We read all the reviews about this vehicle before we bought two years ago. This is not the car to buy if you are looking for a reliable older vehicle. Yesterday, the engine blew and left our son stranded on the interstate.
We now have a decision to put another $2,000 to $3,000 to fix or just scrap and payoff the remainder of the five year loan.
Less than 100,000 miles, no warnings! Do not buy this vehicle.
I got the stripped down manual transmission version, so no ranting here about useless options. It has held up well now after 3 years. No real rusting yet on the sheet metal. Some of the interior has a cheap plasticy feel, the handling is good on corners, does not want to flip like some SUVs. Motor is a bit underpowered on the 2.3L motor, feels like a 2.0L motor in a SUV. Decent build and design otherwise.
Elevation from ground, value for the dollar. Ease to access oil and filter hood and door handles are well designed.
Slightly stronger engine. Also use better tires, not those OEM Continental tires that squeal and slide all over the road.
I have 50,000 miles on our Tribute and I must say that I have been disappointed in the gas mileage (nowhere near what was rated). I purchased the 4 cyl to get better milage but often get below 20. The 4 cyl isn't quite enough power for this vehicle. When it is loaded down and the AC is running it can't pull small hills without shifting down. The seat material shows every spot and has to be cleaned very often. But the price was right compared to the Ford Escape twin. Much of the features would have cost more on the Ford version.
Price. Dark tinted windows. Alloy wheels. Good looking truck like SUV body.
The seatbelt beeper is way too loud and frequent.(drives me crazy) Needs better seat material. There is not a switch to turn on the dome lights without reaching up and behind. Rear cupholder is too low for kids in carseats, gets kicked often.
For what this vehicle is, a small suv with a 2.3L 4cyl that you can fill with your stuff, it is PERFECT. It comes loaded w/single CD, AC, alloy wheels, per W/L/M, tilt. The only option I wanted was cruise and that was only about $150 extra. 2.3L w/the 5 spd has plenty of get up and go, AND just checked mileage again to find this 4cyl front wheel drive got 29.1 mpg! For the size of the SUV and what you can haul in it, you can't beat it.
Handles just like a sporty car, nice and tight.
For the low price and for what it has and offers, no improvements necessary.
The Tribute is an excellent SVU. It is perfect to haul the skis, kids, dogs, bikes, etc. with a great sporty look that we were looking for. We tested the Saturn look alike, thought it was too cheap inside. We didn't every let the kids in at the dealership because we were afraid something would fall off in the interior of it. The service at our Mazda dealer was superior to any dealer in the area. Even a year after the purchase our dealer and the Mazda dealership is always there to answer any question we have just as friendly as the date of purchase.