$20,115 – $24,700 MSRP
$18,826 – $23,102 Invoice
19 / 23 MPG City/Hwy
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After a host of upgrades for 2005, including a new four-cylinder engine, revised styling and improved electronic four-wheel-drive system, changes for the 2006 Mazda Tribute are minimal: "i" models equipped with an automatic transmission now get cruise control as standard equipment.
When it comes to SUVs and CUVs (Crossover Utility Vehicles), Mazda has chosen to stay close under the wing of parent company Ford. Early on, Mazda cloned Ford's Explorer to make its own Navajo SUV. When planning its entry into the compact CUV market, Ford and Mazda worked together to create the Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, and Mazda Tribute. Though the Tribute and Escape are now in their seventh year, the basic formula still works.
In most ways, the Tribute is similar to the Escape. It uses unit-body construction similar to a car, and is available with either front- or full-time four-wheel drive. Tribute "i" models get a 153-hp, 2.3L four-cylinder engine coupeed to either a 5-speed manual or optional 5-speed automatic transmission. A 200-hp, 3.0L V-6 with a 4-speed automatic is standard in the Tribute "s." An electronically controlled, full-time four-wheel-drive system is optional, and four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock control are standard on all models. What does the Escape have that the Tribute doesn't A hybrid version, though that doesn't entirely explain the disparity. Hybrids are a small percentage of the Escape's sales, and though the Mariner is also available as a hybrid, it failed to out-sell the Tribute.
Inside, chrome-ringed gauges and seats with high side bolsters do their best to remind the driver of Mazda's sporty image, a theme echoed on the outside by the standard 16-inch alloy wheels. Air conditioning, a CD player and roof rack are all standard; options include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, moonroof, leather seats and a maple-look instrument panel.
The Tribute competes in the Compact CUV segment, where buyers look for vehicles that combine SUV-like style and utility with car-like handling and fuel economy that falls somewhere in the middle.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM it was the Tribute's twin, the Ford Escape, that led this segment with 165,122 sales for 2005. Next was the Honda CR-V (150,219 units sold), followed by the Chrysler PT Cruiser (133,740). The Tribute's 36,761 sales rank 13th among 18 models in the segment, just ahead of the Mercury Mariner (34,099). Other volume models in this segment include the Chevrolet Equinox and HHR, Saturn VUE, Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson, Honda Element, Scion xB, and Subaru Forester. A handful of 2007-badged newcomers include the Dodge Nitro, Jeep Compass and Patriot, Kia Carens, Suzuki SX4 and Mazda's own CX-7.
|i (M5)||5 speed manual||$20,115||153-hp / 2.3L 4-cyl||24/29|
|s (A4)||4 speed automatic||$23,200||200-hp / 3.0L 6-cyl||20/24|