by Jane on Jul 13, 2009 Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
Have had the car for 3 years now. Although the car seems underpowered with the smaller engine the gas mileage is very good, the manual transmission really makes the difference. Comfortable in town and on trips and handles very well. So far has aged well both inside and out despite dogs and kids.
by MazdaRob on Aug 27, 2008 Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
I have always owned Toyotas, but hate the redesigned RAV. So I looked at the Tribute and got a great end of year deal. Now, I only require a vehicle with a CD player and AC, so features don't interest me. This car is reliable, economical (I get nearly 30 mpg on the highway and high 20s around town. I've had no mechanical problems in 45,000 and the tires are still original. Honda CRVs chew up the tires! The Tribute has room to tote lumber, move furniture and carry tools, but it's also comfortable on long trips and handles very well. I would buy another one in a heartbeat. Plus, my dealer charge for service is very reasonable. It's a great SUV!
by Not so happy owner on Dec 8, 2006 Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute i 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl 5M)
Dont buy it! Ive had my Tribute for 6 months and have 9700 miles on it now. I bought it new. I wanted wait a while before posting anything online. Ive had problems from the beginning: 1. One of my doors had messed up clear coat. Had to get refinished. 2. Missing clutch bearing plate. I am mechanically inclined, but never had a manual so I dont know what that is. But sure as heck sounds important. 3. When changing air vent flow from ground to upper vents, the ground vents blow air out for about another 10 minutes. Only happens on AC, not on heat. Go figure. 4. One of the upper vents does not close. 5. When it is cold out, it is near impossible to get back into first gear.
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.
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.