2003 Mazda Tribute SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Mazda Tribute SUV

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Mazda Tribute Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 201 hp @ 5900 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2003 Mazda Tribute

  • Despite the entrance of revised and redesigned competitors to the marketplace, Mazda's Tribute remains a favorite due to its competent blend of style, space and fun-to-drive nature.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy and comfortable, peppy V6 engine, great value for the money, drives more like a car than a truck.

  • Cons

    Loud engines, poor fuel economy and range with V6.

  • What's New for 2003

    DX, LX and ES trims carryover, but the V6 is newly limited to LX and ES. If you want to see what's new on the 2003 Tribute, you'll need to look inside. This year, the dashboard is two-tone, and the insert trim is either brushed aluminum (DX and LX) or fake black wood (ES). ES models are equipped with upgraded leather and a cold package that includes heated seats and exterior mirrors. New options include an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and a DVD entertainment system. Four new colors round out the changes.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (51 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Great little suv - even

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Vehicle: 2003 Mazda Tribute LX-V6 Fwd 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I am sad to say that I recently totaled my tribute and am now shopping for a new one. I bought my 03 used with 25k miles on it. I was super impressed with its reliability in the 6 years I owned it. Bought new tires once. Major tuneup before a trip at 100k. Other than that - just oil changes. Ran perfectly. It did have some wind noise which was slightly annoying, but certainly tolerable. Other than that, no complaints. It was the perfect size for our family of four..not too big, not too small. Pretty good mpg. And super fun to drive..very peppy lil guy! I'll miss my trib!




In balance, best ever

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Vehicle: 2003 Mazda Tribute LX-V6 Fwd 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I've owned and driven a lot of vehicles in the past 40 years including a 63 Corvair, 2 67 Corvettes, big Plymouths, Mercurys and Cadillacs, and a Dodge Ram truck. My 2003 Tribute is clearly the best ever on an overall basis. The other ones did some things a lot better than the Tribute, but none did everything to the same good level. It has the most driver leg room of any car I've owned. I have used the temporary 4WD to go through some really hairy places. Put the rear seats down and it can carry a surprising amount of stuff. And it is surprisingly kind of fun to drive in most situations.




Pretty good, but many small

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Vehicle: 2003 Mazda Tribute LX-V6 Fwd 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Bought my 2003 Tribute FWD LX new and have been pretty pleased overall. 90k miles, still has original tires with plenty of tread. However, have replaced wheel bearings (~$450), brakes and rotors, throttle cable sticks and steering wheel squeaks, even after several attempts to have fixed under warranty. Now, power steering fluid leaks, alternator is going bad (seems to be common problem), and rust is forming on the tailgate (water collects on the window frame). However, gets decent MPG (20 city/ 25 hwy) and drives great, handles snow and ice well with FWD. Comfortable seats and fits my 6ft frame with no problems. Ok overall, but wouldn't buy again compared to others.




Very good for family

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Vehicle: 2003 Mazda Tribute LX-V6 Fwd 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

We have had very good success with our Tribute. The 6 cylinder engine has sufficient power and acceleration. We previously owned a RAV4 and this vehicle is roomier, handles better and has more power, without sacrificing too much fuel economy.




A few problems

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Vehicle: 2003 Mazda Tribute LX-V6 Fwd 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

So far I've had to change the alternator. Replacement was done at the dealer (ouch) so I was given an OEM alternator with a whopping 1 yr/12,000 mile warranty. Nice going there. The shifter gets in the way too much. I notice if you put the SUV in park, it still has a tendency to roll a bit after you take your foot off the brake. Even after fixing the recalled accelerator cable, the SUV still has a tendency to lurch forward when taking your foot off the accelerator. Rear liftgate hatch has broken and won't lock. Cost of repair is over $300. High highway noise, not so good gas mileage, not pleased with Mazda overall.




A bit disappointed

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Vehicle: 2003 Mazda Tribute LX-V6 Fwd 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

SUV is comfortable, stylish. Disappointed with the quality. 6-CD player has been changed 3 times, disappointed to find out I get refurbished CD replacement, not a new CD player, even under factory warranty. Steering wheel pin has been changed twice; starting to squeak again. Discs - front disc brakes have been replaced, braking is too low. Moon roof mechanism already replaced. Very disappointed with factory warranty, service and treatment. Not pleased with Mazda quality.



Full 2003 Mazda Tribute Review

What's New for 2003

DX, LX and ES trims carryover, but the V6 is newly limited to LX and ES. If you want to see what's new on the 2003 Tribute, you'll need to look inside. This year, the dashboard is two-tone, and the insert trim is either brushed aluminum (DX and LX) or fake black wood (ES). ES models are equipped with upgraded leather and a cold package that includes heated seats and exterior mirrors. New options include an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and a DVD entertainment system. Four new colors round out the changes.

Talk About The 2003 Tribute

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 17
  • cty
/
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs