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Nissan Murano vs Toyota Highlander vs Subaru B9 Tribeca vs Honda Pilot



  • x5killerx5killer Posts: 368
    I have been looking at all the SUV's that are possible comparisons to the Tribeca. Especially the Lexus RX 330, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Nissan Murano as they are the top recommended midsize suv's according to consumer reports which i trust because it does full testing of everything including reliability and is unbiased by advertisements etc.

    Bottom line for me is like others I find the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander bland, boring, plain and other adjectives that others have said similiar. They just dont do anything for me and have small tires etc. etc. Believe it or not the MDX which is a Pilot with an A on it is much lower down on consumer reports but I still considered it and even the looks on that are just not that great and it has some definite lows like braking and others according to consumer reports.

    The Rx330 is the #1 rated midsize suv and i would maybe consider it but its pricey and my mom had one and now has the Hybrid version which is like 50,000 so thats out of question and just not for me. The Highlander Hybrid is still the same plain boring Highlander but with better gas mileage and i guess performance as well but it ends up being more then the tribeca and again its still the same looking plain Highlander.

    This leaves the Nissan Murano and its luxury counterpart the Infiniti FX. I am actually a Nissan loyalist and like the styling of these so they are prob the biggest competitor to the Tribeca for me. The FX is more expensive and is almost too car like looking and i think they both have bad rear visibility out the back window. Even the Murano comes out more expensive then the Tribeca.

    Bottom line for me is that the Tribeca is newer which though is a risk especially as it was too new for consumer reports to fully rate but it is based on the year after year recommended Outback/Legacay so its likely it will be recommended by CR. Having a model soon after it just came out adds a fun factor to it being new to you and new on the road as a model.

    Also its little things like side view mirror turn signals that the VW Touareg has but is not a recommended model, and none of these other comparative models have. And of course the puddle lights that none of these other models have. So for me its just the whole package of certain features even little details the non boring even controversial styling, its newness, based on recommended models and the fact that i can get one loaded for a better price then any of the other models similiarly equipped.

    For me it comes down to the Murano and the Tribeca which edges it out thanks to lower price and a few minor details that the Murano doesn't have.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    CR generally rates Subies very highly, Forester has been on top for years in the Excellent category and Legacy and Outback have rated Very Good. One of the few criticisms mentioned is a bit of oversteer in some situations, but the VDC models don't have that characteristic.

    Tribeca has VDC, so it's very likely they will rate it highly.

    The puddle lights are really cool, they let off a bluish hue.

  • x5killerx5killer Posts: 368
    Yeah in the latest Consumer Reports annual car issue every single Subaru (which is rare as some makes don't have a single recommended model) gets a recommended check mark which is what you want to look for and means that is a CR top pick and is an all around high performer that has scored at or near the top among competitor vehicles in their comprehensive evaluation programs, avg or better reliability, adequate crash testing etc. etc. Basically everything that really matters so its always a shame when your favorite looking car doesn't make the cut but the facts are the facts and unlike car and drive car of the year etc. and other magazines it isn't advertiser biased etc.

    Also the WRX gets #1 top pick for "Fun To Drive". The B9 being loosely based on the Legacy/Outback looks promising as the Legacy is not only recommended but scores only under the Passast, Accord and Camry in total. So it will be interesting to see what CR rates the Tribeca as it was too new and untested for the last isssue but again it looks promising and its worth the risk for the enjoyment of having it while its a new model instead of waiting for CR's April 2006 annual car issue.

    Also on a semi unrelated issue but dealing with comparisons. Why did i see a forum of ppl saying that the Tribecas front grill was ugly and then saying that the Saab version will be better? Didn't these ppl know that the Saab 9-7X has nothing to do with the Subaru B9 Tribeca and is actually just a crappy unrecommended poorly rated Chevy Trailblazer with upgraded interor and exterior appointments from a manufac with only one well rated recommended vehicles
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    "a few minor details that the Murano doesn't have."

