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Mazda Tribute



  • j30j30 Posts: 30
    I just picked up a Violet Gray and Titanium, it is the only color that I really loved, although my wife wanted me to buy the Silver and I may have given in if it was two toned.


    As far as wind I find it is not bad below 65 but I got spoiled with the Millenia, and most of my driving is by myself so I just turn up that great stereo. I have never had a sub in a car and now I can't see myself being without one, it really makes a difference.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    I have had my 05 Tribute for three months now, and love it! This is my first SUV (traded in my wife's 2001 Nissan Sentra for it and we have not regretted it for a second). Drove it through the snowstorm the Northeast is having today, and the Tribute's AWD system in ours has performed flawlessly.


      Like you, I was very careful when I made my decision and drove many vehicles before deciding on the the Tribute. Take your time and drive all the vehicles you are considering at least twice. The only other vehicle that I liked more than the Tribute was an 05 Subaru Outback XT, but it cost nearly 10K more... You cannot beat the value and warranty of the Tribute.. Good luck, and keep us posted on what you buy!
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    There is definitely a little tire/engine noise than I would like, but otherwise the car is insulated well and wind noise is not an issue. Many users on this and other Escape/Tribute boards have negated the tire noise by purchasing new Michelin tires (I will do this as soon as the tires need to be replaced).


    You will find that each SUV in this class has its positives and negatives, but the Tribute has many strengths (and as the last poster mentioned, that killer radio really makes up for the tire/engine noise!) Personally, I thought from a handling and ride perspective, the Tribute blew the competition away...
  • rhouser2rhouser2 Posts: 114
    the other vehicle i am considering is the honda crv. did you test drive it? what we your impressions compared to the tribute?
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    I did drive the CRV and liked it. But there were a few things about the CRV that I did not like vs the Tribute:

    - Hated the awkward placement of the shifter. I think Honda did this to free up some space, but it is very awkward, and I thought it was in the way when trying to reach the other controls on the dashboard.

    - I found the CRV to be "peppy" at starting and low speeds, but lacking that extra punch that the V6 Tribute had when trying to merge into traffic, or at higher speeds.

    - Definitely liked the handling of the Tribute better, it felt more sporty, but the CRV handled second best out of all the SUV's that I drove.

    - Hate the placement of the spare tire (mounted in the back of the vehicle). This configuration causes excessive damage during low speed accidents. Also did not like the way the rear door swung open vs the lift up method of the Tribute.

    - Also, (and this is my opinion), I really like the more sporty, muscular look of the Tribute vs the CRV's boring boxy shape.

    - My decked out Tribute (comparable to the CRV SE) was several thousand dollars less.

    - And most of all, the arrogance of the three local Honda dealers was the biggest turnoff. They made me wait, treated me with arrogance the whole time (until I told them that I was going to put more than half down), and would not budge on price. This worried me the most, and I wondered how the dealer would treat me if there were any issues (customer service). Not so with Mazda, they wanted my business and treated me wonderfully.

    - Warranty. Tribute has a much better warranty (4yr/50K vs. 3yr/36k).


      So far I do not regret the Tribute at all, and am very happy. I think the CRV is a very practical, reliable automobile, but was just a little too boring for my taste...
  • rhouser2rhouser2 Posts: 114
    i too have the same reservations of the crv. while having the spare out in the open it is easier to get to when you have a flat. but with the types of tires we have today that is not very often. i can see the externally mounted spare would cause problems in a fender bender, and i have wondered how well the door hinges lasted with the extra weight.

    i don't care for the dashboard gear shift and don't care for the tray between the front seats instead of a full console. and the exterior styling is bland.

    as for honda's attitude towards potential customers, i have not been to a dealer yet.

    did you get fwd or awd? this would be my wife's daily driver and her route to and from work is all highway. they are pretty good about getting the snow plowed. i just can't justify the added expense of awd when we don't need it. we have 98 olds intrigue and my wife gets around fine with it, but she wants the higher seating position and more ground clearance. thanks for your input. it's nic to get info from someone that drives one.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    I think the Honda dealer issue is more an issue with my region (Northern Virginia). Honda's are very popular here, and the salesmen know it :)


    Overall, I think the Honda is a great SUV, but it just was not for me. (Same reason I choose a Nissan Altima in 2002 vs a Honda Accord).


