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Mazda Tribute
2001-2004 Mazda Tribute wagon 01
Manufacturer Mazda
Ford Motor Company
Production 2001–present
Predecessor Mazda Navajo (United States & Mexico)
Suzuki Escudo
Mazda Proceed Levante (Japan)
Successor Mazda CX-7 (In Japan and Asia-Pacific markets)
Class Compact CUV; Hybrid vehicle
Body style(s) 5-door SUV
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive
Platform Ford CD2 platform
Wheelbase 2620 mm (103.1 in)
Related Ford Escape
Mercury Mariner

The Mazda Tribute (Code J14) is a compact CUV made by Japanese automaker Mazda since 2001. It is jointly developed with Ford Motor Company and based on the front-wheel drive Mazda 626 platform, which is in turn the basis for the similar Ford Escape on the CD2 platform. The Tribute is priced below the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner in Ford's CD2 SUV lineup.

The Tribute and Escape debuted in 2001, offering front or all wheel drive and a choice of a transversely-mounted 2.0 L Ford Zetec 4-cylinder engine or 3.0 L Ford Duratec V6. Ford Escape was also sold as the Ford Maverick in Europe with a Ford 2.0 L I4 Zetec engine with manual transmission, or 3.0 L Duratec coupled to automatic transmission.

One main difference between the Tribute and the Ford Escape/Maverick is that the Tribute's suspension is tuned for a firmer ride than the Escape/Maverick, in order to correspond with Mazda's sporty image. It is also Mazda's oldest SUV still in production. Despite the fact that the Tribute has been in production much longer than the updated models from competitors, it is still hailed by many enthusiasts to be a "soulful" vehicle, with extraordinary ride, handling, and performance characteristics which set it apart.[1]


First generation (2000–2007) Edit

2000 Edit

First generation
Mazda Tribute
Production 2000–2007; Asia-Pacific production continued until 2010
Assembly Hofu, Japan
Claycomo, Missouri, United States
Jhongli, Taiwan
Rayong, Thailand
Santa Rosa, Laguna Philippines
Kairouan, Tunisia (IMM)
Engine(s) 2.3 L 153 hp (114 kW) I4
3.0 L 203 hp (151 kW) V6
Transmission(s) 5-speed G5M manual
4-speed CD4E automatic
Length 2001–03: 173.0 in (4394 mm)
2004–06: 174.4 in (4430 mm)
Width 2001–03 DX: 70.8 in (1798 mm)
2001–03 LX & ES: 71.9 in (1826 mm)
2004–06: 72.0 in (1829 mm)
Height 2001–03 DX: 69.3 in (1760 mm)
2001–03 LX & ES: 69.9 in (1775 mm)
2004–06: 70.0 in (1778 mm)

The Tribute made its debut at the 2000 Los Angeles Auto Show. In the United States, it somewhat filled the gap left by the Mazda Navajo, a rebadged Ford Explorer, (which was retired in 1994), while in most other countries it was the first Mazda-badged SUV ever sold. Also, in Japan, Mazda had an SUV called the Mazda Proceed Levante, a rebadged Suzuki Escudo prior to the SUV's debut. The Ford plant in Claycomo, Missouri assembled Tribute for the North American market, alongside Ford Escape. The Mazda plant in Hofu, Japan and the Ford Lio Ho plant in Taiwan assembled Tribute for their respective markets. The 2001–2006 Mazda Tribute was available as front- or four-wheel drive and featured plain-looking but comfortable roomy interior, decent handling and car-like ride.

Engine options:

The 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine had Timing belt driven Camshafts, while the 3.0 L Duratec V6 featured a maintenance-free timing chain.[2]

2004 Edit

05-07 Mazda Tribute

MY2005–2007 Mazda Tribute (US)

Both the Escape and Tribute were refreshed in 2004 for the 2005 model year. The base engine became the Mazda 2.3 L MZR 4, and the top remained the 3.0 L Duratec V6. In North American built models, a floor mounted automatic transmission shifter replaced the column shifter. However, Japanese-built models continued with a column shifter. Mazda decided to halt production after the 2006 model year for the Tribute, and a hybrid version of the Tribute has been introduced alongside the next generation Tribute as a 2008 model.

