2003 Mazda Tribute consumer reviews

$18,455–$20,155 MSRP range
side view of 2003 Tribute Mazda
92% of drivers recommend this car
Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 4.4
Explore the 2003 Mazda Tribute
2.6

Would never buy a Mazda again!

First 60,000 miles I loved my Tribute even with a couple of issues. Of course, nobody has figured out the transmission problem. Bucks a lot and changes gears hard. Once I hit 60,000 I have had to replace 4 of the coils and 3 of the 4 catalytic converters. The front two converters are $500 for the part plus labor to put in. The brakes have always sounded like they were metal on metal and have never worked well. I bought this car in hopes of keeping it as long as I possibly could. It only has 122000 miles and is such a disappointment.

5.0

Love it!

I bought my LX new when it came out in 2002. Has 125K miles on it now. I was also looking at the Escape but the Tribute was "cuter" & had a more stylish look both interior & exterior at the time. I haven't had any major issues with it all. This has been a great vehicle. This is the longest I've owned a vehicle, the most miles I've put on one and best experience I've had with one. It's a great vehicle for the size and price. It sits up high like a full size SUV, no blind spots & good room in the back seat & back for storage.

4.1

Owns up to the expectations!!

My Mazda Tribute LX was pruchased used with 30,000+ miles on it and has endured the test of time and numerous wreckless drivers, including myself, since 2003. Aside from the regular maintenance, the only problems I've had are the wiring in my dash board and my A/C. After 8yrs and 197,000 miles, it run smoothly, now that I am doing regular upkeep and inspections. Gas mileage is lacking but I cant complain since its still around 16mpg city and highway mileage is increasing!!

4.0

Overall good vehicle

I was going to get an Escape, but the Mazda Tribute was a better price and had more features and a color I loved. Overall it's been a very good vehicle. Gas mileage not the best but much better than our Durango. Biggest beef with this vehicle is that it is noisy ride. You can hear the most of the road noise. Bought the Mazda extended warranty when we purchases the car which was refunded in full after 6 years since it was not used during the warranty period. Good value for the money.

4.0

Great SUV

I wanted either the Escape or the Tribute. I went for the tribute because it was a better price at the time. What I found was this SUV was every thing I wanted. With great utlity and outstanding four wheel drive this vehicle puts my friends jeep to shame when we are back in the woods. Would buy agian!!! Great towing for the size as well. Only complaint is the breaks could be better needs four wheel disc.

4.3

Love this car!

I bought my Tribute new in '03 and it now has 111.000 miles. I have had no problems with this car and almost no maintenance at all. The only thing that I can say negative would be that it is somewhat noisy as in road noise. It rides well, handles great and I would buy another one when the time comes to trade up. This car is the perfect fit for me and gas mileage is good also.

4.1

Mazda is a hidden treasure

This SUV was a surprise to me as I now know is it the Ford Escape. Unlike many other small or mid-size SUVs, this one has a lower cost and resale value which I believe to be a good thing for the consumer. It rides good, has a roomy interior, multiple safety features and the exterior look "brand new". The only thing that made me feel somewhat negative about the entire experience was the dealership where I purchased the vehicle. All I can say is do not talk to them about anything including warranty information, price of the car, your trade in value... They will get you in the end. Arrange all your financing ahead of time, know what your car's value is and do your research. It will pay off. I am very happy with the Mazda and it meets my needs.

3.9

Still going after 120k

Bought new in 2003, after reading reviews, decided on the Tribute (4/48k warranty vs 3/36 for the Ford escape). We purchased the extended warranty because we plan to keep the it as long as it runs. 30k Front Passenger Brake failure - replace caliper and rotor -warranty covered Passenger, we had to pay for Drivers side 60k Engine overheated, burned valves, Warped engine, 2 months at dealer fighting with insurance to pay the bill- Sometime after that while we were getting New Tires - Found a cracked CV joint - Fixed under warranty 110k - Tuneup, plugs, wires, front brakes, found 2 leaking struts, one front, one rear 125k - Replaced all struts, Alignment, Rear brakes. The car starts reliably, sounds good, looks great, drives nicely and is comfortable. I think we just had a bit of bad luck with ours, but were lucky we purchased the extended warranty. It cost us $1200, but saved us about $5000 in repairs. 3k Engine, 2k on brakes and axle. The engine was really rebuilt at 60k, so it's like it only has 65k on it. We still plan to keep it forever, just hoping that the repair costs stay minor - especially since it is paid for.

4.0

Love the Tribute!!

My wife and I bought the 2003 Mazda Tribute used and we love it. Plenty of room for the kids and the dogs! Drives and handles nice, good gas mpg. Many features for the price. Ours was very well taken care of and it still smelled new! Highly recommend the Tribute for any family.

4.7

Best suv

Bought mine new in 2003, one or 2 minor issues at first that were covered under warranty. since then just minor wear and tear... xxxxxxgreat ride, knock on wood - no major mechanical issues, good looks, Body molding and paint have held up super - still shines like new! Inside,Leather has held up well, pretty comfy too! great factory sound system for "FORD". CONS - the plastic that wraps around drivers seat has broke/cracked numberous times from catching my shoes, covered under warranty the first couple times and now its broke and will stay that way...ok gas mileage, wish it would do better and the gear shift on the column - stupid...makes accessing the radio a challenge.. LOVE LOVE LOVE my suv just as much now as 7 yrs ago!