A Brief Look at the Mazda Tribute
The History and Evolution of Mazda Tribute
Mazda Tribute is a compact crossover SUV that was manufactured by the Japanese automaker Mazda from 2000 to 2011. The vehicle was jointly developed with Ford Motor Company and was based on the Ford Escape. The Tribute was Mazda’s first entry into the compact SUV market and was well-received by car buyers for its excellent driving dynamics, affordability, and practicality.
First Generation: 2000-2006
The first Mazda Tribute was introduced in 2000 as a 2001 model year vehicle. It was built on the same platform as the Ford Escape, but Mazda made some significant changes to differentiate it from its Ford sibling. The Tribute’s exterior design was more curvaceous and sporty than the Escape, giving it a more aggressive stance on the road. The interior of the Tribute was also upgraded with higher-quality materials, more comfort, and convenience features.
The first-generation Tribute was powered by two engine options: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 130 horsepower and 135 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivered 200 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque. The four-cylinder engine was paired with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 engine was paired with a four-speed automatic transmission only.
In terms of trim levels, the first-generation Mazda Tribute was available in two trims – DX and LX. The DX trim was the base model and came standard with essential features such as air conditioning, power windows and locks, and an AM/FM stereo system with a cassette player. The LX trim, on the other hand, added more comfort and convenience features such as leather upholstery, automatic climate control, keyless entry, and a six-disc CD changer.
Second Generation: 2007-2011
The second-generation Mazda Tribute was introduced in 2007 and was significantly different from its predecessor. It was based on a new platform that was shared with the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. The new platform allowed for a spacious interior, a more refined driving experience, and improved safety features.
The second-generation Tribute was also available with new engine options. The base engine was a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 153 horsepower and 152 pound-feet of torque. The engine was paired with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission. The second engine option was a 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivered 240 horsepower and 233 pound-feet of torque. The V6 engine was paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control.
The second-generation Tribute was available in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. The Sport was the base model and came standard with features such as air conditioning, power windows and locks, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, and a six-speaker stereo system with a CD player. The Touring added more comfort and convenience features such as automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a power driver’s seat, and an upgraded stereo system. The Grand Touring, on the other hand, was the top-of-the-line model and came standard with features such as a power sunroof, a rearview camera, and a touchscreen navigation system.
Special Editions and Variations
Over the years, Mazda offered several special editions and variations of the Tribute to meet the needs of different car buyers. For example, in 2003, Mazda introduced the Escape-based Tribute HEV hybrid, which was powered by a combination of a 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. The Tribute HEV was the first hybrid SUV available in the United States.
In 2005, Mazda introduced the Tribute S model, which was basically a sportier version of the Tribute. The Tribute S featured a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels, and a body-color grille. Inside, the Tribute S had sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, and an upgraded stereo system.
In 2010, Mazda offered a special edition Tribute called the Tribute i Sport Utility. The Tribute i Sport Utility was based on the Sport trim level and came with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that delivered 171 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. It also featured 16-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, and a six-speaker stereo system with an auxiliary input.
Mazda Tribute was a popular compact SUV that provided an excellent driving experience, practicality, and affordability. Over the years, Mazda made significant improvements to the vehicle, which resulted in a more spacious interior, a more refined driving experience, and improved safety features. Although production of the Tribute ended in 2011 when the CX-5 was introduced, it remains a significant model in the history and evolution of Mazda’s SUV lineup.