2001 Mazda Tribute Luxury 3.0 V6 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Cannot trust it to get me from A to B


86,000kms gearbox blew.

88,000kms cooling system reservoir split.

90,000kms second gearbox blew.

91,868kms ignition coils failed.

General Comments:

I bought this car 2nd-hand in July 2005 with 77,000 kms on the speedo. It was purchased from the dealer that sold it new and had dealer stamped log books, showing no major faults occurring. So far, so good. At 86,000kms in February 2006 the gearbox collapsed. The reason for buying it was to get my 15’ half-tonne aluminium boat out of slippery and sandy boat ramps, using it approximately once per month. The weight was well inside the Mazda’s towing limit of 1.6 tonne. It was well outside the statutory 3-month warranty period, but I took it back to the dealer I purchased it from to have a bit of a complaint about a gearbox failing after such a short time. The dealer asked Mazda NSW to come to the party and I paid $800 for the entire job of replacing the gearbox with one Mazda reconditions from a Melbourne specialist. This job was worth at least $3,400.00. Mazda NSW had come to the party with the cost of the gearbox; the $800 was to pay the dealer’s mechanics.

At 88,000 kms the cooling system reservoir bottle split and the car started overheating. Luckily I stopped before any major damage occurred. At least the temperature dial worked! Once I was stopped and the engine cooled sufficiently to check fluid levels, no leak could be seen, but the coolant had gone somewhere? Back to the dealer where a $56.70 part ended up being a $228.70 total fitted cost to get the car back.

About 90,000 kms the car’s gearbox all-but gave up the ghost again. Luckily we were returning from a 200km trip down South and it happened 10 kms from home on a Sunday afternoon. We managed to coax the car into our driveway only to find no reverse gear left. Morning saw me calling the dealer again and them agreeing to see the car immediately – if I could get it there! Started the engine, more on spec than anything, selected reverse and it went in! Must have been because the gearbox was cold, but I don’t really know why. Drove slowly to the dealer and parked in his service bay inside the building. They came over and asked me to move it as it was blocking their entrance. I handed the mechanic the keys and said; “You try”. Three mechanics got it going – pushing it. The second gearbox was replaced under warranty at no cost to me. Thank you Mazda, although I lost the car for a week while they shipped a recon gearbox up from Melbourne.

In early September 2006 at 91,800 kms, the car started shuddering at take-off and again at 78 km/hr and thinking this latter speed was a change point, I suspected the third gearbox was on its way out. Not happy Jan! Anyway, the Mazda dealer’s mechanics also suspected the gearbox and got to work diagnosing it. They eventually found it was failing ignition coils on the spark plug leads. Mazda NSW again provided assistance and I ended up paying a total of $101.65 out of a potential $1,000.00. Thank you again Mazda NSW.

So the car is a dog, drives well, but mechanically suspect. I recently bought an old Mitsubishi Pajero to tow my boat, as I cannot trust the Mazda. The wife drives that now with a full roadside assistance package paid for. The Pajero hasn’t missed a beat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th April, 2007

2001 Mazda Tribute LX from North America


I've been very happy with this car overall, despite some early problems


Power steering leaked shortly after purchase, two steering racks had to be installed to fix the problem.

CV joints replaced at 40,000 miles.

Master brake cylinder is seeping fluid.

Factory installed alarm had a tendency to go off randomly about a year after purchase, traced to a faulty switch in the rear window latch.

General Comments:

The car has had generally good performance since I bought it, despite some quality issues that date back to time of purchase (primarily with the power steering).

Car is generally pretty comfortable and well laid out, though the transmission lever is in the way of the radio controls in this model.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th February, 2007