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Old 07-20-2005, 07:49 AM   #1
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It seems that a lot of Subaru fans got it wrong. The specs for the B9 have been out for months, so why is anyone surprised at the outcome? It seems that there were a lot of uneducated folks out there, or maybe people are just more likely to believe ad copy over real world numbers. The boxer engine in the B9 produces it's peak torque late in the game, but the power is there once you push the revs a bit. A bit more low end grunt would be welcome, but the required power for spirited driving and passing is all there. It was never going to be a STI SUV or faster than the very fast Jeep in it's current form. Still, a lot of people are moaning over 0-60 times that are typical for the class. In real world driving the B9 has all the power it needs and at highway speeds there is plenty of power, even more evident in manual mode. The fact that the B9 handles better than much of the competition seems lost on too many people, along with the vast array of standard items and comfort level that exceeds the Lexus 330 for a lower price. The interior fit and finish is about equal to the MDX but is a great ergonomic leap over most others overall. By comparison the BMX X5 looks terribly dated and the Murano interior is still a squeak fest. And let's not forget that this is a SUV with a far more advanced body to handle impacts. No tests yet, but this may be their safest car yet. Finally...it's a Subaru, with one of the best AWD systems from a company that specializes in them like no other. In the end the main complaints about the B9 appear to be that the car doesn't exceed it's specifications. Somehow turning the typical SUV into a better handling driving environment is not worthy? On their first try Subaru has designed a SUV that costs less than a BMW X5, yet delivers a vehicle on the same level. Considering the lengthy evolution of others in this class, the B9 gets things mostly right from day one. That's impressive.
So what's not to like? The looks? Well, people are pretty split on that one, but most people we encounter like it. The most common comment: "It looks so much better in person."
I think so too. This is the best SUV for under 40K on the market, especially if you actually enjoy driving. I expect more power and even better handling to come. It'll always be an SUV of course, but no one's perfect.
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Old 07-20-2005, 08:58 AM   #2
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Sounds like you're trying to justify your purchase? If you like it, good for you! I couldn't stand the exterior styling of the front and rear no matter how good the interior looked, I've owned my faster Honda pilot for three months and it's been great. Thanks for supporting Subaru, your money is helping design my future car.
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Old 07-20-2005, 09:32 AM   #3
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The Pilot (a good car) is quite crude compared to the B9 and other cars in it's class. It's AWD system is also well below the Subaru's sophisticated system. The Pilot is simply not in the class of a Tribeca, MDX, X5 or Murano, all designed with more luxury as well. The Pilot was also a noisy harsher ride with no payback in handling. It's a good car, but I'd only buy one if I couldn't afford one of the others listed above. Then again I probably wouldn't because it's not even a true full time AWD car and shuts down AWD when anti lock kicks in. It also doesn't handle very well, while the B9 can be quite a bit of fun. I don't recall the Pilot having a manual shift mode...does it? On the other hand, I met a fellow two weeks ago who bought a nice one for 27K pretty well loaded (DVD, leather, great stereo)...not a bad value.
As far as the looks go...quite subjective of course and you're entitled to your opinion of course.
Not trying to justify anything...I just love the Tribeca. I also really like the MDX and BMW X5 as well which I'd also suggest to anyone seeking a great SUV at the 35-40K price point. Again, I'm NOT knocking the Pilot. Every car has it's winning points and the Pilot has plenty, especially for a SUV costing 30K or less.

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Old 07-20-2005, 11:47 PM   #4
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i agree with the 1st post.. beautifully put.. after sitting in many test drives it truly doesnt compare with the honda pilot.. only the likes of lexus acura and bmw.. and its definitely an amazing 1st shot into the 33k plus realm
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Old 07-21-2005, 07:45 AM   #5
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Actually kind of funny since the guy suggests that I'm trying to justify the B9, but he's talking about his Honda Pilot in the Subaru Tribeca forum! Sounds like buyer's remorse to me.

Robert B
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Old 07-21-2005, 08:38 AM   #6
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No remorse at ALL! I have been a Subaru fan/owner for a long time, the B9 is not big enough to suit my needs. If it were the proper size, the styling alone would have killed it for me. Comparing a B9 to the MDX, RX330 and especially the X5 is just silly, the price difference is too great and moves them to a different segment of the market. I think the Pilot, Murano, Highlander, and B9 are a better matchup, at least they were for us when we were shopping for our "SUV". I've been a member of this board for almost four years, I didn't just come to the Tribeca forum as some troll Honda owner. Good luck with your new vehicle!
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Old 07-21-2005, 01:50 PM   #7
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I think the Pilot, Murano, Highlander, and B9 are a better matchup, >>>


You are aware that most reviews out there are in fact comparing the B9 to the X5 and others in that class, right?
The Pilot's AWD system knocks it completely out of the class. I like the Murano, but it was too small for me. The Highlander's handling was less than wonderful compared to the B9, MDX and so on. But let's get serious. The Pilot is an around town utility driver and I wouldn't even rank it against the Highlander. The Pilot's AWD system is not the real deal. Right now the B9, X5 and the Lexus are my top picks. I loved the MDX, but a redesign is coming.
Some professional comments about the B9...

From Autobile Magazine:
"The Tribeca not only looks different from most mid-size SUVs, but it drives differently, too-which is to say, better."

From CarPoint: On the roads of northern California, where Subaru chose to first show the B9 Tribeca to the world's motoring media, it's soon apparent that it's a much more capable car, dynamically, than the refined but tangle-footed Lexus.

From Motor Trend: The Tribeca doesn't mind being tossed around, as reflected it it's 61.2 MPH slalom speed, faster than the X5, Pilot, Murano and V8 Taureg. Braking is stellar, in sedan territory and beats most rival SUVs.

From Autoweek: With its standard 18-inch wheels, stability control and symmetrical all-wheel-drive system (under normal conditions torque is split 45/55 front to rear), the Tribeca remains composed and fun to drive over sinuous routes.

From Car UK: The Tribeca will rub its wide shoulders with off-roaders such as the BMW X5, Volvo XC90, Mercedes M-Class and Land Rover Discovery. That's a talented bunch of adversaries, but given the Tribeca's key strengths - individuality, versatility and driver engagement - Subaru shouldn't have too much difficulty meeting its sales goal of shifting a thousand Tribecas a year. Think of punting about a slightly bigger Legacy and you'll get the idea - fine body control, a superbly damped and supple ride despite those standard-fit 18-inch wheels, and relaxed but direct, feelsome steering.

From Car & Driver: Ride motions are securely damped by the Tribeca's strut-front and multilink-rear suspension to the point where you'd describe the ride as firm rather than plush, but it's supple enough to avoid any accusations of harshness. Generous anti-roll-bar diameters on both axles quell any wallowing motions in curves, and the rack-and-pinion steering provides extremely good path control.

From Motor Trend: Subaru gave this SUV a ride grandma won't complain about, yet made sure it would it would hold it's own on canyon roads. If you love driving and have to step up from a sports sedan, the Tribeca is a great way to go!

From Car Seeker: Throughout my drive, I continually saw the fine compromise between ride and handling on the Tribeca. While it isn’t a sports car, the vehicle handled twisty country roads quite well.

From MSN: On the tight, twisty roads of the Tomales Bay area north of San Francisco, there were definitely times when it would have been more fun behind the wheel of a Subaru WRX STi, but for an SUV the B9 Tribeca held its own.

From Car and Driver: The flat-six does shine at speed, however—say, when making a pass on the highway—and possesses enough power to justify the “sport” in SUV. With communicative steering, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, and big footprints, the B9 is impressively flat through turns and treats passengers to a compliant ride that still offers enough firmness to encourage you to take the back roads to Woodstock.
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Old 07-21-2005, 02:03 PM   #8
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So you love MDX and not Pilot? You are aware they share the same AWD system/drivetrain?
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Old 07-21-2005, 02:25 PM   #9
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So you love MDX and not Pilot? You are aware they share the same AWD system/drivetrain?>>

We never got serious about the MDX because an update for it is in the works. But if it has the same AWD system that's too bad and I'm glad we went with a better system. Beyond that the MDX had a nice cabin, but made more noise.
The B9 continues to impress us any everyone who rides in it. It's ability to cruise at higher speeds quietly and composed is really impressive. At 70 MPH it's more quiet than the Lexus or even a new Mercedes 500!

