infinitely better than the MDX (my opinion) which would be an overall safety advantage.

    Also, be sure you are pricing the Tribeca at about invoice to $700 over invoice, which is the going range. Check to get some real world prices. If you are comparing based on MSRP, that puts the Tribeca a couple grand higher than it should be.

    I agree with the earlier post that the Subaru AWD is superior, but this doesn't matter to most people (enthusiasts like me appreciate it though, and it's one reason the Tribeca handles so well).

    My main concern about the MDX is that the current generation is about to be replaced with an all-new, totally revised 06 model. The current generation is dated at this point (still a good vehicle though). Anyway, I would not be surprised if the 05 last-gen MDX depreciates faster than the 06 new-gen Tribeca. Something to keep in mind.

    In every other respect, I think you have the basics pretty well defined. If you are really set on the MDX, then wait a few months -- perhaps the 06 model will be even more compelling. If not, the deals on leftover 05 models will be even better.

  • jandj94jandj94 Posts: 17
    A few points:

    Smaller gas tank yes, but the best mileage in this class. May be a wash.

    You're comparing a traditional luxury brand to Subaru- who while they've come a long way from "Inexpensive and built to stay that way"- is not known for their luxury, but rather dependability and utility.

    I was offered a rear sonar by my dealer- obviously aftermarket, but covered under the warranty.

    My father in law, Rick, has an MDX. While it's nice, I enjoy spending time in my Tribeca much more. Maybe it's the Feng Shui I mentioned in a previous posting.

    I think with the accessory subwoofer, the stereo is better than the premium system Rick got in his MDX- and he's jealous of the fuller sound in my Tribeca (as he was in my Legacy). He's also jealous of the 'sport {manual] mode' my car.

    Regardless- Acura makes a superb product; and you can't go wrong. But you're not really comparing apples to apples. I agree that since the 2006's are just around the corner, it may be a good idea to wait and see. Good luck either way.
  • njswamplandsnjswamplands Posts: 1,760
    interior is very nicely done. the curved dash is nice.

    however that nose still made me cringe in person. so my yucks at the photos translated to yucks in real life. i did not find the rear objectionable like some others. the side view was good.
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    I got some really good replies, and thanks for that.

    The smaller gas tank is a small issue, but an issue nonetheless. The B9 only gets 1MPG better in the city and the same highway MPG as the MDX. Since we do a lot of roadtrips, a larger gas tank is an advantage, but certainly not a breaking-point.

    I could also care less that the Subaru's AWD system is better than the MDX's 4WD system since I live in Dallas and our weather is usually sunny. If I were up North, however, it would be a concern.

    The Bose stereo in the MDX isn't at all great, just like many automobile Bose systems (Envoy comes to mind). However, adding a set of 4 for $99 Infinity Reference speakers really clears it up, making it better than the Murano's Bose, SRX's Bose, and Highlander's JBL - yet it's not at all as nice as a Harman-Kardon system. The Bose in the Touring is up-to-par with the 160-watt B9 stereo.

    I'm also doubtful that the MDX will lose a lot of value when the 2006 model comes out. From what I've read, the 2006 refreshed MDX will get Variable Cylinder Management (VCM), upgraded stereo and NAV system, new interior, and refreshed exterior with 18" wheels. To me, all that is nice, but I like the 05s too and the price seems to be unbeatable.

    While I'm slightly leaning towards the MDX, I'm still up-in-the-air when it comes to choosing between the two. I love the B9's slightly sportier handling, but I like the MDX's feature list more.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    I could also care less that the Subaru's AWD system is better than the MDX's 4WD system since I live in Dallas and our weather is usually sunny. If I were up North, however, it would be a concern.

    See that's the problem -- most consumers miss the point. The real issue is that the MDX is a front-drive platform with a transverse engine and a part time AWD system. It's essentially the Odyssey platform beefed up for SUV duty. In contrast, Subaru uses a symmetrical AWD system with a longitudinal engine/drivetrain and a low center-of-gravity engine architecture. The overall system is elegant, lightweight, compact, and very efficient in terms of packaging and driving dynamics. You get that benefit 100% of the time, regardless of the weather. Now, this probably doesn't matter to a lot of people, but if you are appreciating the Tribeca's handling (despite the excellent ground clearance) then you understand the benefit.

    Last time I drove an MDX was back in the fall of 2001, but I really noticed body lean and a tippy feeling when cornering. One thing that really impressed me when I test drove the Tribeca a few weeks ago was how flatly it cornered for a minivan-ish SUV.

