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Mazda Tribute



  • I purchased a Tribute ES on 11/29/00 and I love it, unfortunately it has been in the shop twice already! The first time oil was leaking by the rear tires and the service dept. said I needed the main seal replaced and this time (oil continues to leak) I need a rear differential seal replaced. Apparently there is a national back order for this part and I will be without my car for at least a month. I've been given a loaner (protege) but it is certainly not comparable to the tribute. What should I do? Who should I contact? I'd appreciate any advice.
  • bclambbclamb Posts: 10
    I have a Tribute ES-V6, 4-WD, it's 8 weeks old and I've put 5,000 miles on it. (Yes, I love to drive it, but if I don't slow down soon I'll use up the 50,000 mile warranty in less than two years). So far I have found only one problem with the Tribute. When I apply the parking brake, the dash brake light comes on as it should. However, the next morning, when I turn the ignition on, all of the dash warning lights illuminate properly, then when I start the engine they all go off, INCLUDING THE PARKING BRAKE LIGHT, even though the parking brake is still engaged. Fortunately, I've only made one short trip where I had the brake on without noticing it, but this is a problem that I will take to my dealer tomorrow. Has anyone else noticed this problem?

    So far, I've received a new owners manual for the Tribute (the original left out some info on child restraint anchor points), and one recall notice concerning the windshield wiper linkage. Maybe we can get it all cleared up soon. The Tribute has been a fantastic driving experience so far, and with 5,000 miles on it, the gas mileage is averaging 20 mpg.
  • canadianclcanadiancl Posts: 1,078
    I don't have a Tribute but I have a CR-V. The colume shifter is no problem unless you like to manually upshift and downshift.
  • from what i've noticed, the only thing the lever really blocks is vision of the rear defroster light. you simply cannot tell if the defroster is on or off and it is not of the auto-off design, so yeah i've driven for a while with it on. my feeling is if this is the only thing keeping you from deciding between a tribute and the sante fe, then go for the hyundia with the floor shift.
  • I have had my Tribute for a little over a month and continue to love it. The shifter is not a problem for me. In fact, I kind of like it now that I am used to it. For me, it seems to block the "on light" on the defrost button more than the radio. That is an inconvenience because the defrost does not appear to go off automatically. I have to look under the shifter to see if it is on or off.

    We have had more snow than usual for this time of year (like most of the country), and the Tribute has done great in it! I am so glad I went ahead and bought it to have in the snow.
  • bclambbclamb Posts: 10
    I just used the rear window defroster on top of the Smoky Mtns. in 6" of blowing snow drifts, and the defroster does go off by itself. It apparently has to cool down for a few minutes before you can re-activate it, but it does go off on it's own. So, guess the long gear shift lever hiding the defroster light doesn't really hurt after all.
  • 1jimv11jimv1 Posts: 108
    Mazda sells internationally so they designed the shifter on the column to keep the floor clear because in many countries people want a bench seat in front to hold more passengers and so they can all get out of either side of the car. In crowded older foreign cities the streets are so narrow that you often have to park right against a wall, so you can't get out that side. It's very practical and several years back many american cars had column shifters and bench seats.
  • jeanb3jeanb3 Posts: 1
    i have been waiting in new york longisland since Sept 9 for a basic dxv6 anyone waitng this long and did u pay sticker price?thinking of changing soon to sante fe or escape
  • 1jimv11jimv1 Posts: 108
    Retail selling through the extensive services of a commission salesman, a fancy showroom, and a lot full of new cars is expensive for the dealer and therefore for the buyer. But if you prepare yourself to just order the car from the factory through the fleet salesman with no haggling or negotiations it takes just 10 minutes and both you and the dealer will save a lot of money on these retail services you don't use. If you try you yourself can generally do this using the Mazda S Plan. (see Post #86)
    Telephone only the fleet salesman at various Mazda dealers until you find some that are willing to factory order you a Tribute through S Plan. S Plan is voluntary to the dealers. Then go to and pay $40 through your credit card to become a member. This entitles you to participate in Ford's Partner Recognition Program (including Mazda) at that site. Go through the steps on that site and the linked Mazda site to get the Personal Identification Number (PIN) for S Plan. You might have to "give them a reason that you might go outside the Ford family and buy a competition's vehicle"…just say that Ford manufactures Tribute and owns a controlling interest in Mazda. You will need to take this (PIN) to the dealer with your membership card to order your Tribute under S Plan. Call the fleet salesmen who agreed to order under S Plan, tell them you have the PIN and ask them what additional dealers fees they are adding to the S Plan cost. Then go to your selected dealer prepared to order from your fleet salesman. Don't use any retail services. Give them about $100 earnest money deposit on your credit card, have a manager sign the order, and have them mail you a copy of the DORA (so you can track delivery later). Then wait through winter until spring.
  • The problem with the various intake manifold theories is that, in operation, there is a powerful vacuum in the intake manifold. The vacuum is greatest at idle. Now if there is a leak, it will be a leak INTO the manifold.