Engine options:

  • 2.3 L MZR I4, 153 PS (114 kW)/206 N·m (152 ft·lbf)
  • 3.0 L AJ V6, 203 PS (150 kW)/261 N·m (193 ft·lbf)

2006 (Asia-Pacific) Edit

2006-2008 Mazda Tribute wagon 03

2006–2008 Mazda Tribute (Australia)

A significantly face-lifted version of the Tribute was released in the second half of 2006 for Asia Pacific markets. The updated Tribute featured a larger, bolder grille, with an enlarged Mazda emblem, as well as restyled front bumper and headlights. Side mirrors featured integrated indicators.

On the inside, changes included a new floor mounted automatic transmission shifter, in place of the old column shifter (Asia-Pacific model only; US-built Tribute gained the floor shifter in 2005). The dash was updated with a brand-new radio and automatic climate control with digital read-out, on certain models. Mechanically, the rear drum brakes were replaced by disc brakes. Engines remain the same, but the V6 has been modified to reduce fuel consumption by over 10%, while the 4-cylinder has improved mid-range torque and an electronic throttle. Both engines had been certified to meet Euro III emission regulations.

Starting from 2007, Mazda stopped selling and producing Tribute in Japan, and replaced it with similar sized CX-7. In 2008 Mazda Australia also discontinued the Tribute, the absence of the Tribute being filled by the Mazda CX-7 introduced in the previous year. For other Asia-Pacific markets, the production of Tribute was shifted to the Ford Lio Ho plant in Jhongli, Taiwan, which also produces Tribute's twin, Ford Escape, for Asia-Pacific markets. This arrangement continued until early 2010, when the Tribute for the Asia-Pacific markets ceased production, being fully replaced by the CX-7 imported from Japan.

Second generation (2007–present)Edit

Second generation
08 Mazda Tribute
Production 2007–present
Assembly Claycomo, Missouri
Engine(s) 2.5L MZR I4
3.0L AJ V6
Transmission(s) 6-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 103.1 in (2619 mm)
Length 174.9 in (4442 mm)
Width 71.1 in (1806 mm)
Height 67.7 in (1720 mm) & 70.2 in (1783 mm)
Hybrid: 70.0 in (1778 mm)

In 2007 for the 2008 model year, the Tribute was significantly revamped, like its Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner siblings. Originally set to be renamed the Mazda CX-5, the vehicle kept the Tribute name. The changes were significant, but fell short of a "clean sheet" redesign, as the vehicles remained on the CD2 platform, and kept the old 2.3 L MZR I4, and 3.0 L AJ V6 engines. Visible changes include all new sheet metal and interior. The interior was significantly upgraded using all new components and higher quality materials, and was generally praised by automotive journalists.[3] However, unlike the first generation of the Tribute, which had unique exterior and interior from its siblings, the new model only differs from its siblings in the "nose" (front fenders, hood, and front fascia), tail lights and detailing. Notable changes to the exterior include higher belt line, and more pronounced wheel arches. Overall the car was to look larger and more substantial than the previous model. As a cost saving measure, the rear brake was reverted back to drum brake, with predictable criticisms.[4][5]

The 2008 Mazda Tribute (non-hybrid) was first unveiled at the 2007 Montreal International Auto Show, and the 2008 Mazda Tribute went on sale in March 2007.[6]

A new addition was the Hybrid model which was previously only available on the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner.

The Tribute received additional major changes to improve performance for the 2009 model year, mostly by way of mechanical upgrades. Most significantly, all new engines replaced the increasingly outmatched 2.3L I4 and 3.0L V6. Mazda's new MZR 2.5L I4 replaced the 2.3L, boosting horsepower to 171 bhp (128 kW/173 PS) and 171 lb·ft (232 N·m) of torque at 4000 rpm.[7] Despite increased horsepower, fuel economy also increased by 1 mpg-US (240 L/100 km/1.2 mpg-imp) on both urban and extra-urban cycles. The optional 3.0 L (AJ) V6 was thoroughly updated, resulting in a 40 hp (30 kW) increase, bringing power output to 240 hp (180 kW) and 233 lb·ft (316 N·m) of torque. It also sees a 1 mpg-US (240 L/100 km/1.2 mpg-imp) improvement.

Another significant change was the switch to Ford's new 6F 6-speed automatic, which became standard on all V6 equipped models and optional on the I4. As well, new front and 18.5 mm (0.73 in) rear stabilizer bars were added for 2009 to improve ride handling after complaints about diminished performance following the 2008 changes. Others changes included redesigned seats, daytime running lamps, optional steering mounted audio controls, and other additional features.

ReferencesEdit

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