The 2008 Mazda Tribute gets a revamped look for the new model year: It’s a bolder, tougher style that comes with a more comfortable, more upscale interior.
Kelley Blue Book and Car and Driver have opposite views when it comes to the 2008 Mazda Tribute's exterior design; the former states that "the new [Mazda] Tribute puts classic SUV sheet metal cues into a contemporary context that effectively mixes rugged with refined," while the latter leads off that part of the review with the description "blander sheet metal." While updates for the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner are considered improvements by Car and Driver, they say that the "opposite is true for the [Mazda] Tribute." TheCarConnection.com’s editors think the exterior's best new feature is a prominent, squared-off nose. The Mazda logo is framed by a bright surround, and the new look lends it a decidedly more masculine appeal than the old version. “With its boxy, traditional SUV body, the Tribute looks like the shipping container the Mazda CX-7 came in,” Edmunds says, though it contends the new look is “nevertheless a stylish, alternative take on the new Escape.” MyRide.com thinks “There isn’t a lot to distinguish the Mazda Tribute from the Ford Escape except the front grill.”
Inside, the 2008 Mazda Tribute wears a handsomely blocky new dash, with piano-black plastic trim and a chunky steering wheel. Automotive.com reports that in the new Tribute, "controls are at hand and not confusing for the driver," resulting not only in greater convenience, but greater safety as well. Unfortunately, the "dozens of black buttons and knobs were difficult to distinguish from one another," according to Car and Driver. The exception is the back-lit instruments, which are now "a pretty ice blue with Mazda-specific red-and-white gauges." Kelley Blue Book simply reports that this Mazda 2008's "gauges are legible." Edmunds says, “Available rich two-tone color schemes and 'ice blue' lighting create a warm, yet modern look.”