    However, the Murano has a few not-so-minor details that the B9 does not have. I would consider memory seats, HID lights, auto up/down windows, auto-dimming mirrors, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, smart key, a little more useful than puddle lights, and turn signal on the mirrors.

    As for controversial styling, that's a draw.
  • x5killerx5killer Posts: 368
    well not to sound bias and like how some ppl just defend what they have or are set on although in that case you possibly sound like a Murano owner. But me personally I don't care about memory seats, yes i guess its useful if someone gets in and changes your seats but i'm coming from no power seat at all in a cloth Pathfinder and just dont mind that missing option or adjusting my seat each time. HID lights you can prob put in yourself by chaning the bulb, cool bulbs are important to me though I understand the tribecas to be something like direct beam or whatever they call and again I'm sure you can put some Xenon/HID bulbs in.

    Auto dimming rear view mirror it does have as an option. Tilt/telescoping wheel i've seen ppl complain about but its nothing I ever use or need so I don't mind. Smart key that unlocks when you get near or whatever and/or starts car as long as its on your person. Again dont have it so i wont miss it..

    And as far as cool bluish puddle lights that no cars have , even if it is more just novelty then useful its well pretty damn cool and again no other cars have. And turn signal on the mirror is something few other suvs have and none that directly compare and is both cool and useful. Again its all preference but I personally would rather have the puddle lights and turn signal side mirrors over any 2 of those options missing or even in place of all of them so i guess B9 is for me.

    Plus all the features it does have = or better then the competition not to mention what ends up being all on the lower price end when comparing which is a point that others brought up in defense of the missing features.
  • photoguy2photoguy2 Posts: 164
    Actually they were talking about the upcoming Saab 9-6X NOT the 9-7X. Saab recently announced that they will come out with thier own version based on the B9 platform. Now that could be FUN!
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    A clarification - Murano has tilt wheel and optional power pedal adjustment. But it does not have a telescoping wheel.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    CR also rated Subaru the most reliable brand for 2004, ahead of Lexus even. That was the first time, but they're usually up there in the top 5.

    Murano wins the longest options list race. Pretty incredible really what they offer if you're willing to pay for it.

  • tigger5753tigger5753 Posts: 43
    I think it's been well talked about the fact that the Murano does have more features, and it depends on whether you want them or not. HID can't be had by just "changing the bulbs".. it's a whole different assembly.. I did try those "HID/Xenon" like bulbs in my old Explorer, but they just has a cool look, but not very bright...

    Tho saying the the puddle lights is a cool feature is the same reasoning bodble2 is saying about the nicer features that the Murano has... to each their own...

    I did get a chance to see one parked near me last week and I'd say it looks better in person than it does in pictures.. I liked the side view alot, but the nose is still subjective.. what I don't like is the rear view..

    Time for the car mags to do a shootout on crossover suvs...
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Is overdue, no doubt...

  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    I took a Tribeca out for a second test drive yesterday. It is really growing on me. I love the Atlantic blue with the gray interior. This combo is only available in the 7 seater, oddly enough. Maybe something they will rectify next year.

    I have not made up my mind whether the 7 seater is worth it. I can see the 3rd row being useful in something as big as an Odyssey but not so sure about 3rd row in SUVs like Pilot.

    Any thoughts on how useful the 3rd row is?

    The best thing for me is it really does fit me size wise, which is not easy since I am tall. In fact it is the only Subaru that does. Well the Forester does too but that leaves no room in the back seat. It drives very well and the interior is really the best out there for the price point (Murano, Odyssey, and low end MDX being my chief competitors. The Pilot does not fit as well but I hope for some interior tweaks in the 2006 models that come out in September).

    I will say the throttle tip in point is not as smooth as it is on Honda or Acura products but smoother than the Murano.

    I do note there is no side door ding protectors in the design which will mean inevitable door dings.

