Now, I know that’s a huge leap in to the absurd, but hear me out. The Tribute was a joint venture between Mazda, the Japanese automaker and American automaker, Ford Motor Company.
Debuting in 2001, the Mazda Tribute first generation was in production until 2007. This compact SUV debuted alongside the Ford Escape, offering consumers a sportier, lower priced option compared to others, and people that managed to secure a good finance deal on the vehicles got a great car, at a great monthly rate.
The second generation was in production from 2007 until 2011, although there was no 2007 Tribute.
The 2008 Tribute hit the market in early 2007 so a 2007 model was never introduced.
While not really very notable in the looks department, the Mazda Tribute was popular with consumers for its spacious cargo area and many standard safety features. Plus, it had that famous Mazda performance that loyal enthusiasts love.
Tributes For Tradies
If you can pick up a Tribute, you will find that it has ample space for you to pack a small load of tools in the back, so although it is not a utility vehicle, it is more than appropriate for building company sales reps and company owners.
These types of people that are responsible primarily for quoting jobs and small jobs that do not require large-scale loading of equipment and supplies and that, along with the Tribute being sought after by families, is one of the reasons it has sold so well over the years.
The exterior for the Mazda Tribute was nothing to write home about.
This is particularly true for the first generation. It was rather bland and boxy with no real notable exterior features. The iSport FWD did offer an optional cab step or running board, but for the most part the exterior did not cause the Tribute to stand out much. In fact, the exterior options as a whole were pretty sparse for the Tribute.
The second generation Tribute did receive a bit of a face lift, such as a larger grille and restyled headlights and front bumper.
It did acquire a few new curves and a somewhat sleeker profile which boosted its aesthetics somewhat.
If the exterior of the Tribute was not much to note, the interior wasn’t any better. Critics cited bland styling both inside and out. The first generation was pretty pared down in terms of ‘cool stuff in the cabin.’
The second generation did acquire a few tweaks such as an automatic climate control with digital read out and a new, cooler radio; but that was only for certain models.
The second generation Tribute did see better quality materials used for the interior which did garner some praise from previous critics.
Under the Hood
The Mazda Tribute had two engine options, a 4 cylinder inline 2.3 litre that kicked out 153 horses and a V6 3.0 litre that boosted the horsepower up to 203 bhp.
The transmission options were a 5 speed manual and a 4 speed automatic. This powertrain boosted the car’s fuel economy making it an attractive choice for budget conscious families.
The Mazda Tribute boasted many top notch safety features including standard advanced front air bags, front side impact air bags and side impact air curtains.
Additionally, it had Roll Stability Control. The feather in its cap, though, was the rating the Tribute received from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The IIHS gave the Tribute it highest side impact crash test rating.
In July 2012 Ford issued a recall of 485,000 Escapes for the model years 2001 to 2004. The following day Mazda issued its own recall for 215,000 Tributes (which were built on the Escape platform) for the model years 2002 to 2006 and 2008.
The recall was issued due to poor clearance between the cruise control cable and the engine cover.
This issue can cause problems if the cruise control is on, leaving the driver unable to let off of the throttle. Mazda determined that the engine cover styling was close enough in the other models to warrant a recall for the additional model years.