Crossover & Midsize

What Mazda Tribute Owners Complained About Before the Model Was Killed

Mazda is well-known for making some great vehicles that owners love. But nothing is ever perfect, and Mazda has made a mistake or two in the past. One of those mistakes seems to have been the Mazda Tribute, which Mazda made for about a decade before it was finally killed off. Here’s a tribute to the Mazda Tribute and all its terrible issues.

The single issue that plagued all Mazda Tributes 

In its 10-year run, the Mazda Tribute, according to Car Complaints, seemed to suffer from a flaw that Mazda never could stamp out. Even from its very first model year, the 2001 model year, to some of its later model years, such as the 2008 model year, the Tribute’s transmission just kept failing. 

Not only was this a common problem, but it was also a serious one too. A car’s transmission is obviously very important to it, so when it breaks down, it costs a lot of money to repair it. The three worst model years that suffered from this issue were the 2001, 2006, and the 2008 model years.

On average, these issues were happening at around the same mileage. Owners of the Tribute reported having these transmission failures after they had about 90,000 to 100,000 miles on their odometers. And, of course, on average, it cost a lot of money to fix this issue. Tribute owners reported having to pay between $2,300 and $3,400 to repair their car’s broken transmission.

The Mazda Tribute had other problems too

Another common issue that the Mazda Tribute had was also a serious one. The engine just wasn’t that good and could either die while driving or could cause acceleration issues that led to accidents. For example, Car Complaints said that the 2006 Tribute had a lot of speed control issues that caused three crashes and one injury. Sometimes, the car would accelerate out of control, while other times, it wouldn’t accelerate at all.

The 2001 Tribute was similar, and many owners reported their cars simply stalling while in traffic. In terms of mileage, this, unsurprisingly, tended to happen to old cars that had about 80,000 miles on their odometers. 

That said, engine and transmission issues weren’t the only severe problems that the Tribute had. The 2005 Tribute, in particular, had a serious issue with its struts rusting before they should be rusting. This was such a severe issue that many owners had to bring their car to a shop for repairs. On average, it cost owners about $1,000 to solve this problem. One owner even commented, “what else is there to say? I can’t afford another vehicle right now.”

Why the Mazda Tribute had to go 

The early model years of the Mazda Tribute were co-designed with Ford, and that’s likely the culprit of many of the Tribute’s problems. Ford is well-known for making great trucks and great muscle cars, but its track record in terms of designing SUVs have been lackluster. 

For example, the Ford Explorer has been such a terrible SUV that Car Complaints called it the worst car ever. Ford eventually stopped working with Mazda on the Tribute, but still, the damage was done. The Tribute just wasn’t that good of an SUV, and it never really had a chance, especially after owners started reporting about its many flaws. 

That said, there is some good news. After the Tribute failed, Mazda scrapped the car and created a new SUV for the American market. That SUV is the CX-5, which is now widely beloved by American customers. Edmunds even said that it’s the best used SUV in America right now.