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Purchase question : toyota highlander or subaru tribeca

I am buying an SUV to replace my wife’s A6 quattro AWD (167K). Choice is between 1) Toyota highlander AWD 3.6L limited edition with 90K miles from a dealer 2) subaru tribeca AWD premium package with 60K miles. The difference in price is 4K with the toyota costing more. Questions

  1. Which would you choose and why?
  2. should I take the car to independent mechanic to check or trust the dealer carfax and safety check
  3. Is the Subaru a better deal??? but then toyota is known for quality right?

Take the one you want most to a mechanic you trust for a prepurchase inspection. Unless you know someone at the dealership well, you don’t know what you are getting into. You didn’t give an age of the two SUVs. That’s important in assessing the price. Also important are the trim level and additional options. I’d lean towards the Tribeca if you like the way it rides. Toyota makes great cars, but I think that they are overpriced. But there are too many unanswered questions to give you a good answer.

Sorry I forgot the crucial information. Both are 2008 models. Both models come with full premium package - leather seats, gps, rear camera etc. What do you think?

My wife favors the toyota since there are plenty of highlanders. Seems like sighting a tribeca is a unique occurrence

The Highlander is a pretty bullet-proof machine. Our family doctor is an outdoorsman and always sings its praises. He used ot own a Mercedes.

If the Highlander checks out mechanically you will find it reliable and much cheaper in upkeep than an Audi Quattro.

Thanks docnick and sanders. I still have a question for you folks. Would you buy a highlander (fully loaded) at 90k miles for 22K versus a tribeca at 66K miles for 19K? What would you do? My wife is leaning towards the toyota and I am (ofcourse being the cheapster) leaning toward Tribeca. what do you guys think?

Honestly, I would not pay 22K for a car with 90K miles. When I was shopping, I could get a V6 plus (tech package) FWD HL 2013 for $29400. They had a special with 0% financing too. I ended up with a CPO Mazda CX-9, but that is another discussion for another day.

There is a reason why you see more Highlanders but @galant is right.
Personally, I would shop for a newer and cheaper CRV, Rav type and bite the bullet on the comfy. Either will last longer with fewer miles ( you can buy new) and they are more practical and economical cars. If you can’t afford these cars new, IMHO, you can’t afford the luxury of owning one. I would not buy a used luxury type vehical over a more practical, cheaper new one…that’s a better no brainer IMHO. So, I’m out of line and off topic…

What troubles me is the 22K price for a 2008 model, 90K mile car but after extensive research I can safely say - toyota has the best resale value. Even the used cars are priced higher than residual value from leases, and sell immediately. I bought my Mercedes E500 4matic full package for 22K with 42K miles on it. No such luck with the Toyota. The price for a new highlander 4wd LTD (full premium) is 40K. With 90K miles is 22K. Go figure.

My wife is stuck on Toyota so I am taking it to a mechanic to figure if the repair bills in the future would be higher than price. Any other suggestions and comments? Its amazing how much we learn from others experienced perspectives. Cars do take up a lot of our lives in America. And a car decision can eat up your working day…

Make sure you get the 90K service done as part of the deal if you choose the Highlander. If it has a timing belt, factor that additional cost in. Keep in mind that If you keep this vehicle a long time, resale value becomes less of an issue. We try to keep our cars for ten years or more, so any resale at that time is generally minimal.

Most Toyota’s need a very expensive 90K service, which is why a lot of them with around 90K miles are for sale. The timing belt job is the biggest item, but you’ll need plugs and lots of fluids replaced too. Is this a Toyota dealer selling the car? You need to confirm if the 90K service was done already? If not, then price the service - perhaps a new car might look better to you at that point.

in my area, a Tribeca 7 passenger Limited with rear seat DVD, satnav, etc in outstanding condition would run $21k retail.
One big thing with Subaru is that the tires need to be matched all around. No Brand X on the front and brand Y on the back; this can cause very expensive repairs with the AWD system down the road. If you notice this, don’t even bother looking at it anymore, just run away from the deal.