Robert B
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Old 07-22-2005, 03:27 AM   #10
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Reading those glowing reviews, I guess it's a shame I'll never go any closer to this car than I came today. I had five hours to kill, trapped in a suburban dealership on a broiling day, too hot to go anywhere, while my Forester got its 30K transfusions. I had all the time I needed for a test drive. Hell, GM was even offering 24-hour test drives in radio ads this morning. But all I could manage was a brief inspection that confirmed onece again, IMHO, this car is too damn ugly to see the light of day. What a confusion of conflicting arcs and angles, of needless ornament, of baroque shapes not formed into fenders since the days of tailfinned Buicks (check those tailights, for example).All led fdown the road by the face of a grinning anteater!

One styling detail summed up this bad impression perfectly, I noticed the little triangular windows between the door and windshield. They seem to be some postmodern reference to old-fashioned openable vent windows, which in the pre-AC days were so appreciated. But these windows don't open, and are so small and deeply shrouded and oddly located that you can't see anything through them. Then I noticed a defroster vent on the dash below them. There's something about that notion-- a window without a view, that must be defrosted -- that epitomizes a styling aesthetic that seems bloated, needless and useless. Just the opposite of the useful & efficient car my Forester is. Funny, I find the Forester much more attractive, because it's not trying so hard.
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Old 07-22-2005, 06:50 AM   #11
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But all I could manage was a brief inspection that confirmed onece again, IMHO, this car is too damn ugly to see the light of day. What a confusion of conflicting arcs and angles, of needless ornament, of baroque shapes not formed into fenders since the days of tailfinned Buicks (check those tailights, for example).All led fdown the road by the face of a grinning anteater!>>

I won't argue looks of the car. If you don't like it you don't like it. All I know is that I've never recieved so many compliments on any car, with the possible exception of my old restored MG. The only odd thing is that most of the folks who like it are not very young. Maybe their eyesight is bad! I think the front end looks retro and "interesting" to them. The rear of the car, which many folks do like, is actually the view that has grown less attractive to me. I think it's because it looks like too many other cars from that angle.
On the other hand my wife is 37 and she thinks it's one of the few cars around with any personality at all. But the same can be said for most Subarus. If looks were a priority I would never buy any Subaru...and yet I just convinced my father to buy a Forester XT instead of a Chevy HHR. He hated the looks of the Forester of course, but after reading about what the car is beneath the skin....he ordered one.
We've all gotten used to the Forester's looks, but from the viewpoint of someone who owns a Boxter or even a Audi wagon, a Forester calling a B9 ugly is like Orson Wells telling John Candy he's too fat.

PS: What IS the deal with those tiny windows!? Still love my beca!

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Old 07-27-2005, 12:25 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobsprit

PS: What IS the deal with those tiny windows!? Still love my beca!
Having loaned my dads B9 for a two weeks - he ordered one of the first (sold his 03 Lincoln Navigator) - I must say I absolutely love the car. That said the tiny windows allow you to see pedestrians since the A-pillar is quite large on the B9; very useful in San Francisco! The B9 is quieter, more refined and better handling then any other SUV I have ever driven, but as nice as the B9 is I still would not trade my Forester XT for the B9: I prefer raw performance over luxury
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Old 07-27-2005, 01:15 AM   #13
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I'm all for spotting pedestrians, but they'd have to be very small or quite far away to be seen through those two-inch triangles. I must sit taller in the car than you, cyrxpl, because I can see nothing through them, around their thick frames. The visibility in this car seems worse than my Forester, due to the steeper windshield slope. That's one feature of modern aero cars that I HATE. It contributes to glare and dash reflections, makes for especially bad forward vision once you pick up a few years' worth of rock & sand pits on the windshield, and the plunging A-pillar can obscure a lot of sidewalk.