    I have the fuel smell problem in my ES, which worsened recently, so that I smell vapors in the car while waiting at a light, unless I turn the vents off. This cannot be a manifold leak.
  • 1jimy1--
    thanks for the info on how to purchase a Tribute through the S plan. It was very helpful in conducting my research into which vehicle to get and how much to pay. Here's what I've found so far: After exhausting research, I'm going to choose the Mazda over the Ford. It would seem that they are not equals after-all and I've heard that, similarly equiped, the Mazda will out perform the Ford. I have yet to confirm this by personal experience.

    As far as price is concerned: Apparently, those of us in the Gulf States region (South central and South eastern US) are having a hard time getting dealers to go below MSRP because they say their 1st and 2nd Quarter 2001 allotments are virtually sold and why would they willingly loose money. Even though several Ford Dealerships (some next door) offered me below invoice on XLT Ford Escapes, this didn't carry much weight with Mazda lots. And yes, I did speak to the right people at the Mazda dealerships. Soooooo.......

    Anyone north or east of Oklahoma know of a good Mazda internet or fleet sales person who is willing to deal? I'm currently seeking a Desert Metallic or Chestnut Mica LX 4WD, Towing pkg, Premium Audio pkg, 16" alloy wheels, all-weather floor mats but NO moon roof and NO ABS. PS How about those Sooners!!!
  • brenedbrened Posts: 1
    Purchased an DX AWD a month ago. Absolutely love it! So far I cannot say there is really anything negative and I am very glad I made the decision to buy it. Sifter on the column is not a problem and it didn't take me long to get used to it. I have all the upgrades, leather, towing, etc. etc. so I think it looks much more expensive than it was. I have had 3 people in parking lots ask me what kind of car it was and mentioned how much they liked the looks of it. This is the third Mazda I have owned and fortunately I have a dealer who has a suburb service kept.
  • Earlier this week my wife and I picked up her new 2001 Subaru Forester S. I wanted to take a moment to share how pleased I was with this decision, and the positive buying experience involved. A couple of months ago I set out looking for a replacement for my wife's 1992 Honda Accord EX Wagon -- which has served us (and our two young sons, now ages 10 and 8) extremely well through 220,000 miles. We were looking to buy outright again, and the buying criteria was clear. In priority order, it was: reliability, safety -- based largely on all-wheel drive and air bags offered, cargo space, gas mileage, key features that had to include among other things a moonroof and leather interior, and price. Based on this, another Honda Accord Wagon would have hit the mark (except for the all-wheel drive). But since Honda no longer makes wagons, I began researching other small wagons and small SUV's. I spent a couple of months going through Consumer Reports, Consumer Guide, The Car Book, and a host of Internet sites that included Edmunds,, Car and, and others. What I learned was the Subaru Forester was far and away the best choice for us. It is clearly a better overall product than either the Toyota RAV-4, Honda CR-V, Mazda Tribute or Ford Escape among small SUV's. What really set the Forester apart was its consensus top-of-the-class rating by Consumer Reports, Consumer Guide and The Car Book; its proven
    reliability; excellent customer satisfaction; all-wheel drive from most experienced manufacturer, along with a viscous limited slip rear differential; highest HP & torque 4-cylinder engine; best-of-class crash rating; best-rated handling and ride; larger cargo space; and 60 month/60,000 mile major components warranty. Key features that were also important to us but pretty much comparable to its competition were the 4-wheel ABS & disc brakes, side impact door beams, side airbags (except the RAV-4), moonroof (except for the CR-V, which doesn't offer one and can't have one installed -- Honda says they have to remove a roof beam, which would negatively affect the structure of the car body) and leather interior, gas mileage, price, heated seats, ability to use regular gas, a full-size spare, heated power mirrors, loaner cars for overnight service while under warranty and door-to-door shuttle service thereafter . Although I have to admit even the little things -- like the de-icing front wiper, integrated window antenna, multiple storage compartments, a rubber cargo area tray, subfloor storage, a dimming rear view mirro with electronic compass, and the easiest-to-open rear door (especially when compared to the CR-V) -- were advantages over the competition as well. I never would have bought the Ford Escape or Mazda Tribute -- neither companies have good reliability records overall, and these products are in their first year of production. The President of Mazda happens to be an old friend of mine, so I knew if I wanted the Tribute I could get a great deal. It
    wouldn't have been worth it.

    I'll also tell you we considered a few wagons -- with the Subaru Outback and Volkswagen Passat coming out on top. Here, my wife and I simply preferred the SUV-style over the Outback wagon. And while the Passat wagon is a highly-rated vehicle, to get what we got with the Forester would have meant spending an additional $4,000 to get all-wheel drive, forcing us into the 6-cylinder model with much poorer gas mileage and a requirement to use much more expensive premium gas. All in all, I can't get over the outstanding combination the Subaru Forester offers in terms of reliability, safety, features and value.

    With all this, I still had just a bit of hesitation before making the final buying decision because neither my wife or I had ever owned a Subaru. This is where Al Rowe, our salesman, came in. His professionalism, knowledge and straightforwardness in dealing with both of us made the difference. In sales myself -- 20 years with IBM as a salesman, sales manager and now sales executive -- I've learned a thing or two about salesmanship and the right way to earn a customer's business. Al Rowe represented Subaru very well. We expect this to be just the start of a long-term, positive relationship with Subaru of Morristown, New Jersey as we need to service our Forester along the way -- and look for our next car!
  • Did anyone out there go for the Tribute test drive and submit the J. Crew gift certificate request? I did, along with a friend of mine, and it was postmarked before the November 1 deadline. Neither of us have heard a word! Both of us have copies of the filled out forms. Does anyone out there have a contact phone number or address? I have the address that the certificate was sent to, but I'm not so sure that I'll get a response.

    I was so ready to purchase a ES Tribute, but I got so frustrated with the whole recall situation. I couldn't seem to get a straight answer from anyone associated with MAZDA. Really disappointing. I'm a 10 year Miata owner who would have loved to have been a Tribute owner, but MAZDA/FORD really needs to get their act together. Especially their customer relations. I don't want to bash MAZDA or the Tribute, as I was all ready to go. I wish all of you Tribute owners out there the best of luck. So many of you have not only been patient, but also very generous with your thoughts. Thank you!

    PS. Bought a Lexus RX300. More $$, but one great car. I don't suggest that you test drive one, unless you are prepared to fall in love!!!
  • bclambbclamb Posts: 10
    I haven't received my J. Crew $50 gift certificate either, and the requested was mailed in time and properly filled out with dealer name and signature. Since then I bought an ES 4-WD with everything, and I've had so much fun driving it I completely forgot about the certificate. (Over 5K miles in 8 weeks). After visiting the MazdaUSA website I received an email offering a free video on the Tribute and that has never arrived either.
  • iam3iam3 Posts: 13
    sschumer writes:

    "It is clearly a better overall product than either the Toyota RAV-4, Honda CR-V, Mazda Tribute or Ford Escape among small SUV's .... highest HP & torque 4-cylinder engine ... best-rated handling and ride; larger cargo space ... I never would have bought the Ford Escape or Mazda Tribute -- neither companies have good reliability records overall, and these products are in their first year of production."

    First of all, I would like to say that I think Subaru makes excellent cars... however, I disagree with several of these comments. First, although the four-cylinder engine does have the highest torque and horsepower, it falls short of other cars' V6 engines, or even Subaru's own flat-six. I'm not sure about the handling and ride as I haven't driven one myself, but I do know that the 0-60 time is somewhere above ten seconds (I think CR listed it as 11.1, but I could be wrong), which doesn't even compare to the Tribute's 8.7. I don't know where you're getting the idea that Mazda has a poor reliability record -- all Japanese cars basically have good reliability, and if you look in a magazine like CR you will find that Mazda has an excellent reliability history. For example, the Miata is really the most reliable roadster in existence.

    The Subaru Forester is a great SUV, but I wouldn't say it's "clearly a better product" than the Tribute.
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    Just to second what others said re: gift certificates for test-driving a Tribute... Mazda, you're cheating on us!
  • jmaterojmatero Posts: 253
    I think what she's saying is that the Tribute, mechanically, is a ford... and Fords have less than stellar reliability. I'm really suprised at how many Tribute owners post how their car is so much better than the Escape. It's the same car... sure, some styling differences, but it's the same car... the engines and all components are built at the same plants and both vehicles are put together by the same people/robots. About the most Mazda-unique part in the car is the radio. Therefore, if you feel ford quality is an issue, then buying the tribute would be a problem since it's a ford with a mazda badge. It's no different than the navajo. NOW, if you want to buy a protege, THAT's a great mazda. I'd prefer it over a focus any day. Yes, I understand that Mazda (owned by ford...) had a lot to do with the design of the vehicle, the fact of the matter is the engine is practically pulled off the "ford shelf" (contour family, right?). Again, I'm not trying to flame mazda, but in this PARTICULAR case (escape/tribute) they are the same car... it's really a matter of which one you like the looks of better and the dealer experience/warranty.
  • iam3, appreciate your points, allow me to clarify. First off, I of course agree with you that the Forester's 4-cylinder engine (or anyone else's) falls short of any 6-cylinder. That's comparing apples and oranges. I simply stated the Forester had the most powerful 4 among its competitors. Someone who wants a 6 obviously gets more power, gives up gas mileage. As far as handling & ride, Edmunds states it's the best in its class and Consumer Reports said handling & ride were Forester "highs" (October 2000 issue). As far as Mazda reliability, I got my view from Consumer Reports' Annual Car Issue last April. You're right, the Miata's got an excellent reliability record. But the Mazda product line as a whole (i.e. 626, B-series pickups, Millenia, MX-6, Protege) is a bit spotty, certainly as compared to Toyota, Honda or Subaru. And for those that believe the Mazda Tribute is more a Ford than a Mazda, it only adds concern. Bottom line, I think the Tribute has a great many nice features. And for someone who might be leasing it for only three years, they might be very happy. But I was looking to buy and hold for 5-7 years, and in my case I couldn't recommend anybody buying a first-year product like the Tribute over a proven winner like the Forester assuming the Forester's features overall met that person's needs.
  • dcw7dcw7 Posts: 1
    I just got my tribute back.
    with 8000 miles they resealed the intake manifold.

    it worked, no more fumes through vents.
    I had to leave it for a few days to let the sealer set.
    the rubber gasket that is on it was not a tight enough seal so they put a sealer on both sides of the gasket and let it set for a couple of days and it worked.
    this is what the corporate techs advised and it worked.
  • smokey75smokey75 Posts: 434
    Hey, in case everyone hasn't already noticed. Edmunds has started a Mazda Tribute long term test.

  • iam3iam3 Posts: 13
    sschumer and jmatero's posts got me started thinking about the differences between the Tribute and Escape. Well... what exactly are they? Is the engine tuned by Mazda or is it a completely stock Duratec? I read in a Ford advertisement that the Escape's engine puts out 201 horsepower, compared to the Tribute's 200, so I assumed the two engines were somehow differently tuned after assembly.

    As to the other parts of the car: the transmission is seemingly identical to the Escape's; the Tribute's suspension is different and designed by Mazda for better halding; brakes are the same; the interior was done by Mazda; and the sheetmetal/styling is obviously different.
    Is all that right?

    I would think that the Tribute's handling would also be better, considering how they have more of a sporting heritage (RX-7, Miata, racing program) than Ford.
  • omnibudomnibud Posts: 24
    I must take issue with the statement that the forester is better than the tribute. I understand and agree that if it fits your needs better, then it is the better car for you.... but thats it. talk about apples/oranges comparison.
    lets get right to the point, drive both. which one gets up and goes, which one slugs along with the four cylinder mini cars. how bout cargo space.....hmmmm, lets see... towing capacity... handling, better go read consumer reports, don't bother driving one. styling, yeah this one is in the eye of the cupholder. 190 watt 6 disc in-dash, front/side airbags, enough rear seat room for adults, power moonroof/driver seat, abs, leather.......all for 25 grand. oh yeah, here's one, the roof rack has a 50 pound greater capacity on the forester. so if you line them up side by got one nice roof rack.
  • iam3iam3 Posts: 13
    <<lets get right to the point, drive both. which one gets up and goes, which one slugs along with the four cylinder mini cars. how bout cargo space.....hmmmm, lets see... towing capacity... handling, better go read consumer reports, don't bother driving one. styling, yeah this one is in the eye of the cupholder. 190 watt 6 disc in-dash, front/side airbags, enough rear seat room for adults, power moonroof/driver seat, abs, leather.......all for 25 grand. oh yeah, here's one, the roof rack has a 50 pound greater capacity on the forester. so if you line them up side by got one nice roof rack. >>

    Preach it brother
  • imantimant Posts: 1
    As a prior two time Subbie owner and convinced all wheel drive enthusiat(presently have Audi quattro) the Forester is a great buy. As my companion is buying the Trib we looked at the Honda SUV and Forester and she liked the Tribute. It has good looks and she can sit up high. Now does that rationale surprise anyone? Almost as good as reason as anything else.
    Now we've been waiting 3 1/2 months for our order to come in and Mazda reputation is somewhat tarnished from where this journey began back in september with all the recalls and defects.
    Still hanging and waiting.
    FWIW the Audi/VW product is so much more advanced and high quality that you do get what you pay for. Automobile magazine picked the Passat as their BEST family car of 2001 based on those attributes. Of course buying a car is a matter of she said.
    Waiting to zoooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmm
  • iam3iam3 Posts: 13
    <<FWIW the Audi/VW product is so much more advanced and high quality that you do get what you pay for.>>

    Yes, you get what you pay for... and you pay for quite a bit more. ;)

    <<Automobile magazine picked the Passat as their BEST family car of 2001 based on those attributes. Of course buying a car is a matter of she said.>>

    I don't think it's fair to compare the Tribute to an A4 or Passat. As smaller, "high-performance" German sedans (or wagons), they lack the spaciousness and cargo area of the Tribute. Interestingly, the Tribute is also just as fast in a straight line (0-60 in 8.7 seconds) as an A4 2.8 Quattro Auto, and actually *faster* than the Passat. Of course there is the risk of rolling over, but the skidpad grip and slalom numbers are also comparable. Something to consider...

    Also, the Tribute can do some utilitarian things that the A4 and Passat wagons can't do. I realize that many people aren't buying cars based on their pure "usefulness" (I want a fun car too!) but... would you really take your shiny new Audi skiing? Volkswagen recommends not towing with the Passat... another advantage for the Tribute.

