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 All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 153 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/24 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 (1 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Like sports car, but smoother,

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

The 2.3L is surprisingly peppy for the 3500 lb curb weight. Handles more like the sports car I traded in for it, just not as quick on takeoff, yet the ride is more like a luxury car, much quieter then the sports car was (still some road noise). Gas mileage could be improved. Electronic 4WD system seems capable after I ran it through mud & snow. Ground clearance is adequate to have some fun, but I would not risk damaging the sexy exterior look. I feel safe in this competent, comfortable, roomy compact SUV. Factory cargo space flooring materials could be upgraded, but serve the purpose.



Full 2006 Mazda Tribute Review

What's New for 2006

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

Introduction

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.

Safety

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

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 19
  • cty
/
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs