2003 Tribute New Car Test Drive
It's a well-worn cliche, but the Mazda Tribute really puts some sport in sport-utility. Responsive handling and brisk V6 performance make Tribute one of best of the small SUVs sold today. Mazda and Ford worked jointly on developing the Mazda Tribute and Ford Escape, and together they outclass the other small utilities, at least on dry pavement.
Mazda Tribute delivers an excellent value for people who want the image and versatility of a sport-utility, coupled with refinement and better on-road handling than truck-based utilities can offer.
Tribute ES, the top model, comes loaded with leather seating, a six-disc in-dash CD player and other luxury features. Upgrades for the 2003 Tribute ES include dash trim designed to look like carbon fiber, side-impact airbags that come standard, and available heated seats and mirrors.
Mazda Tribute is available in three trim levels: DX ($18,295), LX ($21,680) and ES ($23,270).
DX is powered by a 130-horsepower four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission; it is not available with an automatic.
LX and ES are fitted with a 200-horsepower V6 and a four-speed automatic transmission. In fact, 90 percent of all Tributes are sold with the V6 and automatic.
All models are available with either front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive and other equipment included with it adds $1200 on V6 models and $1700 to the DX.
DX is well equipped, with air conditioning; power windows, mirrors and locks; remote keyless entry; tilt steering; a roof rack; 16-inch alloy wheels rear privacy glass.
LX adds cruise control, fog lights, wider tires and appearance items. A 60/40 split rear seat replaces the one-piece folding rear seat found in the DX.
Side airbags and anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard on ES. Side airbags are optional ($250) on LX, but to get them you must also order ABS ($300). A six-way power driver's seat, standard on ES, is optional on LX for $250.