Never Buy A Used Mazda Tribute Instead of a Ford Escape

Sometimes Ford trash is Mazda treasure. A proven example of this includes the Mazda Tribute, which was a cheap SUV based on the much better Ford Escape. If you see a Mazda Tribute, keep in mind that a used boxy Ford Escape would be a much more reliable choice. 

Avoid the Mazda Tribute 

The Mazda Tribute is the less reliable cousin of the Ford Escape. The Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute were both introduced in 2000. The Mazda Tribute shared the same platform and some of the same interior materials as the Ford Escape until it was discontinued in 2011. 

Mazda Tribute being tested in snow
Mazda Tribute

According to consumer reports, the first model design of the Mazda Tribute from 2000 to 2007 had a few issues. The ride quality was stiff, the interior was crafted from flimsy plastic materials, and the ride was very noisy. 

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There were also safety concerns with earlier Mazda Tribute models. It had a tip-up during the government rollover test and poor side-impact crash ratings. The low scores were partially due to the lack of side and curtain airbags. 

The 2008 – 2011 Mazda Tribute 

In 2008, the second generation Mazda Tribute was released, and it fixed a few issues. It got electronic stability control, which fixed the tip-up problems. Lowering the chances of rolling over tends to be a good thing. 

The Mazda Tribute actually received praise for having a peppy acceleration, convenient size, and roomy interior space. However, the interior was still noted for being subpar, and the cabin was loud. 

Somehow, Mazda managed to release the Tribute with fit and finish issues that left gaps in the interior and screws exposed. The handling was also stiff and could feel like you were trying to turn a tank around. 

Is the 2011 Ford Escape a good SUV? 

If you dig that boxy Tribute shape, you can find it with a more dependable SUV. We’re talking about the Ford Escape to be specific. Depending on your area, you can find a used 2011 Ford Escape for around $9,000. 

A Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid on display at an auto show
A Ford Escape Plug-In Hybrid on display | MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Edmunds gave the 2011 Ford Escape a review and had a few positive things to say about the sharp look, comfortable interior, and innovative technology. Ford Sync allowed iPod/MP3 connectivity, navigation, and live updates about the weather and more. The 2011 Ford Escape also has parking assistance. 

The 3.0-liter V6 engine provides 240 horsepower and, when properly equipped, can tow up to 3,500 lb. It was offered with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 5-speed manual transmission. 

Edmunds noted that the 2011 Ford Escape had a smooth ride and a better suspension compared to older Ford Escape models. Plus, the Ford Escape was safer. Traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, side airbags, and full-length curtain airbags improved safety scores. 

There are 29 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear, with up to 66 cubic feet total. While folding the seats flat is a bit of a hassle, it can be done. You have to remove the seat headrests first. The flat load floor provides more versatility.