    I picked AWD because of my job (pretty much have to be there no matter what the weather is doing), and also because of resale in the region (much easier to sell an SUV with AWD vs. FWD). But if your wife has no problems now, then the Tribute will be even easier to drive in inclement weather (better tires, more ground clearance). I have to tell you after several recent snow storms, I am so happy I got the AWD. There were tons of stranded motorists this weekend, and the Tribute had no problems at all negotiating through the snowy/slick roads. You cannot even tell when AWD kicks in, it is awesome! Another advantage for FWD (aside from price) is better mpg...
  • mike835mike835 Posts: 17
    The exchange between you, dc-driver and rhouser2

    has answered more concerns of mine and, I expect, others. The latest is how well you found your Tribute handled in the recent snow storm. We (NS) had the storm yesterday - 18". The lovely Cirrus of mine handles well in the snow with decent snow tires. Had some Michelin Alpins a couple of years back and they were unbelievably great. My questions: What tires are you running on the Tribute this winter? Do you get a lot of ice or packed snow? Are the tires sold with the Tribute considered all season or did you have a choice?


    And as rhouser2 said it is great having the input from people that actually drive the Tributes and are willing to offer first hand experience. From your input you seem to report things as you find them which is a great help to the "un-sure".


    Thanks, Mike
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712


      I am glad to hear that my experiences have helped you. I bought the Tribute in mid November (04) and am running the stock tires which are all-season Continentals. As far as performance goes, these tires are great in the snow, rain, and dry pavement, and are all-season. In DC, the ice and sleet are much more of a factor than the snow (we rarely get more than 6-10 inches within a 24 hour period). But the roads here get very slick (snow melts then freezes). Where I live, there is a large hill that I must climb to get to our condo, and while my other car (Altima with all-season tires) and numerous other vehicles in the neighborhood have serious issues negotiating this hill in icy conditions, the Tribute has not had any wheel slippage to date (and I think the AWD system really helps here).


    From what other Escape/Tribute owners have said on other message boards the stock tires are just fine in the Winter, but some of the other users in Canada did replace them with better rated all-season tires. The one thing I have noticed about the stock tires are that they are a little more noisy on the highway than I would like and many Tribute owners have rectified this issue by updating to new tires (Michelin seems to be the preferred all-season tire) when the originals are ready to be replaced. My co-workers did this and noticed a definite improvement in road noise. This should not factor in your purchasing decision (although some owners mentioned that they were able to convince the dealer to upgrade to Michelin's at time of purchase) since the stock tires are more than adequate for 30K + miles.


    The funny thing is that my wife had to drive the Tribute to a meeting during the worst part of the storm on Saturday, and she mentioned that two larger SUV's in front of her slid right off the road, and the Tribute drove right past them :) (Although I think the driver is just as important as the vehicle, and my wife is from Utah and is used to driving in snow). I still thought this was funny :)


    One more thing (sorry to rant) I am on several other Escape/Tribute message boards, and the one common theme about this SUV is how wonderful it handles snow (one of the reasons I bought it). I have never seen one complaint about the AWD system, and how it handles the snow. From what I understand, the AWD system in the Tribute is more advanced than the system in the CRV, and Rav4 (although these vehicles are more than adequate for light to moderate snow conditions).
  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,124
    The Honda dealership issue is not just in Virginia. Same happens here in the NW... You pay the price they want or you walk... Anyone who does car shopping knows this is true of Honda dealerships. I know, I have had the experience. The salesperson telling me "If you don't buy it someone else will".. Look around the net you find this pompus attitude widespread..

