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2004 Mazda Tribute

$1,925 — $6,945 USED
Sport Utility
5 Seats
20-25 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 3 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Easy-to-manage size
  • Maneuverability
  • V-6 performance
  • Four-cylinder fuel economy
  • Crash-test ratings

The Bad

  • Noise
  • Short seat bottoms
  • Occasional floatiness
  • ABS not standard
  • Lack of Low-range gearing

What to Know

about the 2004 Mazda Tribute
  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Carlike driving feel
  • Available 4WD
  • Compact dimensions
  • Sporty suspension tuning

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Ford owns a controlling interest in Mazda, so there’s a close kinship between the popular Ford Escape sport utility vehicle and the related Mazda Tribute. Both SUVs were introduced for the 2001 model year. Subtle styling differences between the two are noticeable, their interior features are not the same, and the Tribute has different suspension settings.

Claimed to be the sportier member of the pair, Mazda’s car-based SUV has been attracting considerable interest even if its sales lag well behind the Escape. Both models compete against such rivals as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Nothing has changed for 2004, but an updated Tribute is expected in the spring. The Tribute is available in DX, LX V6 and upscale ES V6 trim levels and with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The Tribute and Escape aren’t considered to be truly offroad capable.

Exterior
The Tribute has the same overall shape as the Escape, but the Tribute features unique exterior trim and a different grille, front fascia and headlamps. Both exhibit a conventional small-SUV profile, and their dimensions are similar. The Tribute sits on a 103.1-inch wheelbase and measures 173 inches long overall; that’s nearly 7 inches longer than the RAV4. Standing 69.9 inches tall, the four-door Tribute has a rear liftgate that includes a flip-up window. A fully independent suspension and 16-inch tires are installed.

Interior
The Tribute carries five people on twin bucket seats up front an...
Vehicle Overview
Ford owns a controlling interest in Mazda, so there’s a close kinship between the popular Ford Escape sport utility vehicle and the related Mazda Tribute. Both SUVs were introduced for the 2001 model year. Subtle styling differences between the two are noticeable, their interior features are not the same, and the Tribute has different suspension settings.

Claimed to be the sportier member of the pair, Mazda’s car-based SUV has been attracting considerable interest even if its sales lag well behind the Escape. Both models compete against such rivals as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Nothing has changed for 2004, but an updated Tribute is expected in the spring. The Tribute is available in DX, LX V6 and upscale ES V6 trim levels and with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The Tribute and Escape aren’t considered to be truly offroad capable.

Exterior
The Tribute has the same overall shape as the Escape, but the Tribute features unique exterior trim and a different grille, front fascia and headlamps. Both exhibit a conventional small-SUV profile, and their dimensions are similar. The Tribute sits on a 103.1-inch wheelbase and measures 173 inches long overall; that’s nearly 7 inches longer than the RAV4. Standing 69.9 inches tall, the four-door Tribute has a rear liftgate that includes a flip-up window. A fully independent suspension and 16-inch tires are installed.

Interior
The Tribute carries five people on twin bucket seats up front and a three-place rear seat. The 60/40-split, folding rear seat on the LX and ES models expands cargo room from approximately 17 cubic feet to a more useful 63.9 cubic feet. Leather upholstery and a power driver’s seat are standard on the top-of-the-line ES model.

Under the Hood
Mazda and Ford offer the same powertrain choices for their comparable SUVs. The standard engine in the DX is a 130-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and a 200-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 is equipped in all LX and ES models. A five-speed-manual transmission is the sole gearbox available with the four-cylinder engine, while a four-speed automatic teams with the V-6. The Tribute may be equipped with front-wheel drive or a Ford four-wheel-drive system that engages automatically but has no Low-range gearing.

Safety
Antilock brakes are standard on the ES and optional on the LX. Side-impact airbags for the front seats are optional on those upper models.

Driving Impressions
Mazda’s small SUV creates mixed reactions, but its sporty nature earns the highest marks. The Tribute is noisier than some of its rivals. One example emitted a low growl from its driveline while accelerating at low speeds, as if sound insulation was lacking. In addition, a touchy gas pedal made it difficult to start off smoothly.

The Tribute’s energetic throttle response is satisfying. Automatic-transmission shifts are barely noticeable, and downshifts for passing and merging come swiftly. The Tribute steers with a somewhat light touch. It handles adeptly but sometimes displays a floating sensation that makes the driver feel less than fully connected to the highway.

Ride comfort is pleasing on the highway, but wavy pavement produces substantial up-and-down motion. Coping ably with bumps and holes, the Tribute exhibits no raucous behavior.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com;
Posted on 8/27/03

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.2
12 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.2)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(3.9)
Comfort
(4.0)
Reliability
(4.2)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Do anything car utility car I've ever owned

by Fun Seeker on July 10, 2018

Never stuck in snow, avg 24 miles a gallon, versatile, strong car. Still can spin wheels, high intensity lights , new brakes, heated leather seats, rubberized truck tray. Read full review

(4.0)

Good, short wheelbase ride. Lots of pep.

by J Campbell from Kirkland WA on September 23, 2017

Great turning radius. Lots of headroom. V6 gives great power and acceleration when you need it. Interior layout, save for where the ignition hides, is good. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2004 Mazda Tribute currently has 7 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Mazda Tribute has not been tested.

Latest 2004 Tribute Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Tribute received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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