2004 Mazda Tribute ES-V6 4WD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)
I tried both the Escape and Tribute. I liked handling and style of Mazda. Mine is an ES with V6, AWD. This is a very good small SUV. I have had this vehicle for 1 year. It has 22k on it; 11k are mine. I maintain meticulous records of not just the mpg but rate the tank on how much city and highway driving I did and even on how hard I drove it. I averaged 16 mpg across 11k miles where I drove 85% suburban/15% highway. My worst mpg was 14 mpg all city driving and my best mpg was 22 mpg on all highway driving. [It is rated 18/24; I have yet to own a car that got its rated values and probably never will.] If you want a small 6 cylinder SUV, this is the one.
I like the pep, styling, handling, size, space, sound system, and moon roof. The AWD performance is exceptional in NE winters. The ABS will keep you out of accidents.
I dislike the seating position (mostly due to no telescoping steering wheel) and highway noise. One oddity, a need to adjust the back gate as it made an annoying squeak on even minor bumps in roads. It would be nice to use the AC and control which vents the AC comes from.