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2009 Mazda Tribute

Overview
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2009 Mazda Tribute Review

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Designed for people who prefer more car-like styling in their compact SUV, the 2009 Mazda Tribute attempts to place as much emphasis on "sport" as it does on utility. As in the past, the Tribute continues to share its unit-body design, powertrains and fully-independent suspension with its corporate cousins the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner. To help ensure broad appeal, the Tribute offers seating for five, both four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines, front or all-wheel drive and three different trim levels. The Tribute HEV Hybrid model is available in limited numbers and only in the state of California.

You'll Like This Car If...

Drivers who prefer a compact SUV with boxy and bold visual traits could well find the Tribute more appealing than competitors like the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue or Saturn VUE.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Driver's who place a strong emphasis on car-like ride and handling, as well as need a third-row seat, might find the Toyota RAV4 a better choice. If you're looking for Ford's SYNC audio system or DVD navigation, you'll have to go with the Escape over the Tribute.

What's New for 2009

For 2009, base models receive an all-new 2.5-liter four cylinder engine that has more power and better fuel economy than last year's 2.3-liter unit. The 3.0-liter V6 also sees improvements in horsepower and fuel economy. An all-new six-speed automatic is standard on all but the front-drive Tribute "i" trim.

Driving the Tribute

Driving Impressions Like many of its compact peers, the 2009 Mazda Tribute is easy to drive and easy to live with on a daily basis. While the suspension never feels overly soft...

or "floaty," spirited cornering does elicit noticeable, but not unexpected or extreme, body lean. However, the standard Roll Stability Control system does an exemplary job of maintaining confidence, even on twisty roads. Those who place a premium on fuel economy will find much to like with the new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which delivers good off-the-line acceleration and passing power and excellent fuel economy. Anyone who plans major towing or toting on a regular basis in any Tribute would be better served by the more powerful V6. Those desiring an extra measure of traction should definitely consider the optional Active Torque Control Coupling (ATTC) all-wheel drive. This slick computer-commanded system can transfer up to 50 percent of the available power to the rear wheels almost instantly, as well as shift it left-to-right to optimize overall traction.

Superb Central Storage
In addition to its lesser storage areas, the Tribute has a huge center console bin that can hold a standard-size laptop computer and lots of smaller accessory items.

Roll Stability Control
This outstanding safety standard helps prevent a potential rollover from occurring by automatically using selective applications of the throttle and anti-lock brakes.

2009 Mazda Tribute Details
2009 Mazda Tribute photo Interior

The Tribute's cabin is now even quieter and pairs contrasting light and dark interior trim panels on all models. New front seats are designed for maximum comfort and both front and rear seats receive new foam padding. Gauges are legible, stow-space generous and key controls well-placed and logically arrayed, but bright sun conditions tend to create annoying reflections on the glossy Piano Black accent bits and frequently overpower the already marginal clock-and-radio digital display readout. Adults can fit comfortably in both front and rear quarters, while the Tribute's 60/40-split rear bench seat easily folds and tumbles to create a flat floor that expands its cargo bay from 29.2 to 66.3 cubic feet.

Exterior

The 2009 Mazda Tribute puts classic SUV sheetmetal cues into a contemporary context that effectively mixes rugged with refined. Squared-off primary lines resolve into nicely rounded edges while a prominent glass area gives the cabin an open, airy feel. The Tribute's large, pentagonal grille imparts a distinctive Mazda flavor to the front fascia and its crisp shoulder ridge is effectively reinforced by large fender flares that house not-so-large 16-inch alloy wheels. At the rear, a one-piece hatch with a bumper-level cutout simplifies loading and incorporates a pop-up glass element that permits carrying longer items, from ladders to surfboards.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the entry-level 2009 Mazda Tribute Sport models offer an excellent set of features, including numerous power assists, keyless remote entry, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD sound, cruise control (with automatic transmission) and alloy wheels. The Touring trim level adds a power driver's seat, privacy glass, roof rack and a new AM/FM six-disc CD stereo with auto volume control and steering wheel control switches, while the primo Grand Touring variant includes leather upholstery, heated side mirrors, power moonroof, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. All Tributes have anti-lock disc/drum brakes (ABS) and traction/stability control plus a sophisticated Roll Stability Control system. There are now six airbags, with the dual front units now supplemented by front-side and side-curtain bags.

Optional Equipment

Save for engine/drivetrain choice and the specific feature enhancements that constitute each of the three trim levels, Tribute options are relatively few. Tribute Sport buyers can opt for roof rails that are standard on the Touring and Grand Touring, while all offer a trailer hitch, side steps and a rear spoiler. The Tribute Hybrid Grand Touring also offers an optional DVD-based navigation system.

Under the Hood

Gasoline-powered 2009 Tributes are fitted with either an all-new Mazda-designed 2.5-liter 171-horsepower four-cylinder engine or a 3.0-liter 240-horsepower Ford Duratec V6. Only the front-drive, four-cylinder base Tribute Sport in the "i" trim level offers the choice of a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. All others come standard with the automatic. Tributes with the four-cylinder engine have a 1,500-pound maximum towing capacity, while Tributes with the V6 can pull a 3,500-pound trailer. Official EPA numbers give the four-cylinder engine a consistent edge over its V6 counterpart in all configurations. The Tribute Hybrid uses Toyota-sourced technology and pairs a 2.5-liter, 153-horsepower in-line four-cylinder engine with a 94-horsepower electric motor and a six-speed automatic. It has a clear advantage in overall fuel economy, but is rated for trailers of no more than 1,000 pounds.

2.5-liter in-line four
171 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
171 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/28 (FWD, manual), 20/28 (FWD, automatic), 19/25 (4WD, automatic)

3.0-liter V6
240 horsepower @ 6550 rpm
223 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (FWD), 17/24 (4WD)

2.5-liter in-line 4 with 70-kilowatt Permanent Magnetic Synchronous Electric Motor
153 horsepower @ 6000 rpm/94 horsepower @ 5000 rpm (247 net horsepower)
136 lb-ft of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy 34/31 (FWD), 29/27 (AWD)

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2009 Mazda Tribute Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.9
Out of 10

Based on 107 Ratings for the 2008 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.2/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

my awesome tribute

By on Friday, September 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 159,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "smooth ride!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"i love my tribute, it's comfortable, drives great and is wonderful on gas!!! i highly recommend this vehicle to anyone!!!!!"

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Best I've Owned

By on Thursday, July 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "See #3 above"

Cons: "Unsatisfactory mpg."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"This is the best car I've owned, however, the mpg is the only reason I'm looking at buying another vehicle; I need something more fuel efficient! Otherwise, it's very comfortable, great sound system, enjoyed the sound system, minimal outside noise, very unlike smaller vehicles where you get a lot of road noise in the cabin."

5 people out of 10 found this review helpful

I love this vehicle

By on Friday, May 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "leg room, head room, smooth on the road"

Cons: "lights don't come on automatically, no hand grips"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"27 mpg, great comfort, lots of leg room and very reliable. The biggest drawback is that to get one now you have to buy a Ford, but if it is a great as the Mazda, well worth it."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Nice mid-size SUV!

By on Monday, March 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "good size, comfortable, nice cargo space, reliable"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This is a nice mid-size SUV and one of the few we could find with a standard transmission (really detest automatics!). It has good cargo space w/o being over-sized. It cruises nicely on the interstate and doesn't get bad gas mileage. The ride is quite comfortable and fits my 5'1" frame. It did quite well on snowy roads during our recent horrible winter."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great and useful vehicle

By on Friday, January 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Great price, easy to drive, good utility vehicle"

Cons: "Small engine, top-heavy"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I have been driving a base model tribute for about 6 years now and I truly do love it. At 65k, I have not had to do any sort of mechanical work on it. The only issue I have encountered is with the power window motors failing and needing to be replaced. I have replaced all 4 of the units but apparently it isn't a widespread issue as there isn't any report on this being a defect from Mazda (Though with all 4 failing, I would think I am not the only one to have this issue). The Tribute handles really well and gets decent MPG in town, though it is far better on the highway. Fairly low-maintenance vehicle, able to carry quite an array of cargo with the back seats folded down, and is just an overall decent & reliable vehicle to have."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Good cheap alternative SUV

By on Thursday, February 21, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Being the last year of the Tribute we got lucky. There is ample room no matter where you sit although the back seats are not the most comfortable. But for what we got it for I can't really complain. The overall fuel economy is just as good as our car from before with just about under 30 mpg combined which is great for a little suv. The interior controls are easy to use, but the only downside is if you wanted to replace the radio there really isn't a way that you can. The HVAC controls are integrated. The build quality is also good, as there aren't any rattles or noise. The stock muffler isn't the quietest on the outside but can't be heard on the inside at all. There are other suv's out there, but none as cheap as this."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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