I first looked a the Escape and almost bought, but they did not budge for the price. I then went to Mazda and bought the cousin for $2,000 less. Great SUV until the AC is on, then I need someone for a push (No power). ROTTEN GAS MILEAGE, otherwise not bad.
Gas mileage, more horsepower with AC on. On & Off light on cruise.
Most bang for the buck for an awd suv, the Kia Sportage would be close behind. 200 hp and still 18-19mpg in town, and 23-25 on the highway is fine by me. In my opinion it is the best looking suv, with the MDX close.
Looks, ride, power, smoothness, comfort, awd, great view.
The Tribute is an excellent SVU. It is perfect to haul the skis, kids, dogs, bikes, etc. with a great sporty look that we were looking for. We tested the Saturn look alike, thought it was too cheap inside. We didn't every let the kids in at the dealership because we were afraid something would fall off in the interior of it. The service at our Mazda dealer was superior to any dealer in the area. Even a year after the purchase our dealer and the Mazda dealership is always there to answer any question we have just as friendly as the date of purchase.
Purchased a Mazda 6 11/04. Not a thing gone wrong to date. Tribute had lock problems from factory, engine failure (plugs and computer) at 9K. You can see the Ford connection in this truck. Also no where near the advertised fuel mileage. First and last Mazda SUV.
I bought my Tribute in Feb 06 with only 6,000 miles on it. In 4 months I have put an additional 10,000 miles on it. The car rides and handles great. The leather seats are comfortable even after putting 1500 miles on in one day. Getting in and out of the vehicle is easy; even my Grandma agrees with me that it's easier to get in and out of then my mom's 02 Ford Explorer. Controls are easily accessible and easy to use even at night. There's plenty of room inside the vehicle for 4 big adults and a child. With the seats down there's plenty of room for hauling stuff. The AWD works great in the snow and on the ice. Drove up the iced cover road to Paradise on Mt. Rainier - no problem in March and driven through heavy mud.
The audio system is a blast. Extremely comfortable on long trips. Handling is great. The head lights and fog lights light up even the darkest roads. The AWD system is superb. The outside looks sporty and the quick steering with all its feedback makes you feel like you're in a sports car. ZOOM-ZOOM!
Put a bigger fuel tank in, at least 18 gallons. Increase MPG. Steering wheel mounted audio controls. Two piece sun visor so I can block both the front and side window. Tire noise but I have read and talked to people who say replacing the tires will make most of the noise go away.