2006 Mazda Tribute SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Mazda Tribute SUV

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Mazda Tribute Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 153 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Mazda Tribute

  • Roomy on the inside, stylish on the outside and fun to drive wherever it goes, the 2006 Mazda Tribute is one of our favorite small SUVs.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Roomy and comfortable interior, peppy V6 engine, drives more like a car than a truck, long list of standard features.

  • Cons

    Mediocre fuel economy and range on V6 models, can't get side airbags on four-cylinder models.

  • What's New for 2006

    After receiving significant updates last year, the Mazda Tribute SUV enters 2006 unchanged.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (17 total reviews)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Zoom zoom my tail!! bad

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

I posted about 2 months ago because the Tranny went out! This has been the most terrible vehicle that I have ever owned! In addition to the transmission going out at about 108k now my engine is shot. The vehicle has a 112k on it now. It's the 2.3 4 cylinder 2x4. Very Slow, very little performance at all. They look sharp but without doubt a true money pit disaster. I drive my car very easy and perform routine maintanence ahead of time!! All out just a bad vehicle!!!

Crappy crappy transmission!!!!

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

I bought my Tribute w/ 77k on her 17 months ago and first off it is VERY weak. I maintain my vehicle myself and do so very OCD like. The transmission gave out on me @ 108k. My only complaints are the noticable lack of power and the PATHETIC transmissions Mazda designed and installed on these vehicles! Thank Goodness I have a GREAT hookup here in NC which rebuilt the tranny with much better than factory parts. I took out and reinstalled the transmission myself which saved $400. The rebulid alone was $900 which is a deal. If you buy a Tribute be prepared to replace the tranny without ANY doubt. For someone without help or ability its gonna be $1800-$2500..EASY Good luck, You'll need it!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

A good ride

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

Bought my Tribute new and chose it over the competitors because of price and value. I've owned it for 4 years and never had any problems with it. I would have kept for many more years but needed more room after finding out we were having our 3rd child,so we traded for a minivan. It gets pretty good gas mileage for an suv around 21mpg nice ride but a little noisy at higher speeds. Good family suv and good trunk space. Overall a great value compared to the other small suvs on the market.

Used to love her part

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

An update to my previous post from 9/09. Sooo I ended up spending just over $3000 to have my transmission rebuilt, if only I could post the pictures! ALL of the metal parts in the transmission were all eaten up, its as if the metal they used weren't heated up to the right temperature when it was being produced. The company fixing it has never seen such a thing on a new car in their 30 yrs of business. So I think it's over,a little over a month and my other ABS wheel axle, one of the main reasons all the problems came to light starts going out, affecting once again my transmission, faulty axles and crappy transmission material. 3 months later I'm driving a BMW X3! Obviously way better quality!

Used to love her...

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

We purchased my '06 Tribute brand new in '05 with only 17 miles on it. We couldn't stop raving about how nice it was and how we had never had any issues with it. That was until the transmission gave out ONE month after the warranty expired. It only has 33,000 miles on it & Mazda Corp. refuses to help me out. I couldn't produce sufficient paperwork proving that I've had oil changes showing that we've been maintaining it. After two weeks of waiting for Mazda's response it's now at a local garage getting a new transmission on MY dollar. I have two Mazda's, long time customer, I will never buy another Mazda again.


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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 4A)

It is extremely painful to realize that my beautiful car is worst less than a clunker. With only 36k miles, and all the maintenance properly done on time,the automatic transmission broke, the dealer installed a new one which lasted exactly two weeks so a new one was installed, and yesterday, this one broke too; so in the period of 6k miles, it is 42k now, I had three brand new transmission installed. What is my next step? Get rid of the car before the warranty expires.

Full 2006 Mazda Tribute Review

What's New for 2006

After receiving significant updates last year, the Mazda Tribute SUV enters 2006 unchanged.


The 2005 model year marked the first serious refresh for the Mazda Tribute. The previous generation's weak four-cylinder base engine was replaced by a 2.3-liter four with 153 horsepower and 152 lb-ft of torque. Styling revisions were in evidence inside and out, and a revised suspension system took care of things underfoot. A new electronic four-wheel-drive system, called Active Torque Control Coupling, uses an electromagnetic clutch to control the amount of torque sent to the rear wheels. In other words, power is split front to rear according to the engine control computer, and the system can react appropriately before traction is ever lost.

As always, the Mazda Tribute is more a car masquerading as a truck than a truck masquerading as a car. It drives like a tall, sporty station wagon, feeling nimble and surefooted on pavement. The trade-off, of course, is that when you get a Tribute into the mud, it is somewhat limited in its capability to bash boulders and scrabble up mountainsides. Thus, it is perfectly suited to the lifestyles of the majority of its buyers, who live in cities and suburbs and use it to haul groceries, children and the occasional piece of furniture. Stylish, speedy (with the V6) and spacious, the 2006 Mazda Tribute is one of the best small SUVs on the market.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door Mazda Tribute is available in base i and high-line s trims. The i comes with a decent amount of standard equipment, including 16-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, air conditioning, a CD player and power windows, mirrors and locks. The s adds privacy glass, a height-adjustable driver seat and cruise control. Key options include leather upholstery, a power driver seat, an upgraded seven-speaker audio system with a CD changer, a moonroof and a class II towing package. A rear-seat DVD entertainment system can be ordered on any Tribute as long as a sunroof isn't involved.

Powertrains and Performance

Two engines are available in the Mazda Tribute. The i comes with a 153-hp, 2.3-liter, four-cylinder engine matched to a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. The s gets a 3.0-liter V6 engine good for 200 hp. A four-speed automatic is standard with the V6. Both Mazda SUV models are available with either front-wheel drive (2WD) or an electronic four-wheel-drive system (4WD). Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.


Four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and BrakeAssist are standard on all models. Side curtain airbags are optional on the s model only. The Tribute scored very well in governmental crash testing, earning a perfect five stars for the driver and four stars for the front passenger in the frontal-impact category, and five stars across the board for side impacts. Frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS told a different story, however, as the Tribute earned a "Marginal" rating (the second lowest of four). The Tribute did earn a "Good" in IIHS side-impact testing when equipped with side airbags.

Interior Design and Special Features

Tribute cabins are roomy and functional with plenty of room for four passengers and a simple control layout. All radio head units are satellite radio-compatible (Mazda dealers can install a Sirius receiver). In general, materials quality is not as impressive as that of other Mazda vehicles, but considering the economical nature of this small SUV, most buyers won't find it lacking. Cargo capacity is generous for a small SUV with 30 cubic feet behind the rear seats and a total of 66 cubic feet when the seats are folded.

Driving Impressions

Mazda markets the Tribute as the Miata of SUVs, and the claim isn't far off the mark. With a wide track and powerful V6, the Tribute handles better than most SUVs on the road, driving more like a sporty car than a truck. Ride quality is smooth, making this SUV a suitable choice for commuting or hauling around the family. Equipped with 4WD, the Mazda Tribute can easily take on snow and ice during the winter. One of the few drawbacks to this Mazda SUV is the V6 engine's mediocre gas mileage. This year's new 153-hp four-cylinder is a good option for buyers on tighter budgets -- expect adequate acceleration and better mileage than what you'd get with the V6.

Talk About The 2006 Tribute

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs