Mazda Tribute Station Wagon 2001 - 2004

Mazda Tribute Station Wagon 2001 - 2004

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • It comes with a good array of equipment
  • It is a good sized family car
  • The 2.0-litre engine comes as either a two or four-wheel drive

Cons:

  • It’s not very good as an off-road vehicle
  • There isn’t a diesel option available
  • The interior is rather dull and drab

Overview

The Tribute has the rugged looks of an off-roader, but you’ll soon find it to be more at home on the tarmac. Inside it shares a lot in common with the Ford Maverick it was built in conjunction with. This is a good thing though as everything is clearly laid out and easy to use. There is a good amount of space inside too making it a viable family car. It’s just a pity that the interior is so dull. Uniquely for a car like this the entry level engine comes as either a two or four-wheel drive.

Exterior and Interior

The Tribute comes with a good off-road image with its high ride height and distinctive bumpers. It also comes with a spacious interior even if it is rather bland unattractive. Up front there is plenty of space for the occupants to sit comfortably and all of the seats are supple and supportive. The boot is a good size though being able to accommodate the whole family’s luggage easily with the added bonus of being able to fold flat the back seats so you can carry larger objects too. Everything on the dash is well laid out and there has clearly been some thought that has gone into its construction. There are two trim levels to choose from in the 2.0-litre engine, the GXi and GSi. We’d go for the GSi as you get a lot more kit for you’re money and on used buys the gap in cost between the two will have shrunk dramatically. The V6 comes with its own trim though and that includes a CD multichanger, leather upholstery and an automatic gearbox.

Performance and Economy

The entry level 2.0-litre engine has differing fuel economy and 0-60mph figures depending on whether you opt for either the two or four-wheel drive model. The two wheel drive model is the quicker of the two reaching 60mph in 12.6 seconds, compared to the four-wheel drives 13.3 seconds. It is also more economical, if only just, achieving 30mpg to the fours 29mpg. However, it only comes in the GXi trim whilst the four-wheel drive comes in both the GXi and GSi trims. The top of the range 3.0-litre V6 only comes as a four-wheel drive option and as such the fuel efficiency readings are poor with it achieving just 23mpg. It is quicker than the smaller engine reaching 60mph in 11.4 seconds, but it’s not worth such a drop off in its economy figures. Insurance costs aren’t any dearer than those for the Freelander, but will cost you slightly more than a RAV-4 and Honda CR-V.

Like to Drive

The Tribute is much more at home on the tarmac than it is off-road. This is despite its rugged looks which almost give a false indication about the performance of the car. The ride is good and supple and the steering feels nicely weighted and accurate. There is far too much body roll in the corners though. Off-road it doesn’t compare well to any of its rivals with the Freelander, Rav-4 and CR-V all being better. However, if you’re only going to be making the occasional jaunt up a dirt road or across a field then the Mazda Tribute should suit your needs well. The driving position is good too with plenty of adjustments allowing the driver to find a comfortable driving position easily and there are good views of the road ahead.

Faults and Repairs

The Tribute was never sold in great numbers in the UK and as such it’s hard to guage the overall reliability. It’s owners have nothing but praise for it and as Mazda’s consistently feature high on the reliability surveys you can be sure that you will hardly ever have any problems with it. Service and repair costs should prove fairly low too as Mazda’s hourly rates are some of the lowest in the business and the average repair costs tend to be fairly low too.