2003 Mazda Tribute GSi 2.0


Good workhorse - better than a Freelander


Minor body work when bought, was retouched but could do with another one.

Acquired a minor dent whilst parked at work; someone opened a truck door and dented the driver's side rear pillar, no repair required.

Boot lock relay has failed, but not repaired it yet.

General Comments:

Well built, but starting to show its age a little in the bodywork, although it's still pretty good all in all.

Surprised me greatly during the heavy snow late in 2010, where it coped admirably with very difficult conditions and deep snow. NOT a Land Rover Defender, but it made Freelanders look fairly pathetic.

The boot is fairly spacious, and with the seats down, it's a good load carrier.

The engine is smooth, but you do need to rev it if you need to make progress.. But a fairly refined cruiser, and the cruise control makes motorways easy.

Leather interior has worn well, and seats are pretty good. Dash uncluttered.

Fuel economy - not bad, but it's a 4x4 so don't expect mega figures. I reckon a 30mpg average is fair, and you will get a lot better on motorways.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd August, 2011

2002 Mazda Tribute 2.0 petrol


Solid, well priced SUV


The engine warning light on the dashboard wasted no time in lighting up after I'd bought the car. This was traced back to an expensive engine part called the ERG Valve. The previous owner was a gent who replaced this at his own cost (about 350 euro).

Since then, I have had no problems whatsoever.

General Comments:

This car is good fun to drive and has decent acceleration through 2nd-5th gear. It is bright, airy, and reasonably comfortable inside. My last car was a VW Passat which initially made the Tribute's interior look cheap and nasty, and the car feel rough on bumps and corners, but the upside is a very firm ride and a no-nonsense approach to roundabouts. Other reviews have mentioned a sticky/ clunky gearshift, which is spot on.

The Tribute is a fairly priced and OK looking SUV. Modern upgrades to the Rav4, CRV and the new Korean SUV's make the Trib looked dated and sparse inside, but I've been in most of these cars and would still prefer the Tribute's all round package of space, functionality, reliability and drivability.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th September, 2006

7th Jan 2010, 08:46

I live in Redmire Village, Wensleydale, North Yorkshire.

The 2002 Mazda Tribute is as good as a Landrover in the snow; it has no trouble in the snow or ice, and that is without engaging the 4 wheel drive. With the four wheel drive engaged, it is faultless, which was proven last Saturday; my wife abandoned our Passat Highline in Richmond, and I had to cross over the moor road to get her in 6 to nine inches of snow, no problem at all. If there was a problem it was avoiding all the other motors sliding around.

Marvellous Motor.

Paul Blair.

2003 Mazda Tribute Gsi 4WD 2.0


A high cost, but little known Mazda nightmare


Smell of burning rubber in cabin.

Engine speed accelerates and slows without warning.

Slow starting.

Failure to start.

Noisy engine even whilst standing.

Notchy gear change.

Sticking throttle.

Engine stalled at 40 mph.

Despite all these problems, the dealer has only diagnosed and rectified the sticking throttle.

These faults are reported world wide, but Mazda and their dealers have little in the way of customer care.

General Comments:

Good sized S.U.V. with plenty of luggage room.

Refined interior, although quite a lot of plastic.

Unlikely to see many others on the road, which makes it difficult to find a specialist garage.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th February, 2004

18th Jan 2005, 05:38

You are really buying a Ford Maverick, so patchy reliability has to be allowed for.

31st Jan 2007, 06:36

I am having problem with my Tribute (sticking accelerator) What did the dealer do to fix the sticking accelerator.

Thanks George.

27th Jul 2007, 17:18

RE: sticking accelerator:

There was a recall on the part, and the dealer should replace it.

26th Jun 2009, 20:07

Watch out for bad head gaskets. My brother-in-law has a 2003 V6 four wheel drive blew a head gasket at 103,000 miles. Motor had to be replaced or junk it. A new motor was $3,000 plus cost to remove and replace. Has been weeks without vehicle as was waiting on motor, etc, etc. Would he buy another... NO!!!