At 5 years old, the previous maintenance will determine how long either will last. The Toyota, while reliable, could fall apart the day after you buy it. So could the Subaru, but that’s the gamble you take with buying used.

“Most Toyota’s need a very expensive 90K service, which is why a lot of them with around 90K miles are for sale. The timing belt job is the biggest item, but you’ll need plugs and lots of fluids replaced too.”

The Tribeca’s 90k service is also a very expensive one, but since it has a timing chain, at least it won’t need to have the timing belt replaced.

If the OP does buy the Tribeca, I would advise getting the Chase Bank/Subaru Credit Card, which rebates 3% on all purchases, in the form of “Subaru Bucks”. Since I pay for almost everything with that card, I manage to accumulate a lot of those $100 certificates. Today, I had the 30k service done on my 2011 Outback (same engine & trans as the Tribeca), and, after redeeming my Subaru Bucks, the total cost for the service was $13.12. No, I am not kidding about the cost.

That’s not too bad for having every fluid and every filter changed, having the tires rotated, and having the wiper blades replaced!

The Toyota could fall apart the day after u buy it, but it won’t. Toyota cars are grat.

guys what do you think the 90K service costs for a toyota

@ramikumi
guys what do you think the 90K service costs for a toyota

Scary and often dealer dependent…as that’s how they make much of their profit. Here is what I do with my greedy (they all are) Toyota dealer. I look at what ever has to be done for major tune up items, be they valve adjustment or timing belt or…
I have them done piecemeal during oil changes before and after the 90k or major tune up. I farm this service out to an independent or the dealer whoever gives me the best price.

Some places can service a transmission cheaper, while others may do the valve adjustment (if needed for your car) cheaper. I Especially do fluid changes in the trans and other places before hand too.

When 90K comes around, all I am doing is the oil change and I remind them that I expect all the inspections done, which they are happy to do anyway, for nothing.

Of course, you need to do your own record keeping, but many owner warranty or service sections have room and space for that. If you don’t do this…you can pay lots of $$$$$ more than their single, mortgage the house fee.

i had the car checked out by my independent mechanic. the areas of concern he noted were 1) chip on front windshield - told the dealer to replace and he says he put in cement. 2)wear out of front control arm bushings - asking dealer to replace the bushings 3) whining noise from AC cmpressor - mechanic thinks compressor may be nearing end of life or is it AC belt .

Besides I need to check what portion of the 90K tune up was done by these guys.

I need to negotiate with the dealer that they can fix all the issues plus 90-K service (they have done brakes, tires, oil change - perhaps the timing belt, the AC belt etc.) or give me a 2K break on the price.

What do you guys think? any red lights going on here

Timing belt on V6? Well, if it has one and u replace it, you are good for 60-90k miles. You get to enjoy its future service. I suppose it’s likes buying a used car with new tires. U get to drive on new tires. The previous owner paid for them and they did not get to use them.

The 90K service includes (I believe, based on my Toyota Sequoia) a new timing belt, water pump, and tensioner, new plugs, new coolant, new transmission fluid, new differential fluid (you have 2 a front and rear), new transfer case fluid, brake fluid flush, new air filter, new cabin air filter(s), and they will try to sell you fuel injection cleaning, and de-carbonization process (last 2 aren’t needed if the motor is running smoothly. Looking at about $2,000 for a Toyota dealer to do this stuff and about $1,200 for an independent shop.

@UncleTurbo Agree, and when that’s done you are OK for another 90,000 miles. You have to think of maintenance as a long term investment. MANY CARS BITE THE DUST PREMATURELY BECAUSE THE OWNERS STOP MAINTAINING WHEN THE WARRANTY RUNS OUT.

@Docnick, I did all the 90K maintenance when I bought a Toyota Sequoia with 89K miles on it. That was in ‘08, now have just over 130K miles and did another trans fluid change, both differentials, and the transfer case. I’ll replace the plugs again on a nice spring day. Hope to get many more years and miles out of this SUV, so I’m keepin’ up with the routine maintenance.