    Subie has been good to us - we like our LL Bean wagon a lot and the Tribeca may be the size upgrade we are looking for. Its just hard to justify compared to an Odyssey van which gives more space and mileage for the $$ but with 1 kid and 1 on the way. may be too big.
  • middleageguymiddleageguy Chicago areaPosts: 42
    I own a 2004 Highlander with a third seat. Since it is small I didn't expect to use very much, but with teenagers and their friends have used many times. Not recommended for long trips.

    I recently drove a relative's Outback with a 4 cylinder and was impressed with the pick-up.
  • photoguy2photoguy2 Posts: 164
    I'm 6'6" and I fit GREAT in the B9 Tribeca. I've driven it for almost 2,000 miles and am very happy thus far.
  • jeffmcjeffmc Posts: 1,742
    I have not made up my mind whether the 7 seater is worth it.

    I've mentioned this to a couple other posters, too. Even if you're hardly ever going to use that third row, with the 7-passenger you're still increasing your resale value/desireability, gaining rear heat/AC controls and headliner vents, and (if you're comparing base models) adding standard heated front seats.
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    Thanks. I do want the dvd too which also adds Aux port for iPod and other MP# players. Question for those with the dvd version, is the aux port up front near the driver or hanging off the dvd player? I would prefer up front. Thanks!
  • photoguy2photoguy2 Posts: 164
    It's an RCA jack behind the 2nd row seats. If you follow my links you will see much discussion about hitching up the iPod using the AUX. No one has taken the time to look behind the radio to see if a direct connect that way is possible. My connection is very clean as it is. You should be able to click on my name in this post and see my other posts and see the discussion that way.
  • aec1aec1 Posts: 21
    Today I went over to Fitzgerald’s Automall in Rockville, MD. I did two test drives. Once w/my son and again later w/my wife (salesman in the back seat both times). I drove the 7 passenger Ltd model w/navigation, but did not fool around w/the navi system. I was more interested in handling, power and roominess. I took it down a main road to the Beltway for about 10 minutes of driving on what we call the “roller coaster” part of 495 and did some passing and lane changes and was pleased w/the responsiveness and handling. I found the B9 to be quiet, powerful enough for my tastes and ergonomically friendly to drive. I also liked the rear vents and fans on the AC system. I look to purchase in Sept/Oct and had pretty much decided on an 06 Pilot (pending a test drive). I have driven the Lexus RX330, Acura MDX, the 05 Pilot and now the B9. I really did like the B9. For my needs, I do not know if I am getting a bigger bang for my buck w/the Pilot. While I very much liked the B9, I was not “wowed” by it the way some of my fellow posters have been. Is it more fun to drive than the Pilot? Absolutely. But I am comparing a true Crossover to an SUV. The B9 is solid, looks great (my wife and I like the grill) and drives very well. I wish the back seat and cargo area were a little larger. I can’t see putting 3 adults in the back seat (2nd row, not 3rd row). I also wish it came equipped w/satellite radio. Fitzgerald’s had about 4 on the lot and I drove Silver, but really liked the Seacrest Green. The way they work is a “no-haggle” policy. They discount all of their vehicles and stick to the discounted price (I think their internet price is about 2k below MSRP and they list an Invoice price on their website. Their extended warranty 6yr/100k lists for 1870, which I think is about $800 too expensive. Anyway, those are my impressions and I will have to wait a couple of months to drive the 06 Pilot before making a decision.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Worth it for the dual A/C, as mentioned above, plus some other content. Even if you never use the 3rd row you'll recoup most if not all the difference in resale.

    Terry over in Real World Trade-in Values always asks if there is a 3rd row - that is where the demand is.

