The next Mazda Tribute has been captured by the long lense of KGP Photography during some late-stage testing that affords us an uninhibited view of the next ZUV (Zoom Utility Vehicle) from Mazda. Clearly the overall shape of the Tribute's sister ute, the new 2008 Mercury Mariner, remains, but Mazda's version has a different front end that's decidely less adorned with filigree and chrome. In fact, it's downright staid next to the new Mariner and reminds us a little of the Honda Pilot, if only for its lack of interesting angles. But hey, some people like vanilla, we just don't usually expect that flavor from Mazda. It'd be nice if Mazda actually did inject the Tribute with a bit of sporting flair in the form of, say, a sport version carrying the turbo-four that appears in the new CX-7, but we aren't holding our breath. And just as Ford must deal with Edge and Escape sales cannibalizing each other, Mazda will likely face the same thing with CX-7 and Tribute sales. This leads us to believe that both the Escape and Tribute will likely be positioned as more utilitarian and dutiful than their brand new brethren. Seeing as how the new Mercury Mariner has already debuted, the new Tribute from Mazda shouldn't be far behind. We should it see it at the L.A. Auto Show in November, if not sooner.

[Source: Winding Road]