• Nov 6, 2006
click on image to enlarge

Loose lips sink ships, and we discovered that Mazda's got a hole in its boat big enough to drive the next generation Tribute through without being caught. Mazda shouldn't feel bad about these leaked photos and computer renderings of the 2008 Tribute and its interior (follow the jump for those), especially considering the Mercury Mariner has already been unveiled and Ford's done a terrible job so far of keeping the next Escape under wraps. So what do we have here? Pretty much what you'd expect, a virtually identical version of the Escape save for the grille, headlights, taillights, front and rear bumpers and side skirts. Unfortunately it's your basic badge engineering job on a vehicle that doesn't even need to exist in Mazda's lineup. This is the brand that's supposed to be sporty (Zoom Zoom, anyone?), so why does it need a boxy, unathletic SUV that looks like the least soulful of the three versions that will be sold to the public? It's place in the world is even more suspect when you consider that the very well-received CX-7 is a swoopy, athletic CUV with the sould of a sport compact. Common sense tells us that this next-gen Tribute probably cost next to nothing for Mazda to develop since Ford was picking up the tab on the Escape and Mariner. In our eyes, however, there are other costs involved with offering a discordant model in your lineup than the kind emblazoned with dead presidents.

Follow the jump for a rear 3/4 shot of the 2008 Tribute, along with computer renderings of the interior.

Thanks to anonymous for the tip!

PHOTO GALLERY:


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  • 40 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Another one jumping out of the COMPACT SUV segment
      • 8 Years Ago
      Correct me if i'm wrong, but isn't the 2008 Tribute suppose to be sold in Thailand only?
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think this and the Mazda truck are going to be the two non-Mazda looking vehicles in their lineup. I understand the truck. I don't really know why Mazda bothers with the Tribute when the CX-9 is on the way. What role does this fill for Mazda, other than acting as a wart?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Now, remember. These interior pics are computer renderings. I would imagine hundreds of these computer renderings exist to explore different color combinations. Who says these are what the finished product will get?

      The continued presence of the Tribute is needed in Mazda's line-up. For one, it will provide the brand with a hybrid model. Two, it will give them an entry-level SUV (CV-7 starts just over $24k; CX-9 starts just under $30k). I would imagine they will price the Tribute under $20k. Three, it gets better fuel mileage than the CX-7 and CX-9, particularly if they leave a manual transmission option with the 4-cylinder.

      Also, not everybody likes the swoopy styling of the CX-7. The Tribute's boxy shape is more usable. We have an '05 Tribute. We've looked at the new CX-7. The Tribute has more passenger space front and rear, plus the rear load floor is wider. It also gets better mileage than the CX-7, plus it doesn't need premium fuel. Sure, it's not as sporty, but it has more zoom-zoom than the Escape and Mariner. We also had a Mariner, which had a wonderfully smooth ride... just don't ask it about cornering.

      I think what it really boils down to is that Mazda doesn't want to get left behind when most of the manufacturers have a hybrid. Until their own hybrid can come to market, the Tribute will have to make do.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Being a current owner of a 2005 Tribute, I am looking forward to this one coming out. The Tribute is better placed than the CX-7 and CX-9 as far as its overall utility is concerned. The CX-7 is not set up as a workhorse (towing) while the CX-9 will be competing in a substantially higher price segment. Also, both of the CX's will require premium fuel while I hope that the Tribute continues with the regular octane. I'll buy one!
      • 8 Years Ago
      This doesn't match the Mazda theme anymore. Give it the axe.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I do not understand this. Why make another SUV when Mazda already offers two, which look much better and any buyer will recocnize that this is Escape. Wouldn't it be more financialy sound to sell this car under Escape or Mariner...because now they need to make and ship and advertise yet another vehicle.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Drop the "Tribute" name - its going to be CX-5 under the new Mazda nomenclature. It will be Hybrid- possibly only Hybrid. Thats the point really- having a Hybrid available. Also there are many "suv" buyers that bought a Tribute previously that don't like the look of the CX-7. The prefer the traditional looks. This is keeps an option for them to trade up to.
      • 8 Years Ago
      interior seems to have cheap plastics although i cant be sure.
      Those middle cupholders are a joke. If they are for the front occupants, then they are too high and to far back. If they are for the back occupants, then too much of a reach. Only person that it works for is the rear middle seat. And two cups for that person?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Umm, thats doesn't look that bad. Interior, if thats interior looks very nice, even though they are renderings. But Tribtue is the only mazda that is GM related in parts. Which sucks knowing how shitty GM is.Anyway the exterior is a mixture of a Infiniti QX56 front and sider panels from Patherfinder, and rear from the QX56.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Lookin good.
      • 8 Years Ago
      P RNDL, way to mimic a 1960's automatic. and an OD off button

      It looks like Mazda has lost its zoom zoom
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