This has to be one of the worst designed vehicles for repairs. I've done plenty of wrenching and have come across so many engineering failures on this vehicles it's hard to give this vehicle a decent rating. When the vehicle works, it's not too bad of a ride. Gas mileage leaves quite a bit to be desired and I range under 24 for highway. However, once you need to start doing repairs that is where the joy starts. First, almost everything is plastic. The intake manifold and valve cover are plastic which has become a joy years later as some of the brass nuts embedded in the plastic have begun to spin out and no longer hold. Plan on a lengthy swap too when you want to do some basic maintenance such as spark plugs, that's right pull the entire intake, plus the IAC and a couple of other sensors and hoses off just to do plugs. I also had the fun of needing to replace the alternator on this vehicle and Ford had the ingenious idea to bury it at the bottom of the engine right where it is most susceptible to water and mud (x10 if you have and use the 4WD like it was made to). Now the real fun comes in trying to get the dumb thing out. The official repair procedure is to remove the entire passenger intermediate axle shaft to get it out! Seriously, look it up if you think I'm making that up. There is a workaround however that you can barely slip it by the firewall by carefully moving the ac lines enough to lower it. Anyway, VERY stupid. Another big complaint on the interior is the use of plastic for the door handles.
Overall the vehicle is pretty nice to drive but if you do your own repairs I suggest finding something else and staying away from this plastic wonder.
I've had this 2001 for little over 2 yrs now, over 105K miles. ONLY problem I've had is running rough when you first start it and occassionally rough "surges" at stop lights/signs. Any idea what that can be? Fun to drive, radio not very good, was hoping for a little better gas milage - gets around 18 around town & 24-25 long haul driving (interstates, etc). Looking for another in addition to this one now!
2011 cd player malfunctioned trapping my fav cd forever. cant play it, cant get it back out.
2011 the bolt holding the rear window on rusted thru and if you open it you need to lift while closing it to line it up manually.
2012 bright/dim switch stopped working.
2012 shifter cable broke.
2013 transmission went out
2013 drivers door power window off track
2014 power door lock malfunction resulting in drivers door and driver side back door will not open, and front passenger door only opens from the outside.
2014 drivers door window off the track again.
but... drives smooth, good mileage and good on tires.
I really enjoy this truck. I also own a 91 Miata which was my daily driver before I bought the truck. My wife's car is a 2000 Maxima SE. The truck has a tight and comfortable feel. Very responsive and rides more like a car than a truck. I test drove the Xterra, Sante Fe, Rav 4, CRV & Suzuki & Escape. I like the Tribute best. The Escape has a cheaper looking interior and unpainted body moldings making it look unfinished in comparison. The others either were under powered or felt more truck-like in their ride. The Hyundai had nice styling but felt slightly underpowered.
I love my Mazda, I really do.
But after 10 years of babying, I feel that it should fare better than it is.
We bought it brand new in late 2000.
It looked incredible then, and it still does.
However, there are a few issues:
1) (minor) the fabric panelling on the doors is falling off. ($20 fix)
2) (minor) The headlights are all fogged up ($15 fix)
3) (major) The PLASTIC intake manifold gasket has gone bad ($1000 fix)
Would I buy another one?
I'm driving a 2001 Toyota Camry LE (4 cyl) while the Mazda's in the shop, and though it doesn't look as good, drive as well, or sound as awesome, it hasn't given my grandparents a single issue...
I'll buy a VW or Toyota next time