My opinion is nothing more than my own. But I share it to dare to be the first to say this show dog, the B9, looks like an overstyled mongrel. A poodle comes to mind. IMHO. But what really matters is what the next dozen folks say on this subject, now that I've broken the ice.

The Tribeca is not alone in its drive toward automotive ugliness. Pontiac, Mazda and even VW are sucked into the trend of excessive ornamentation and garish effect-- just compare the new Jetta to the simple but graceful shapes of previous models. Perhaps by giving points for authentic, unfussy design, I'm showing my age. I am over 50, just, but I appreciate the design of mac computers and a few of today's vehicles. The Ford Freestyle strikes me as a sleek shape that scores with its fine proportions and balanced shapes, not with a riot of superflous details. The Nissan sedans look distinctive but dignified, too.

Not sure about the new Forester, either. The front end looks blunt and blocky, less sculpted than before. And like the B9 I sat in, the new head rests are swept forward at a greater angle. I hold my head farther back, so that's impossible for me to tolerate for more than a minute. That's another peeve with current models that's even more off-putting than the exterior styling.
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Old 07-27-2005, 05:10 AM   #14
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The small windows do not allow you to see the whole pedestrian, they do allow you to see the legs or midsection, just enough to see them. I do agree with your point that the visibility in the B9 is far worse than in the Forester, but have you driven any new Chrysler product? The 300 and the Pacifica have NO visibility.

I fully respect your opinion on the aesthetics of the B9. Initially I shared your view, but upon seeing the vehicle in person the look grew on me and I must say that it is quite modern and dare I say quirky looking. The current design trend is to create looks that polarize, that stir emotion, for every person that will hate the design there will be someone who loves the design; at least this is what the manufacturers are banking on.

As to the headrests I think you're getting too old , just kidding they work for me but I know people who hate them. But love it or hate it, you have to hand it to Subaru for their first foray into the world of SUV's (the Forester doesn't count, it's a wagon not an SUV) the B9 is a very admirable achievement.
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Old 07-27-2005, 12:31 PM   #15
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The headrests bother me because I'm not so old as to have enough curvature of the spine to move my head out forward of the torso. That would help me fit these headrests better! Actually, I never wanted head "rests" in may car, just head restraints. Resting my head against it results in every little bump and juggle of the car going straight to my head, without being absorbed by my neck muscles.

Which leads me to another puzzle of little importance. Why is the Forester a "wagon" and the Tribeca an "SUV"? Because they're marketed that way? Both are unitized bodies with four doors and a tailgate, raised ground clearance and AWD. The Forester has a manual transmission option, while the B9 doesn't. One is named for a dangerous, outdoorsy profession and one for a trendy New York City neighborhood. Is that the difference? So the B9's a Suburban Utility Vehicle, I see... And the Tribeca has third-row seating, that's a difference. Does SUV stand for "Sequestered Urchins' Vehicle"?

Ultimately, who cares. If it fits, buy it and drive. The SUV category has become so broad as to be almost meaningless.
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Old 07-27-2005, 01:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exSAABer

The headrests bother me because I'm not so old as to have enough curvature of the spine to move my head out forward of the torso. That would help me fit these headrests better!
. . .
Which leads me to another puzzle of little importance. Why is the Forester a "wagon" and the Tribeca an "SUV"?
. . .
The SUV category has become so broad as to be almost meaningless.
Your first comment about curvature of the spine actually had me laughing out loud, very funny stuff. If I offended you with my previous comment I'm sorry, but I do understand your point of view that the headrests in the B9 are questionable at best, at least for some of the population.

The Forester is not a true SUV as it is basically an Impreza with a different suspension. Lower the Forester and you’ve got an Impreza station wagon, and we all know that “station wagon” is a dirty word in the automotive industry as it conjures images of the Vista Cruiser era. The B9 on the other hand, at least as far as I know, is built on a whole new chassis/platform from the ground up as an SUV.

It is quite true that what is an SUV and what is not an SUV has become so muddled and vague that the term SUV is of little to no relevance today. I do whole heartedly agree that if it fits drive it, I just feel that you are being a touch too harsh on the B9: it is a modern styled SUV – for better or worse – that compares quite favorably to the competition.
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Old 07-28-2005, 08:01 AM   #17
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You need to compare the Tribeca to the others in the same class. The Pilot has a weak AWD system by comparison. Same for the MDX apparently. The Murano is very tight inside and has a cheap interior. All three of these don't handle as well and have more interior noise.
The BMW X5 and Lexus RX330 are really the only true alternatives. I like both, but the Lexus handling is still inferior and it's really barely any faster than the Tribeca for the extra money. It's also so common at this point they are like roaches. The BMW has slightly better handling and is faster with the top engine. Look at the price. It's also about as common as a Camry.
The Tribeca is better than, as good as, or not quite as good as the best in the class. You get one of the best AWD systems on the market, if not THE best. You get a ride that draws a near perfect compromise between comfort and handling. You get a car that has a distintive look that draws plenty of compliments. Sorry, but that's a fact. The tribeca has now exceeded even my old restored MG for compliments on it's looks!
Still, some folks don't like the looks and that's fine. I don't want a car where everyone likes the looks. What a bore that would be!
But as a crossover SUV the Subaru is very good, very plush and very pleasing to drive.
And finally....It's a Subaru: A Subaru that offers room and comfort not available in an Outback Legacy. Now, if you want a car to please yuppy neighbors, buy the X5 or Lexus. They won't even notice you bought a new car.

Robert B
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Old 07-28-2005, 10:40 AM   #18
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100% agreed with you. I bought one for the wife two weeks ago and I'm still amazed how good the Tribeca rides, feels, etc.
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Old 07-29-2005, 02:32 AM   #19
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I agree with you B9 owners on one thing. The car looks very lovely from the bottom up. Up on a lift, that's where you'd see its best side, because of all the crafty technology it includes. Mechanically speaking, everything I've read about it seems positive.

Except for the auto-only transmission, that's a third deal-breaker for me. I drive a lot, city and suburb, and every day I'm glad I have a manual and a clutch to keep me occupied. There's nothing better than a good 5-speed, unless it's a 6-speed. Anytime I can check off an option that's cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, that enhances power and economy, plus adding safety and durability to the car's braking through compression braking... that's an easy choice. There's nothing like the sense of responsiveness and control that a stick and a clutch provides. It's a shame Subaru is abandoning its past policy of making manuals available throughout the line. maybe GM is seducing them towards the mainstream, away from a "quirky" past. Gee, just look how well SAAB has done since it was led down that dark path...
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Old 07-29-2005, 07:14 AM   #20
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Except for the auto-only transmission, that's a third deal-breaker for me. I drive a lot, city and suburb, and every day I'm glad I have a manual and a clutch to keep me occupied. There's nothing better than a good 5-speed, unless it's a 6-speed. >>>


Can't see why I'd want a manual on a 4 thousand pound car. I'm grateful for the manual mode, but frankly a stick would be very out of place on a luxury SUV. Living in NY or parts of CA, you sure learn to appreciate the benefits of automatic in traffic. On the open road, manual mode is perfect for a bit of fun.

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Old 07-29-2005, 11:35 AM   #21
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For the record, I'm driving the congested streets of Denver and its suburbs. I enjoy the coordination and attention demanded by shifting and clutching, on top of the essential activities of eating, grooming and fiddling with the radio. Part of the reason driving is so boring is that it's too damn easy-- that's my thinking. Shifting means thinking ahead and making conscious choices about speed, slope and momentum. Every accident I've ever had came when I wasn't paying attention. Shifting for myself helps keeps my head in the game.

A manual transmission seems quite in place on my 3,000-pound not-so-luxury vehicle. (And on 40-ton semis, if weight has anything to do with it.) It puts more "sport" back into the equation, at least. But out on the river, those big barges are propelled by paddlewheels, and that's all an auto "slushbox" is, really.

