History/Description:  Subaru has earned a loyal following of shoppers with the proven safety, reliability and year-round confidence built into every vehicle they make. With standard Symmetrical All Wheel Drive (AWD) on virtually every model, Subaru owners know their machines are ready to tackle any weather or terrain, any day of the year.

For those owners who need to handle that sort of tackling with their family and things on board with room to spare, the Subaru Tribeca is a worthy choice. As Subaru’s largest vehicle, this crossover SUV blends the attributes of a minivan, Sport Utility Vehicle and a car into a dynamic and highly-functional package.

This generation Tribeca boasted an interior with seating for up to seven occupants, plenty of storage solutions, folding seats, and over 2,100 litres of cargo space for flexibility. All models got dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel and xenon lighting as standard. Optionally available are up-level entertainment features like a DVD console and a premium audio system with satellite radio.

Pet owners, outdoor sports enthusiasts, busy families and young professionals alike have all found the Tribeca useful, versatile and ready for any job. A wide range of interior organization goodies, roof-mounted cargo carriers and other accessories allow Tribeca to be fine-tuned to any lifestyle or activity.

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2008 Subaru Tribeca. Click image to enlarge

Engines/Trim: Regardless of the Tribeca model you’re interested in, Subaru’s top-line drivetrain came standard. All models were powered by a 3.6L Subaru Boxer engine with 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic with manual-mode shifting was included on all models, as was decision-free Symmetrical All Wheel Drive (AWD).

What Owners Like: Owners tend to rave about futuristic and daring styling of this generation Tribeca’s cabin, abundant interior space, uniqueness and a comfortable, quiet and relatively sporty ride and handling equation. Wintertime traction is also highly rated, especially with snow tires on board. One member of a Subaru Tribeca owner’s forum said he “never once felt at risk” in bad weather.

What Owners Dislike: Numerous owners wished for more power, complained of a small glove-box and easily-scratched paint and interior panels.

Here are some owner reviews on autoTRADER.ca.

The Test Drive: Subaru’s been known to build a solid and reliable powertrain and the Tribeca seems to be no exception. No systematic problems were readily apparent in the reliability department, and a well-maintained Tribeca should prove a trustworthy companion. Still, as a machine made of components and parts that will eventually wear down and fail, a few checks should be considered mandatory ahead of your purchase.

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2008 Subaru Tribeca. Click image to enlarge

Note that computer or sensor failures aren’t unheard of, and that these issues will tend to be apparent from the get-go on a test drive. Check the instrument cluster for any Check Engine lights or AWD system warning lights, which could indicate a problem. Note that long cranking times before the engine starts could be a sign of a weak battery, or an engine control sensor. Here’s a bit more reading.

Check tires and brakes for remaining life, avoiding models where the seller is trying to pass off an expensive brake job or worn set of rubber. If you’re unsure how to check visually, ask a Subaru dealership to complete a pre-purchase inspection for you, for maximum peace of mind.

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