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2008 Mazda Tribute

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2008 Mazda Tribute Review

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Aimed at folks shopping for a crossover utility vehicle, but one with perhaps a flavor of a sport utility vehicle, the Mazda Tribute compact crossover has returned after a one-model-year hiatus, smartly restyled inside and out and bristling with an enhanced roster of standard and optional features. 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 2008 Tribute offers seating for five, both four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines, front or all-wheel drive and three different trim levels. The 350 Tribute Hybrids to be made available in California only will be differentiated by an available navigation system, the unavailability of stability control and driving dynamics that are effectively identical to the Escape and Mariner hybrids.

You'll Like This Car If...

Drivers who prefer car-like ride and handling qualities but want a vehicle with bolder, truck-like 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...

Riding on the same platform on which it was introduced for the 2001 model year, the Mazda Tribute doesn't match the levels of overall refinement offered by so many of its fresher competitors.

What's Significant About This Car?

While far short of a full generational makeover, Mazda gave the 2008 Tribute a comprehensive visual revamping that left it with a more contemporary flavor. Effectively complementing the new look are significant feature upgrades, handling refinements and class-leading safety systems, plus a low-volume, California-only Hybrid variant.

Driving the Tribute

Driving Impressions Like many of its compact peers, the 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 may find the four-cylinder engine sufficiently energetic, but it gets a bit stressed when matched with the heavier all-wheel drive system. 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.

2008 Mazda Tribute Details
2008 Mazda Tribute photo Interior

The Tribute's revamped cabin is now even quieter and pairs contrasting light and dark interior trim panels on all models. 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
2008 Mazda Tribute photo

The new 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 wrapped with P235/70R16 all-season tires. 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 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 and roof rack, while the primo Grand Touring variant includes leather upholstery, power moonroof and a premium audio with a six-disc CD changer. All Tributes have anti-lock disc/drum brakes and traction/stability control plus a sophisticated Roll Stability Control system (except the Hybrid). 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 Tributes are fitted with either a Mazda-designed 2.3-liter 153-horsepower four-cylinder engine or a 3.0-liter 200-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 four-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 two-miles-per gallon edge over its V6 counterpart in all configurations. The California-only Tribute Hybrid uses Toyota-sourced technology and pairs a 2.3-liter, 133-horsepower in-line four-cylinder engine with a 94-horsepower electric motor and a four-speed automatic. It has a clear advantage in overall fuel economy, but is rated for trailers of no more than 1,000 pounds.


2.3-liter In-line 4
153 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
152 lb-ft of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy 22/28 (FWD, manual), 20/26 (FWD, automatic), 19/24 (AWD automatic)

3.0-liter V6
200 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
193 lb-ft of torque @ 4850 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy 18/24 (FWD, automatic), 17/22 (AWD, automatic)

2.3-liter In-line 4 with 70-kilowatt Permanent Magnetic Synchronous Electric Motor
133 horsepower @6000 rpm/94 horsepower @ 5000 rpm (203 net horsepower)
124 lb-ft of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy 34/30 (FWD, automatic), 29/27 (AWD, automatic)

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2008 Mazda Tribute Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.9
Out of 10

Based on 110 Ratings for the 2008 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    8.1/10
  • Reliability
    8.6/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.4/10

Love my 2008 Tribute

By on Thursday, August 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 205,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Love how it handled the snow and ice"

Cons: "Power steering box went out before the recall,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"With dismay my husband is insisting I sell my 2008 Tribute with slightly over 205,000 miles. This old girl has been more reliable and required less maintenance than the 2 Honda CRV's I had before her. I gave her synthetic oil just like the CRV's and still not a tick to be heard. My Tribute had so many cup holders and storage compartments which made my mobile office more secure. I am sure she could have made it to 300,000 miles with me but got to keep the hubby from worrying about me on the road. Only bad remark-- could you please make it easier to change the head lamps, my gosh I am a woman and only a gorilla can get to or change those!"

All in all, this is a nice car that performs well.

By on Monday, August 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 104,600

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I really like this car. I have enjoyed driving it. it is comfortable and drives well and is quite roomy. The stereo sound is quite good. I do wish that it had more compartments for storing things like my tissues. I would like to have had running boards to aid with getting into the vehicle because it is a little high, but I have gotten used to it. Also, a handle for the trunk would have been nice. The controls would be easier to manipulate without glancing if the knobs were against a different colored background."

Great vehicle! We just want a new Mazda 6

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "never had engine trouble other than maintaining"

Cons: "glove compartment could be bigger"

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

"in May 2010, we had a big thunderstorm that landed a tree on our windshield while parked on our apartment lot. Geico Insurance did a good job of repairing the windshield, and painted some scratches. They also guaranteed the repairs for the life of the car. we have that paperwork."

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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!!!!!"

13 people out of 23 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."

8 people out of 14 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."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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