Obviously, most auto buyers agree with your shiftless preference. I just think it's a shame that my shifty predelictions aren't satisfied in this product's design. The dominance of auto autos is as overwhelming as the Windows computer, but some of us still Think Different and drive differently, too. That's another reason to keep my Forester for a long time.
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Old 07-29-2005, 03:56 PM   #22
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Obviously, most auto buyers agree with your shiftless preference. I just think it's a shame that my shifty predelictions aren't satisfied in this product's design. >>>

You got me all wrong. I love a 5 speed. Had one on my MG, and on my Nissan 240 XS. Both cars that really needed it. But on an SUV, which is typically a shared vehicle...no way. My wife is a nurse and she drives 5 speed fine, but she does not need that in bumper-to-bumper traffic with a kid in the back seat. It just doesn't belong and few people would choose it...which is precisely why it's not offered.
A stick shift is great when it's integrated into a real driving machine, not a luxo-boat like your typical SUV. While B9 handles nicely, it's just not that type of machine.
I do believe that the low-end X5 with the small engine is available as a manual. Not with the better engines though.

Robert B
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Old 07-29-2005, 04:05 PM   #23
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Lack of MT is a downer for me, too. I'm used to driving loaded MT pickup trucks, so the weight doesn't bother me. I test-drove the B9 and thought it drove well for what it is. The power is an issue though. I know its there in the midrange but most buyers are not going to keep the revs up as if they were driving a WRX. A heavy AT vehicle like this needs more low-end torque. It felt really sluggish on my test-drive (I didn't punch the gas or go over 4000 rpm) There are persistent rumors of an H6tt ...
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Old 07-29-2005, 06:55 PM   #24
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The power is an issue though. I know its there in the midrange but most buyers are not going to keep the revs up as if they were driving a WRX. A heavy AT vehicle like this needs more low-end torque. It felt really sluggish on my test-drive (I didn't punch the gas or go over 4000 rpm) There are persistent rumors of an H6tt ...>>>


Naturally we'll get better power in the 2nd and 3rd gen B9s. Until then it's a unique and fun ride. At speed on the highway it has good power and really nice handling. Only a X5 with the big engine is any better and you pay BIG for that dated ride. For 33K there was nothing that came close to the B9's combo of luxury, handling, unique looks and comfort. I'm sorry Outback fans, but the top of the line Outback is nice, but has nowhere close to the comfort factor. We traded in our Outback, which seems like a hayride by comparison.
I think I'll enjoy my B9 for the next 24 months, then trade for the B9 STI with 340 HP and 281 lbs of torque. By then they may make the 7 seat option worth buying. I went for the 5 passenger model and put in my own superior DVD system.

http://members.aol.com/bobsprit/images/mvideo.jpg

Robert B
2006 Blue Tribeca!
NY
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Old 08-01-2005, 07:03 PM   #25
STI Orenji
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobsprit
The power is an issue though. I know its there in the midrange but most buyers are not going to keep the revs up as if they were driving a WRX. A heavy AT vehicle like this needs more low-end torque. It felt really sluggish on my test-drive (I didn't punch the gas or go over 4000 rpm) There are persistent rumors of an H6tt ...>>>


Naturally we'll get better power in the 2nd and 3rd gen B9s. Until then it's a unique and fun ride. At speed on the highway it has good power and really nice handling. Only a X5 with the big engine is any better and you pay BIG for that dated ride. For 33K there was nothing that came close to the B9's combo of luxury, handling, unique looks and comfort. I'm sorry Outback fans, but the top of the line Outback is nice, but has nowhere close to the comfort factor. We traded in our Outback, which seems like a hayride by comparison.
I think I'll enjoy my B9 for the next 24 months, then trade for the B9 STI with 340 HP and 281 lbs of torque. By then they may make the 7 seat option worth buying. I went for the 5 passenger model and put in my own superior DVD system.

http://members.aol.com/bobsprit/images/mvideo.jpg

Robert B
2006 Blue Tribeca!
NY

That's HOT!
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