    I guess my question -- is there an SUV that has it all?? The features/amenities of the MDX (which are top notch) along with the handling and driving dynamics of the Tribeca? That would be something to look for.

    BTW, the 06 MDX is not a refresh -- it's a major redesign. Following Honda's typical cycle, this will be all new. And knowing Honda, it will be a major improvement -- they have a heritage of one-upping themselves in some remarkable ways. Variable displacement alone would make me wait for the new one! Think about how much better the new Odyssey is than the last one -- that's essentialyl the basis for the upcoming MDX.

  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    Thanks for explaining it to me - the B9 sounds to be much better in the traction department.

    One quick question, however: Does the B9 deploy the airbags during a rollover? The MDX states it does, as do other midsize utes, but I can't find it listed for the B9.
  • ejb1ejb1 Posts: 3
    I live in Europe and I am considering importing Tribeca from the U.S.A. I have already read a lot of usefull info here, thanks folks. However, I do not know what exactly puddle lights are and how they look. I would be very thankfull for any photo or at least description. Thanks a lot.
  • dorrdorr Posts: 4
    I thought I would chime in and say that last Thursday I joined the Tribeca elite and took delivery of my Mahogany Red 7 Passenger Limited. Having traded in a '99 Odyssey with 156,000 miles I must say that I absolutely love the Tribeca. This is my first Subaru experience so in about 6-7 years I'll chime back in and let you know how it was.

    I very much like the fact that the Tribeca is different and this is one of the reasons why I choose the Mahogany Red as it appears that there are not as many of them available. The nose/grill is distinctive, the interior is just plain cool, the ride is outstanding, the handling is superb, and the fit and finish is excellent. In all I am extremely pleased with my purchase and am looking forward to a long future with my Tribeca.

  • photoguy2photoguy2 Posts: 164
    Welcome aboard David! Looking forward to your contributions on this site. ENJOY! :)
  • foxbat121foxbat121 Posts: 211
    While most have been discussed above, here are my 2 cents (I got to sit in a MDX almost daily):

    (1) Mid console A/C vent, aka 'ball cooler', for send row only on MDX vs 4 roof vents for both 2dn and 3rd row seats on Tribeca

    (2) Very boring interior design in MDX

    (3) Questionable reliabilty. I have seen rear A/C being problematic. My friend already spent $1k to fix it. On top of that, Acura seems still have no clue about the brake clunking noise after 5 years.

    (4) No dual zone front A/C control.

    (5) 3rd row heat rest needs to be assembled and stored in separate places everytime you use it or flip it down.
  • foxbat121foxbat121 Posts: 211
    There were pictures posted in this thread a few pages back.
  • kmartinkmartin Posts: 427
    Hi, ejb1. I have a few puddle light pictures at this link (others here have posted some as well):

    Scroll to near the bottom...they are essentially additional exterior nightlights that shine on the ground below each of the four doors. They come on when you disengage the alarm or first turn off the ignition (and all the interior lights come on). They are bluish in color, and add additional visibility, just in case you might step in a puddle or on rough pavement, etc. Very cool-looking but quite functional. They are a factory-installed option ONLY (can't add them later).

    -Karen in AZ-
  • subienewbie2subienewbie2 Posts: 458
    This is my first subie so I can not speak to comparisons with other models.

    Regarding blind spots, As I stated backing up and parallel parking in particular is an issue. But is basically addressed for $100 to $300 (if you are a DIYer or not) by getting a rear park assist installed as I will.

    When you are in DRIVE and going forward - I have not found any visibility issuses, if you have properly set your side view mirrors. From my observations over the years most drivers do not know how to set the mirrors to maximize viewing what coming uo on you or next to you in the other lanes.

    Most drivers seem to keep thier mirrors tucked in far too much, to the point that they can see the sides or rear corner of their car. That is totally wrong & IMHP quite dangerous.

    If your 3 mirrors are set correctly you should see a vehicle in both lanes on either side of you . When cars a quite a distance back your rear view mirror will allow you to see all that is going on behind you.

    As a car closes in on you, your side mirrors should be set far enough out so they pick up the car before you can no longer see it in your rear view mirror. I try to set mine so I can see the car about 8 to 10 car lengths before I lose it in the rear view.

    If the side mirror is totally set correctly you should be able to see the car that is closing on you until it almost next to you and you can see it with your peripheral vision before the side mirror loses it.

    With properly set mirrors a driver should see almost everything he or she needs to by glancing into the mirrors. Hopes his helps.
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    Hmm, nobody answered my question! Well, maybe bold can help me out. Does the Tribeca deploy the side-curtains during a rollover and is there a link on the internet to show me? I've tried the Subaru website, but it says nothing about that. Please answer, we're planning to purchase one or an MDX by Wednesday.

