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2005 Mazda Tribute

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$2,249 — $7,341 USED
12
Photos
Sport Utility
5 Seats
20-26 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 2 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
  • Lack of low-range gearing

What to Know

about the 2005 Mazda Tribute
  • More powerful four-cylinder
  • Available V-6
  • Available 4WD
  • Carlike driving feel
  • Sporty suspension tuning

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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 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 wh...
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

What drivers are saying

4.5
15 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.3)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Reliable

by Wendyjhadley from Lake Wales,fl on December 2, 2018

13 years I enjoy my Madza with harley no problem, an still to this day, I’m driving it back an forth to work, an where else I want to go, I love my Madza Tribute Read full review

(1.0)

Terrible

by Rob549 from Bronx new york on October 27, 2018

I think for safety it’s the worst. I almost died in an accident last week because air bags never deployed . They say there wasn’t a recall but all lights were working so obviously something wasn’t ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2005 Mazda Tribute currently has 4 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2005 Mazda Tribute has not been tested.

Latest 2005 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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