  • carsareuscarsareus Posts: 10
    Definitely agree!
    Subaru took a big chance with this new SUV look to their perpetually undefinable wagons of yesteryears, but I am glad to say that they have done it again. In a sense they have been inching towards this car with more luxurious versions of the Outback and the Forester. Smartly, they realized that they were missing out on the people who would buy a Subaru if only it had more space, and if it connoted more of a sense of of luxury. Though kind of pricey for Subaru, I would give it a thumbs up. Check out for a full list of features.
  • aec1aec1 Posts: 21
    The B9 is the first Subaru I have driven. I see where many have noted that it is pricey for a Subaru. So as a none Subie owner or enthusiast, I will say that IMO the B9 is priced competitively. The fit and finish are excellent, it drives really well and it has a solid feel to it. Even though I am still leaning to the Pilot (for my personal utility considerations), I feel that the B9 definitely is worthy of its' 30-38k price point. I have been inside a Murano as a passenger and driven the MDX, RX330 and Pilot. I believe the Lexus is at the top of the pack (and perhaps a bit above it) in terms of luxury, but the Tribeca is grouped appropriately.
  • The Tribeca is a great vehicle … until you try to back up the rear window is TINY and looks up not down, all I could see is the roof of the cars I was backing INTO … this is a disaster waiting to happen it needs back up assist or a rear view screen or something . I was out kicking the tires of all the SUV’s from a Volvo XC90 to a Pilot to a Highlander Hybrid. And I chose a Pilot.. The Pilot has plane Jane styling but that is OK with me. In Canada here the Highlander Hybrid is only available 2 ways LTD with everything and with nothing. The stripper one has no side air bags big no no, and the Limited is $53,000 Cdn, which is just crazy. There is NO discounting at Toyota for the hybrid … I got into a Pilot for which lists here for $44K for about $39K + tax and options, and that is with leather side airbags and stability control etc. and figure I can buy a heck of a lot of gas for the $14,000 + to go to a hybrid. I currently own a 2001 Highlander and I would recommend it to anyone, I just like the bit more room that I will get with the Pilot. Also if you get the Pilot EX-L you get the stability control and with the lower roll over figure for the Standard Pilot compared to the Highlander with stability control I figure with stability control it will be significantly better in rollover than the Highlander. So for my money the Pilot is a better value than the Toyota right now anyway. I just hope the Pilot will be as reliable as my Toyota has been and will hold its value as well.
    One thing more has anyone looked at hauling a sheet of dry wall or plywood only the Pilot is big enough to fit one in on the floor… the Highlander will fit it on the shock towers in a pinch, but don't go over bumps with dry wall or it will crack :( … the Tribeca has NO way of taking a 4’ anything in the back since they made the tailgate opening so dang small … same with the Volvo XC90. I guess the car designers have never seen a Home Depot. these are sport UTILITY vehicles ...
  • nowakj66nowakj66 Posts: 709
    Thanks for the tip regarding the photos. Looks like a nice set up. I do wish they would put another AUX jack up front for audio like the Honda Element and Honda Ridgeline.

    They Honda Odyssey is set up the same way as the B9 - jacks in back for the kids to hook up an xbox to the dvd screen.

    I just wish they would remember that the car payments are made from the DRIVERS seat so the AUX jack should be placed closer to that location. :-)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's what roof racks are for. I've hauled 5 sheets of plywood home in my comparatively tiny Subaru Forester. The interior would get all scratched up with the edges of the wood anyway, so wood definitely belongs outside of the vehicle.

    The Pilot is missing side curtain airbags, I'm surprised you find side air bags so important yet those aren't? Also you can't get NAV and DVD, only one or the other.

    Those iPod pics are at work, the ones photoguy2 sent me, so check the Tribeca thread for his crafty solution.

  • kflkfl Posts: 22
    ok, finally some good feedback on the Tribeca. I test drove the B9 YET AGAIN and it is growing on me more and more, BUT, now I see that Ford and Crysler are jumping in on the employee discount GM bandwagon. I wish Lexus, Nissan and Subaru would throw us consumers a bone.

