2005 Tribute New Car Test Drive
It's a well-worn cliche, but the Mazda Tribute puts some sport in sport utility. Responsive handling and brisk performance from the available V6 engine make the Tribute one of the sportiest of the compact SUVs.
The 2005 model line has been recast to complement the rest of the Mazda lineup. A new Tribute i model comes with a new four-cylinder engine that's available with a new five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. The Tribute s features a powerful V6 and four-speed automatic. Both models are available with a new four-wheel-drive system that uses electronics in place of last year's hydraulic system to better split power between front and rear tires according to driving conditions.
The 2005 Mazda Tribute gets a more polished look, as well. A new front fascia and other styling revisions add zest to what was already one of the better looking contenders in the class. The suspension has been revised for improved handling. Available side-impact airbags and curtain airbags enhance safety.
Mazda Tribute delivers an excellent value for drivers who want the versatility of a sport utility, but with the superior refinement and on-road handling of a car-based utility can offer. Mazda and Ford worked jointly on developing the Mazda Tribute and Ford Escape and they share much in common, but the Mazda offers sportier handling.
Mazda Tribute is available in two pairs of trim level: Tribute i 2WD ($19,630) and 4WD ($21,330), and Tribute s 2WD ($22,890) and 4WD ($24,390).
Tribute i is powered by a new 153-horsepower four-cylinder engine. It comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission; a four-speed automatic is optional for both the 2WD ($605) and 4WD ($405) models. The Tribute s is fitted with a 200-horsepower V6 and a four-speed automatic.
Tribute i comes standard with air conditioning; power windows, mirrors and locks; remote keyless entry; tilt steering; a roof rack with cross bars; 16-inch alloy wheels; four-speaker AM/FM/CD satellite-ready stereo; rear privacy glass; delayed accessory power; and two power points. Seats are upholstered in cloth, the rear seat is a 60/40 split fold-down bench, and there's full carpeting and front and rear floor mats.
The s model adds cruise control, fog lights, upgraded cloth trimmed seats, n upgraded driver's seat with adjustable lumbar, and sundry appearance items.
Options for both i and s include a cassette player ($200), an in-dash six-disc CD changer ($500), a DVD entertainment system ($1,200), various cargo area accessories, a perimeter alarm ($115), side step tubes ($400), and wheel locks ($30). An option package ($1,825) for Tribute i automatic features leather-trimmed seats, a six-way power driver's seat, cruise control with leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lamps, overhead console with storage bins, wood-grain center stack and center console, and assorted exterior trim and paint schemes. The s is available with any one of three option packages: The first ($1,380) adds six-way power driver's seat, seven-speaker premium audio with six-disc in-dash CD changer, power moonroof and retractable cargo cover; the second package ($1,645) adds to the first leather-trimmed upholstery, the wood-grain center stack and console and leather-wrapped steering wheel; the third package ($2,495) adds heated front seats and outside mirrors. The s is also available with a Class II trailer tow package ($350) and a moonroof wind deflector ($50).
Safety features that come standard include anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Side-impact airbags, designed to provide torso protection for driver and front-seat passenger, and curtain airbags ($565), designed to offer head protection, are available only on the Tribute s models.