2006 Mazda Tribute SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Mazda Tribute SUV

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Mazda Tribute Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 200 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

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 (21 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

I love my tribute!!!

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute s 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I have owned many Ford Explorers in my time and this vehicle blows them all away. It is SOOO much better and more fun to drive. It now has over 40,000 miles and I still love it. I hate the tires, though. No problems to speak of. I've even towed with it.

Gas hog & rattle trap

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute s 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Purchased used with only 600 mile so it was pretty much new. 1 year later I have spent 600.00 for brakes and my tires need to be changed already. I average 14 mpg in my V6 so is really is a gas hog. When gas was at its highest I was putting 63.00 every 3 to 4 days, I am not happy with the mileage at all. I thought it was pretty good in the beginning but now I drive 80 on the freeway the whole thing shakes. The resale value is terrible. The value 13 months later is about 8000.00 and I paid 17000 for a used. Will never purchase a Mazda ever again.

Road noise and tire replacement

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute s 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I have a 3.0L 6-cyl. automatic that I bought new in Oct. 2006. It has performed well and has required no warranty work to date. I had to replace the tires at 23,783 due to very loud road noise that continued to get louder over time. It was the poor quality Continental Tires that were factory installed. Once I replaced the tires, no more road noise. I wish that I had replaced the tires long ago.

Mazda tribute

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute s 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

Great SUV. No mechanical problems, except for the gas pedal which was covered under warranty. Highly recommend.

Posting an update of problems

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute s 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

At 3100 miles, transmission broke and was replaced. New transmission sometimes searches and kicks into gear, it's back in the service department now going on 3days. Now have 4700 miles on it. Rear windshield wiper assembly fell off when I was washing it. After hitting the pavement, I have a nice scratch on it. Noticed an indentation in the middle of the dash about 3-4 inches long. Right front lower door sheet metal has 5 lines in it. Very poor workmanship and quality. Am starting mediation with factory right now. I feel ripped off. Wonder what will break or fall off of it next. I do not feel safe in this vehicle and recommend to those who might buy one, not to. Nothing but problems since I bought.

It's really just a ford

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Vehicle: 2006 Mazda Tribute s 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 4A)

I bought the Tribute new and at 3100 total miles, my transmission broke and had to be replaced. There were no error codes when technicians hooked up to the test computer. The dealer had it for over 10 days until I got it back. The wheels and brakes continually squeak at slow speeds (typical Ford). I don't really trust the vehicle now because of the transmission and am seeking to trade it for something else (not Mazda). Unfortunately it may be awhile before I can do that as the Tribute's trade in value has severely decreased since I bought it, and continues to decrease. I will never buy another Mazda or from the dealer I purchased it from. Also poor workmanship in body panel on r/front door.

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


  • 18
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs