Mazda Tribute – 2008 Review: Float down the Mississippi River and you’re sure to notice that its branches vary little from the main channel. Same trees on the banks, same good fishing, muddy water and soggy bottom all around. Nearly indistinguishable, in fact, so much so that it reminds us of the Mazda Tribute: like so many Mississippi River byways, the Tribute is just as soggy and muddy as its brother, the Ford Escape. We just wish the fishing was still as good as it once was. Just like time and the river, the competition has passed the Tribute by.
What We Drove
Our test vehicle was a Tribute s Touring two-wheel drive, which included the $560 six-disc audio system and cargo cover package. Among the standard features included in the $22,965 price are fog lights, roof rack, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, six airbags and stability and traction control. All told, the MSRP came to $23,525, including the $635 destination fee.
The 200-horsepower, 3.0-liter, V-6 provides adequate power for daily driving, and with a 193 lb.-ft. of torque, the Tribute leaves the line with some authority. Freeway speeds are reached without strain and there weren’t any issues on long uphill sections of road. All in all, its performance was OK, if not a bit dull. The four-speed automatic was smooth and resistant to hunting gears, although a five-speed automatic would make for better economy. As it was, gas mileage was an unimpressive 18.6 mpg, although the EPA rates this version at 18 city and 24 on the highway.