    Back to the B9 v. Murano. The Murano ride for me was harsher. I like the fact that in the Subaru, I could see out the back with little worry on blind spots. I am 5'4". I think though, I am going to take it out again (the B9) and try letting the dealer allow me to back up and into a parking space. It's just a quiet ride and a quiet car.
  • Yes i did a lot of dithering back and forth on the side curtain airbags on the Pilot. and yes it does not have them and i wish it did since a lot of other vehicals in that class do.
    However it still ranked very high in the side impact tests even without them and i think that bit of extra bulk that the Pilot carries over the others will help out a bit too in a crash, as long as the laws of physics still hold true to me prevention is still the best way out of an accident.
    Re the Murano i also drove one of them and was very disappointed at the interior as it looked like something out of star wars and had a lot of scattered switches all over the place. also the ride was very harsh, it was way too rough for a car in this class and price range.
    Re hauling on the roof Not too keen on putting stuff on the roof for 3 reasons 1 it scratches up the roof racks that are exposed to the elements. 2 it is wet up there and full of snow in the winter which lasts 4 month here and 3 weight on the top is a lot less stable than weight in the trunk again these things are top heavy to begin with and even the owners manual on the highlander wars of putting weight on the top .. I guess that is why there is more need for the side curtain airbags in the smaller narrower suv's
    A couple of other things to note that i have found out. on reading the owners manual for the Pilot . 1 the Pilot has a deferential that require frequent oil changes :( in sever weather every second oil change requires a differential fluid change that can run into some bucks over the life of the car on the highlander i have now never touched any of that stuff just drove it ... also the Pilot has a more frequent oil change requirement than the Highlander. 6000Km vs 8000Km .. although the OLD toyota 3.0 L engine that i had has a history of developing engine oil sludge so really you should use Synthetic oil to help combat that. do not know how the new 3.3 engine is hopefully toyota has solved that problem.

    The real answer i would love to settle for sure what is the best car value is for a low priced toyota Highlander limited Hybrid , but alas they are just too expensive to be practical even at todays gas prices.
    As i think you can tell it for me is very hard to part with my reliable highlander but in the words of Shrek "change is good donkey" so to the pilot I will go ...
  • After test driving the Tribeca the other day, I have found that the 3rd row is pretty useless for anyone that is over 4' 5". My 13 year old son tried to sit in the 3rd row and we could not slide the 2nd row seats into a position where they would lock into place. We were thinking about getting the 7 pass model for shuttling his friends around, but the 3rd row seat is so small and uncomfortable that it just doesn't seem worth it. However if you want to get the DVD player or the GPS option, you have to get the 7 pass model. This seems really stupid, but maybe they will realize that small families and couples will want a DVD player or NAV system and they will have that be an option for the 5 pass models for 2007. These options are not important to our family, but we probably would of bought them if they were available on the 5 pass model. The Tribeca is the perfect size for our family (as our son won't fit into the back seat of our '98 Forester or '93 Legacy very well anymore). The front fascia is a little bit questionable (as in WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!?!?), however the styling and quality everywhere else seems exceptional. However, the price tag is a little bit high for our family, and none of the dealers seem willing to haggle, so we will probably wait until they do a clearance on the '06 models, or buy a used that was just used as a lease. We really need this car as our son is still growing and both our Forester and our Legacy seem to be on their last legs.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The employee price programs will put pressure on all makes to reduce prices. I suspect only hybrids may be exempt from that rule.

    Remember - resale on a low priced new car will be, well, low. And in some cases it was already not so good.

    KBB value on my '98 Forester was about a grand higher than a Jeep Grand Cherokee of the same age and mileage. The Jeep was about $8 grand more when new.

    I don't have to go out on a limb to say the Murano, Highlander, Tribeca, or Pilot would hold their value better.

    Small 3rd rows still boost resale, whether they are roomy or not. Ask Terry in RWTIV.

  • photoguy2photoguy2 Posts: 164
    Yes you are forced to get the 7 Pass to get NAV etc... but for the minimal upcharge you do get a few more features than just NAV or DVD... Rear AIR and Heat for instance is only on the 7 PASS. AUX input only with DVD... I will never use my 3rd row and thus I bought the 5 pass utility tray for the back. All you really lose is the under floor storage which is minimal anyway...
  • ever wonder where the front end comes from ? looks sort of like a Alpha Romeo to me and Guess what the designer of the tribeca comes from that company .... now i know LOL
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