    What's my point with all this? Yes, German cars are better. I don't think anyone will argue that. Germans always have been, and probably always will be, masters of the craft. :) But when you consider its price, efficiency, usefulness, performance, and "fun to drive factor" the Tribute is hard to beat. :)

    <<Waiting to zoooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmm >>

    Me too. The dealership warned against revving the engine past 4000 for the first thousand miles. Oh well.
  • jmaterojmatero Posts: 253
    Yes, there is a one hp difference... that can be attributed to marketing, or (probably) slightly different ECU programming. Mechanically they are identical... part for part. When you hear "suspension if different" that is NOT REALLY true. From a purely mechanical standpoint, the differences are most likely shock/strut valve and possibly spring/bushing rate related. The suspension components (arms, links, etc.) are all the same. Same deal with steering... if there IS a difference, it is only with the steering pump pressure, etc. the pump is the same. So drive the two... perhaps there is a SLIGHT difference in handling... SLIGHT at BEST... but they are the same vehicle. Again, the engine (except cover) and the rest is the same... same hands put it together... even same part nubmers I bet
  • djipdjip Posts: 1
    jmatero Where did you get the data you posted. I have not exactly researched the Tribute/Escape so if you can reference your material.... any help would be useful. Being interested in the Tribute, I want to find as much positive/negative feedback I can. I am traditionally not a Ford fan and said I would never own one, but the fact the Tribute & Escape are EXACTLY the SAME is not comforting. I knew the engine and trans were the same but ASSUMED the suspension was entirely Mazda. Any info would help!
  • ddeemoddeemo Posts: 8
    Mazda & Ford have made an effort to differentiate between the Tribute & Escape. They are attempting to target different customers and changes are made to suit each group. Although there is overlap when 2 vehicles are similar, the differences still exist. You might as well say that the Lincoln LS and the Jaguar S-type are the same (except for the $10-15,000 price difference). These are both built on the same platform and have the same engine design just different tuning and sheet metal, although built at different plants.

    The Tribute has 200 Hp and 200 LbFt , Escape is 201 Hp and 196 LbFt torque. The engines are tuned slightly differently (different engine management chip) for slightly quicker power on the Tribute. The transmissions are programed slightly differently for sportier response for the Tribute. The suspension pieces are nearly identical but the Tribute has sportier handling with firmer ride, more controlled lean and quicker but less assisted steering.

    Small changes can up to a very different feel. If you drive both you will find that the Escape is more of a cruiser and the Tribute is more of a sports car feel. Neither is a true sports car but both handle and accelerate very well compared to any SUV this side of the BMW X5.

    While both vehicles roll off the same assembly line, Mazda seems more concerned with vehicle quality. The final quality control checks and adjustments are not the same on both. Also Mazda insisted on the same type of robots as those used on the Japanese built Millennium to reduce quality control problems.

    Ford / Mazda have been quick to fix problems on these vehicles which has lead to a perception of a major problem. Most of these recalls have been for relatively few vehicles or minor flaws. Any new vehicle will have a learning curve, no matter who designs or builds it. Many Japanese cars have relatively fewer problems here because they are found and fixed in the Japanese market before being introduced here.
  • I am soliciting advice from anyone that could contribute. I am confronted with a decision to buy a fully-loaded FWD Tribute ES at MSRP or buy a nearly-fully-loaded 4WD ES (minus only the Perimeter Alarm [a $115 option], Step Plate [$89], and All-Weather Floor Mats [$70]) for only $400 more (which basically comes to about $600 below MSRP).

    I don't have a significant reason to have a four-wheel-drive (live in SE, relative smooth terrain, no beach nearby) and have no significant attachment to the options I would forego if I choose the 4WD.

    Would I be foolish for passing up the better deal on the 4WD? Are there any other differences between the FWD and 4WD that I should consider? Gas mileage? Added maintenance to 4WD? Any more known problems with the 4WD that the FWD hasn't had? etc.

    Any input over the next couple of days would be appreciated.
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