The 2011 Mazda Tribute is a sensible looking compact SUV. While the practical appearance may be appealing to some drivers, others may be inclined to hope for a more sporty look. There are four available trims on offer, the i Sport, i Touring, i Grand Touring, and s Grand Touring. If you live in California you also have the choice of the hybrid model.
When it comes to engine size there are two options, the 2.5-liter that gets 171-horsepower, or a 3.0-liter, 240-horsepower, V6 engine. A five speed manual transmission is what you will get with the base sport vehicle, while the other models have a six speed automatic with manual mode. In comparison to its top competitors the engine is underpowered, although the acceleration seems to be adequate.
Front wheel drive models with the four cylinder engine gets 23 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in the city. The four wheel drive with the base engine gets 20 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city. These figures make the Tribute one of the best in its class for fuel economy.
However, drivers are not impressed with the handling attributes of the Mazda Tribute. Steering is not precise, the brakes are spongy, bumps are felt within the cabin, and there is road noise that shouldn't be heard. For a 2011 vehicle the Tribute seems outdated handling wise and feels more like you are driving a much older model.
It doesn't get much better in the interior where you will find a lot of cheap looking hard plastic. Although there seems to be enough legroom in the rear, passengers complain that the seats are hard and uncomfortable. Front seats are well padded, but the tilt only steering wheel doesn't help to form a good driving position.
For a manufacturers price of $20,555 you will get power windows and door locks, tilt steering wheel, and remote keyless entry as standard on the Sport model. You will have to pay a few thousand extra dollars if you want to upgrade to the Touring model, which provides more features.
Cargo space is average for the class, 31.4 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in use and 67.1 cubic feet with the seats down. It has been said that the seats are not very convenient to fold and could have been designed better. Overall, the 2011 Mazda Tribute could have had many qualities that are not present inside or outside of the vehicle.