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Mazda is well-known for making some great cars, trucks, and SUVs 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.

Is the Mazda Tribute discontinued?

This Mazda Tribute had problems
A black Mazda Tribute | Mazda

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

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

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 costs a lot of money to fix this issue. Tribute owners reported paying between $2,300 and $3,400 to repair their car’s broken transmission.

Did the Mazda Tribute have more problems?

The Mazda Tribute has some problems
A 2009 Mazda Tribute |

Another common issue that the Mazda Tribute had was also a serious one. The engine wasn’t that good and could either die while driving or cause acceleration issues that led to accidents. For example, 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 others wouldn’t.

The 2001 Tribute was similar; many owners reported their cars simply stalling in traffic. In terms of mileage, this happened to old vehicles with about 80,000 miles on their odometers. 

That said, engine and transmission issues weren’t the only severe problems the Tribute had. The 2005 Tribute, in particular, had a serious issue with its struts rusting before they should be rusting. This was so severe that many owners had to bring their cars to a shop for repairs. On average, it costs owners about $1,000 to solve this problem. To this day, the Tribute remains one of Mazda’s worst vehicles.

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 muscle cars, but its track record in designing SUVs has been lackluster. 

For example, the Ford Explorer has been such a terrible SUV that some called it the worst car ever. Ford eventually stopped working with Mazda on the Tribute, but still, the damage was done. The Tribute wasn’t that good of an SUV, and it never really had a chance, especially after owners started reporting 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 it’s the best-used SUV in America.