  • popa_sezpopa_sez Posts: 16
    I am not sure at the moment, but I will try rolling mine over tonight,
    and let you know what the outcome is.

  • subearusubearu Posts: 3,613
    Patience Grasshopper, weekends are sometimes slow around here. bold is just like shouting (ALL CAPS), it's not necessary. You'll likely get a reply before your purchase Wednesday.

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    While you're waiting for an answer specific to the B9 you may be interested in this article which discusses airbag protection in rollovers.

    tidester, host
  • x5killerx5killer Posts: 368
    I agree that the MDX awd is not as good as the B9's nor does it handle nearly as well. And I would add that the reason it is the same for the Pilot is because the MDX is a Pilot with an A on it and the Pilot is Minivan (Honda Odyssey?) with 4 doors. So I would never see that in the running with the Tribeca.

    Also, I would not say the best choices along with teh B9 are the BMW X5. That is not a Consumer Reports recommended model at all so no. The Lexus Rx 300/330/400h yes as that is the #1 pick and to contradict myself a little bit after saying they were the same but ironically the Pilot is #2 overall in recommended mid size suv models, Highlander 3 and Murano at 4.

    The MDX is recommended along with the Infinity FX but further down in overall rating.

    But would just have to reiterate that the X5 would not be best choice along the B9. Don't get me wrong I do like some BMW despite my nick name here. The 3 series and 5 series were consistently top rated models year after year until recently with redesign etc. and which point there really is no good bmw models right now. And I do want to clarify about nick that It really mostly pertains to the BMW 3.0 model which I think the B9 kills while I understand that the 4.4 and 4.6 models with gas guzzling v8 engines would probably smoke a B9 in a race they are not well rated models any of them so no still not a best choice along Tribeca.

    Also, I would say over of those top 4 rated mid size suv models I mentioned that the B9 is most similiar to the Nissan Murano and why I feel that is its main competition. So maybe my nick should be the Murano killer though even those 2 being most similar to me are diff enough that I dont know that the B9 is taking away a lot of Murano sales but maybe.

    I would say definately though that the Tribeca is the killer of all other suvs (besides maybe the FX) in handling.

    I really wish they would make it with a better, faster, more hp and tourque engine though and better yet hybrid. Any chance of putting in a RX 400h gas electric hybrid v6 engine with 280 or whatever hp that performs like a V8 and gets 30mpg. Now thats what you should be going for but its 50,000.

    Speaking of hybrids I am worried that I will actually like the new Highlander redesign in 2007 as it will be available in a hybrid that will prob also get great speed,hp, tourque etc. so i just hope the B9 retains its value till then even though i bought I would trade sooner then normal for a reasonably priced hybrid with styling and options etc. that I like.

    I am worried that I will like the new MDX redesign that I am hearing about. But while i'm sure it will be nice, i dont think it will be available in a hybrid model as there is no Acura yet and only 1? honda model. Plus its still based on a minivan so I'll keep my B9
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    I'd really like to get a base FX35 RWD, but the B9 and MDX offer so much more for less money with the added security of using all the wheels for traction.

    And I keep hearing these complaints of how the MDX is based on a minivan platform. It's actually based on an enlarged Accord platform, which conincidentally is the basis of the Odyssey. One could even say the B9 is based on a station wagon, but it's actually an enlarged sedan platform.

    Anyways, 2006 MDX changes are listed on and it looks like no VCM nor big changes. I figure that I might, MIGHT get the MDX considering the good deal I'm getting. But I'll be heading over tomorrow to both the Subaru and Acura dealers to renegotiate and look over the cars again.

    Wish me luck!
  • x5killerx5killer Posts: 368
    I know what you mean by people thinking the Tribeca is a Lexus or similiar to the RX as I was parked behind an RX 400h and someone thought it was the same car which would be a real compliment and I only wish it had the same high performance 30mpg hybrid engine with more hp then the b9.

    I must say though that that is only ppl who really dont have much of a clue or take only a quick glance.

    The bottom line is though is that the Tribeca looks almost exactly like the Alfa Romeo 147 from the rear and sides. Look up the 147. Yes sadly it is a hatchback car but I have to disagree with you on the rear looking like a toyota matrix or vibe. That was just the front end to me that had a low feeling. The back and side despite looking exactly like afore mentioned Alfa Romeo model look very much modern day car like suv ie. RX, Murano etc.

    The side and rear looking exactly like a certain Alfa model is especially funny since most ppl said Alfa of the front grille which really besides the center grille nothing else in the front is like any other Alfa models. Also, the Tribeca does not look much at all like the pictures of the Alfa suv concept.

