2005 Mazda Tribute

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$19,765

starting MSRP

2005 Mazda Tribute

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

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
  • Lack of low-range gearing

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • i

    $19,765

  • s

    $23,100

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2005 Mazda Tribute trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • More powerful four-cylinder
  • Available V-6
  • Available 4WD
  • Carlike driving feel
  • Sporty suspension tuning

2005 Mazda Tribute review: Our expert's take

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 and upgraded for 2005. When comparing the two SUVs, there are subtle styling differences, unique interior features in each and different suspension tuning.

Serving as the sportier member of the pair, the car-based Tribute attracts considerable interest even if its sales lag well behind the Escape’s. Both models compete against the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

New Tribute i and s trim levels replace the previous DX, LX and ES for 2005. A new 2.3-liter four-cylinder in i models produces 153 horsepower, versus 130 hp in the prior version. For the first time, four-cylinder models can be equipped with an automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are available, but the Tribute and Escape aren’t considered true offroad machines. Mazda says the new Active Torque Control Coupling four-wheel-drive system reacts faster than a hydraulic unit.

Exterior
The Tribute has the same overall shape as the Escape but features unique exterior trim and a different grille and headlamps that were redesigned for 2005. Both SUVs exhibit a conventional small-SUV profile, with similar dimensions. A new rear fascia features vertical taillights, and redesigned alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires. The rear liftgate has flip-up glass.

Tributes ride a 103.1-inch wheelbase and measure 174.4 inches long overall. Standing 69.9 inches tall when the roof rails are counted, the four-door Tribute has a fully independent suspension.

Interior
The Tribute carries five people on twin bucket seats up front and a three-place, 60/40-split, folding rear seat. Tributes now have a floor-mounted gearshift rather than a column lever. The standard 100-watt CD stereo is Sirius Satellite Radio-ready. Leather upholstery, heated front seats and side mirrors, and a power driver’s seat are optional.

Under the Hood
Tribute i models get a new 153-hp, 2.3-liter four-cylinder. A 200-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 goes into s models. The four-cylinder teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission or a five-speed manual, while the V-6 is available only with the automatic. Tributes may be equipped with front-wheel drive or a new four-wheel-drive system that engages automatically but has no low-range gearing.

Safety
Antilock brakes are standard and have electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Side curtain-type airbags are optional on s models.

Driving Impressions
In its previous form, the Tribute drew mixed reactions, but its sporty nature earned high marks. Tributes are quieter than they used to be, and energetic V-6 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 and handles adeptly. Occasionally, a floating sensation makes the driver feel less than fully connected to the highway.

Ride comfort is pleasing, but wavy pavement produces substantial up-and-down motion. The Tribute exhibits no raucous behavior and copes handily with bumps and holes.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.6
  • Interior design 4.1
  • Performance 4.3
  • Value for the money 4.4
  • Exterior styling 4.4
  • Reliability 4.7

Most recent consumer reviews

4.7

Most reliable car I’ve owned

We’ve owned our Mazda Tribute since 100k miles. Now almost 200k miles it is still going strong except for the frame. It’s a shame we live in a state where it snows so much and we didn’t take care of the body, but let me start off by saying the 3.0L and 5 speed automatic on the Mazda has to be one of the most reliable cars I’ve driven or seen in a none Toyota,Honda product. The engine/trans still has a lot of life left but the chassis it self doesn’t. If you can find a cheap v6 tribute that isn’t rusted, it will get you to point a-b hassle free & with the proper maintenance will last 200k miles like mine!!!

4.0

Truly a dependable car I might really on.

I loved the car, it has met most of my needs, it is spacious thus accomodating most of my family luggage. Not so sure whether the diff lock really does the work. I wanna try off road sometime.

4.9

I am a Mazda fan and was looking for a Tribute.

I am happy with my purchase. Gas mileage better than expected. Very sporty ride was a surprise----independent suspension and brake pads all around was a pleasant surprise.

See all 22 consumer reviews

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2003

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2000

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