Good second car
Bought it used. It is the ES model with all the goodies: leather, sun roof, power seat, heated seats,auto RV mirror with temp & direction. Have not experienced any mechanical problems at 60K. Front brakes were rebuild when we bought it. It is a noiser ride than my Kia Sportage. Don't like location of key or radio controls. Trans selector is column mounted-not the best place. Wife loves it and won't give it up.
Well built SUV for the $$
Traded a large '04 Durango for a more economical and more reliable SUV. Did a TON of looking and could not beat the value of the '04 Tribute (Ford Escape sibling). It is a well built vehicle, when you close the door it feels very solid. Some road noise even with windows closed, but I would imagine it depends on the tires you run on it. Front wheel drive handles well in wet weather, punch too hard on the V6 though and front end tends to skip a bit. A lot of amenities for a value priced car, leather, sunroof, upgraded stereo, very pleased so far. Have a '91 mazda miata and hope the Tribute lasts nearly as long!
New car for the price of a use one
The title said it all. Being an outdoor person my Mazda got the room to accomodate my gears from sea kayak to mountain bikes and everything in between. My gas mileage in town is about 19/20 mpg w/studed tires and 20/22 summer, 22/25 mpg summer on the hwy under 70mph. Excellent handling and driving on snow and ice w/studded tires. The first year had problem with my engine light coming on, after several trips to the shop the problem was corrected. Got less then 13000 miles on my original summer tires and replacement are needed.
Loved my Tribute but......
I purchased a 2004 Mazda Tribute new. I loved it. It was fun to drive and reliable. However, four years later and 68,000 miles, the front and rear crank seals and the axle seal started to leak, plus the throttle stuck at times. The cost to repair would be over $1,000. As much as I loved the vehicle, I traded it for a Hyundai. I just wasn't sure what problems may appear next and I still owed another 2 years on it.
True to the word -S.U.V. Not exactly a gas saver.
This car is about 1. Sports: great handling, linear steering, steady power once getting up the speed, great center feel on the wheel. 2. Utility: more space than most better SUVs (try 4-Runner for trunk, or head room for Explore or leg room for X-Terra, not to mention the fancy Euro ones, X3, Touareg, etc). Nothing fancy or sophisticated about this car. But it ain't ugly or extra cute, just right for what it is, well proportioned (Jeep Liberty looks like somebody cut off half of its behind!) Mine's a L4, about 20/mpg on average, nothing to brag about, surprise to me, I am not hard driver and I don't carry heavy loads either. The noise is terrible. But most SUVs are not quiet either. My wife's 2004 Camry gets plenty noisy once over 65mph. Don't know why the "experts" claim the Camry is so quiet. It's not. But than Tribute, but not by much. The interior is functional but nothing to brag about either. The fit and finish is better, quite a bit better than what I saw in the 2008 model, what a shame! The 08 model obviously uses cheaper plastics all over, looks like something out of Dollar Tree! My 04 model is much better. The manual shifter works, but nothing slick or fancy about it either. But the stick does give the car a lot of kick when I need it, especially on the highway. The seat isn't comfy but beats the cushy Camry in long distance - the latter gives back pain because the hollow space between the back and the seat, Tribute is much better designed here (Don't believe everything the experts tell you about the Camry). Over all, the Tribute is truly a SUV, like the Miata also from Mazda, nothing fancy, but gets the job done as it supposed to. Goes anywhere I like, and carry the stuff. I am constantly amazed by how much cargo space this little car has! They even make noise in similar fashion which gives me headache over 1 hour drives. Bottom line for me, it works, not pretty, but works. I wanted to go cheap and functional, I got what I asked for. No more, no less. A bit dispointed by the not so thrifty engine
Value for your money
Not the best car, but respectable value for the money. Noisy above 50. Good in the snow 21mpg in town with my 4 cyl, with studded snow tire 19/20 mpg could be better. Hwy 22/24mpg summer driving under 70mph. Was very reliable until I went 4 times in the last 12 months to the dealer for an engine light going on. Every time a different problem, with no clear final solution.