    Regardless again of it looking exactly like a certain alfa car model from rear and sides I think it looks very much suv from both and I like them both and think of it as a plus with the alfa styling.

    I did notice though that the RX's fog lights are set much higher then the Tribecas and feel like though it would have been copying and then making it just like 2 other vehicles out there that Subaru should have set those open "wings" under neath the whole front end like the Cayenne and Touareg instead of on either side of the grille and just set the front bumper overall with a higher and more agressive substantial for lack of a better word front end while maintaining the sporty feel to it.
    In fact If I could request a side by side picture of the front end of the Touareg and especially the Cayenne which is more similar to the B9's headlight shape and placement. Though you prob wont be able to tell how the Cayennes front end is so much higher off the ground then the B9 but you will see what I mean with placement of the open air intakes.

    And my stance on the front while thinking it is actually less Alfa besides the center grille i guess, I just felt like it was a little low thats all and that why i mentioned those wagon models but that was being a a little harsh as the b9 is way better then those and I am mostly over the whole front bumper is too low phase anyway and have always liked from the start pictures to in person like the front end and also have all onlookers, freinds fam and strangers like the front end and not one single dislike of it.

    Oh and just to clear up what you said overall as you seemed to act like you were agreeing with me in some way and taking it one step further. In no way do i htink the B9 is as lame as the Matrix or Vibe overall and looks way better and is just way better and way more suv like overall and yes worth the price. If you really think those models are similiar for so much less then get one but noone else will think so. I was talking specifically about the very front bottom end being low thats all.

    Also, I mentioned it in another post I believe but.... THERE WILL BE NO SAAB VERSION OF THE B9 TRIBECA!
    not meaning to yell but just to get the point across once and for all. Saab is now using a diff platfrom for that model and speaking of Pontiac its one of theres and i'm sure you can look it up. So good look waiting for the saab as I wouldn't want the Chevy Trailblazer based saab suv or the new one based on pontiac plat.
    The B9 is safe as a completely unique and original model... at least for now.
  • ejb1ejb1 Posts: 3
    Hi Karen and others! Thanks a lot for the info and of course great pictures. Everything is clear now and puddle lights seem to be a nice option. Good luck with your Tribecas. Hope to join you soon.

  • njswamplandsnjswamplands Posts: 1,760
    the trifecta nose is not a deal breaker unlike the persons who should be shot for that mitsubshi nose. i have never seen an uglier lineup, that nose needs to be broken and reset.
  • c_hunterc_hunter Posts: 4,487
    This has been on-again off-again, but the latest decision is that it will happen.

  • foxbat121foxbat121 Posts: 211
    The question is whether or not Saab can survive long enough for it to happen. The WRX rebadging didn't do well.
  • kmartinkmartin Posts: 427
    You are quite welcome, EJB...that's what we are all here for.

    Now for the hard part...picking out the right color :) Good luck!

    -Karen in AZ-
  • saustinsaustin Posts: 68
    We ordered the optional roof rack with the B9 but now have decided to add the bike rack and was wondering how others have made out with the bike rack on the B9 ?
    Hope it does not add too much height to the car as we need to get it under the garage door.
    Is this a big or little deal to install for the dealer ?

    Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks, Steve.

    p.s. We are FINALLY up to 21.6mpg.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    First off, both are fine choices so ignore what anyone says and buy the one that quickens your pulse the most. Period.

    The differences above are minor IMO. You can save a couple grand up front, but my guess is in teh $36-38k range that's not the top priority for you.

    You can use regular fuel, I think the MDX requires premium. You might do a little better on mileage.

    Tribeca is a bit lighter, MDX is carrying about one football player's worth of ballast. IMO the Tribeca handles better for that reason.

    VDC AWD is rear-biased. MDX is primarily FWD, while the Subie is tuned more like the German SUVs. I think you will feel the difference, and yes, even in Dallas.

    Side impacts will be fine. Outback aces this and the Tribeca is 5" higher in the seating position. This test is all about height compatibility. Tribeca will ace it, I'd bet on that.

    Subaru Bucks - get a Chase Subaru credit card and start piling up the Subaru Bucks. We've already spent $400 worth. Use it for free service, someone got new tires with them, whatever. It adds up.

    Like I said, though, those are all minor in the big picture.

    I think the real difference is that the Tribeca is new and unique. Everyone has an MDX and noone even notices them any more. That's fine if you want anonymity, depends on what you want. Tribeca will get more attention and responses, both positive and negative, but it will get you noticed.

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