    Fact is people are finding out you don't have to pay the premium price for the silver "H" to get a great vehicle.. whether it be Nissan, Mazda, Ford or Chevrolet...
  • I have had the similar experience with Honda dealers here in Minnesota. In the past I have owned 4 honda cars and I think they are probably some of the best made cars in the world. But this "pompous attitude" of the Honda dealers needs to go. Also, during my last car search in 2003, I found out that the Honda dealers offered me the worst trade-in allowance for my car(Nissan) yet they were not willing to lower the price on their product. Guess what... I went with the Tribute. I think Mr. Honda needs to invest some time in re-engineering the mindset of their dealerships. It is one thing to be good but it's another to be arrogant.
  • Got some more snow in the metro DC area this weekend, but the worst was the ice. It's funny last year I hated trying to go out and drive in bad road conditions, but with the Tribute, I actually can't wait to go out in the snow!


    As I said before, my favorite feature is the heated seats :) We have numerous days in the 10 degree and below territiry and the leather heated seats are awesome!
  • My brother is a mechanic and recommends I replace the rear shocks on my '02 Tribute. The dealer says it does not qualify as warranty work because the shocks are "seeping" not "leaking". Nonetheless, I would like to replace them. Any advice on a brand of high performance shocks to consider other than the standard aftermarket KPB ones? Thanks!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    No recommendations, but this post will give you some food for thought as you quiz the shock seller:


    idahodoug, "Toyota Land Cruiser" #2373, 10 Feb 2003 8:24 pm


    Steve, Host
  • dc-driver:


    I'm glad to hear the Tribute has helped take the sting out of winter for you. Taking up skiing a few years back has done this for me. Every time that I'm shovelling the driveway I see it as part of the means to get to the hill - and I almost enjoy the exercise!


    And it is this need to get to the hill in bad weather that is fueling the desire for a Tribute. Your comments just keep helping this desire along.


    The Alpin tires on the Cirrus gave me lots of confidence on icy roads. While driving to MSA in Quebec a while back I found myself on ice and didn't realize it until I was passing a salt truck.


    Have you put any studs in your stock all season tires or do they just grab that well without them? We all can slide on ice. Be careful!


  • scape2scape2 Posts: 4,124
    My wife and I own both an 01 Escape XLt V6 4wd and an 04 Mazda Tribute ES V6 4WD. We did get the recall notice about the possible throttle calble sticking and took it to the dealership. This took all of about 45 minutes. My wife primarly drives the Tribute. There must have been some sort of noise improvments between even the 01 and 04 model years of these vehicles. The Tribute is more quiet on the road. Tribute also just feels tighter and has a more sporty feel than my Escape. Wife enjoys the Tribute.
  • j30j30 Posts: 30
    Has anyone changed the cabin air filter on an 05 Tribute? I have read where alot of new cars are equiped to have them but do not include them when built. Anyway, I've noticed my dash is getting dusty pretty quick and think that I do not have a filter installed. I researched the manual and online and can not find the instructions for replacing the filter. I know it can be housed in the dash, glove box or under the hood in front of the firewall but don't want to tear apart my new car when maybe one of you can point me in the right direction.
  • mphxazmphxaz Posts: 27
    Hi J30
    Go to the Ford Escape/Tribute Owners: Problems & Solutions forum message # 2803. dc_driver recently posted the instructions on how to replace the cabin air filter. Ignore the message title, it was a reply to another message and it gives no clue that the cabin filter replacement instructions are in the message, but the instructions are very clearly detailed.
  • j30j30 Posts: 30
    Thanks for steering me over there!
    I found the filter for 20.50 at does anyone know of a cheaper source?
    I really need to put one in because we are entering pollen season in Florida and everything is turning yellow...
  • I have a 05 Tribute, love the vehicle; however, this past weekend the engine developed a knock and threw a rod through the oil pan at 4700 miles, Mazda roadside assistance is great got a tow truck within an hour. My question is has anyone else had a similar problem with their tribute all maintenance and service has been done at the dealer I purchased it from. Now it is in Indiana 800 miles from home till the dealership there orders a new enging.
  • I bought my Mazda Tribute 2005(V-6)about 2 months ago. Problem i am facing, when i start the engine in the morning, engine starts with no problem. But a huge whistle blowing noise comes up(noise was so loud, my neighbor was scared one day) and stays for 30-40 sec and then goes away. So far, it happened 7/8 times. I went to the dealer and explain this situation and couldn't prove that to them. They want to listen to the noise. Did any one face this problem?? If so, could you please let me know, what exactly is the problem?
    I would really appreciate this.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    My Tribute has never done that.. Sounds like a belt, but I strongly recommend that you drop it off at the dealer and let them hold it overnight to try and replicate the problem in the morning. They should be able to give you a loaner since the car is only two months old.
  • About three weeks ago I bought myself a Mazda Tribute and all was well, until a week later the brakes starting making a creaking/crunk type noise when you press them suddenly or when releasing the brakes slowly. It is annoying, as if there is too much friction with the wheel disks when braking. I took it to my Mazda dealer's shop (which is one of the most known dealers down here) and they checked it out and after 3 hours of waiting told me there was nothing wrong with the brakes and that they work fine. I figured they had solved the noise problem but I still heard it so to make a long story short, after having tested their patience, and after they had tested mine, I ended up talking to the manager of the shop and all he said was that the car was completely fine and that's just a noise the car will make and there's nothing they can do about it and that all their Mazda cars make that noise.

    I'm no car expert but I'm pretty sure cars are not supposed to make that noise when braking. I even told him my brother bought a Mazda in that same dealership and it doesn't make that noise and he stayed quiet. He just said the car is fine again. I feel I'm getting cheated since I'm not paying for the car repair since free repair for 30,000 miles or 2 yrs, whichever comes first, was included when I bought the car. I'm taking it back again and my dad is coming with me as well but I am pretty sure they will say the same thing.

    What do you suggest I do? Is this a common problem? Why did I not hear this noise in another Tribute I test drove before buying my Tribute?
  • Thanks for your quick response. But the problem is not consistent. It doesn't happen in every morning. And for the last 7/8 instances, it happened only in the morning, not in the other time of the day. I wanted to drop off the vehicle at the dealer, but they won't keep it as they are not seeing any symptoms. So, i am littlebit confused.
    Anything else do i need to check? Please advice.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Posts: 712
    I would not be happy with the dealers response to this.. Any chance there is another Mazda dealer nearby that can look into this for you? Here is another idea, any chance you can try and capture the noise on a camcorder? Perhaps the dealer can hear and also confirm that you do indeed have a problem :)
  • autonutsautonuts Posts: 138
    about the Tribute v6 and the 2.3l 4 cyl. Can any of you out there who have driven these two shed any info on how you felt they performed next to each other? Edmund's owners of the 4cyl. in the new car section have said that the 2.3l had enough power and didn't seem to miss the v6. I'm kinda looking at the Tribute and don't want to spend the extra money or gas if it's not really needed. Thanks to all who can reply!
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    The last generation 4 cyl Tribute engine was a poor seller for us and it was underpowered...I decided to take a shot with the new 2.3 and stock more than the typical "ad car" and it has worked out well for us. Selling well and the buyers have not been disappointed.

    My personal opinion is this....if most of your driving is around town without a full load the 2.3 will be fine. save the $$$.
  • autonutsautonuts Posts: 138
    thank you for your reply and opinion. Does anyone else have comments? Thanks in advance!
  • nfldrocknfldrock Posts: 5
    Hi, just bought a 05 Gold Ash Tribute. 4 cyl fwd
    Love it so far, my snowblower fits in there and it doesn't fit in my brothers xterra!

    Do you guys think awd is a necessity....I won't be doing any offroading and I've always driven in the snow the past 10 years fine without an awd.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    You live in a great place, although I've only been there in the summer (your winters sound extreme!).

    I got by 20 winters in Anchorage with FWD, so it's not necessarily a necessity (maybe if you are regularly plowing through ten inches of snow or have to navigate a steep driveway, it's needed).

    Good tires and a bit of clearance will go a long way - or just stay home on the snow dump days.

    And welcome to Edmunds!

    Steve, Host
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