2002 Mazda Tribute 6 cylinder from North America


The Tribute is Good


The interior of the 2002 Mazda Tribute was it's worst factor because the covers for the seat belts fell off along with some paneling in the rear. And the overdriver shifter rubber cover was not glued on properly. A lot of plastic that seemed flimsy.

This is not an off-road SUV. No low range gear. Felt awkward on back woods dirt roads.

Once I reached 100,000 miles the Tribute started to head downward fast. Hard starts in the winter. Needed replacement of mostly everything. Probably all my fault because I drove it hard through a few harsh winters.

Also, the rear window to the tailgate vibrated a lot in the last year and made an annoying chirping sound.

General Comments:

This was a very good vehicle. It served me well, as I drive approx. 50,000 miles a year. It withstood a lot of punishment. But the cost to keep it going after 125,000 was not worth it and I traded it in a month ago for a Jeep. If I coddled the Mazda and lived in a less harsh environment, I'm sure I would have had it for a few more years. Mazda makes a very good product and I'm considering buying a small car (the 3) from them for the good driving season to save on gas. The Tribute came with excellent features that are not normally associated with something in it's price range, such as fog lights, cruise control, power everything. The stereo system was an in-dash 6disc tape cassette with great speakers. It was the best stereo system I have ever bought that came directly from the manufacture.

The Tribute handled very well on the highway and accelerated nicely.

Very comfortable to drive.

Excellent cargo room.

I didn't buy a new Tribute because the '05 had performed poorly in recent roll-over tests (Along with the Ford counter-parts) according to Consumer Reports. I was also looking for something that seemed more solid and tank-like to handle my driving experience.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th August, 2005

14th Dec 2005, 06:50

Has anybody Had a problem with a bad clutch judder on a Tribute, Mine has only done 32,000 Mile's. apart from that it is a very nice car.

17th May 2006, 12:49

Re the query about Mazda Tribute clutch juddering:

I have a Canadian model 2001 Tribute DX 2WD and this is a constant problem, caused by either a string of faulty clutches, or by a defective transmission. In the 65,000 kms we have put on the truck, we have had to replace the clutch twice. The current clutch is also on its way out, though - as with the other problems we've experienced with the power-train - Mazda is giving us the runaround. The extended warranty is about to expire, and I have a feeling that by the time they "find" the problem, it will be on our dime.

It's too bad the vehicle is, in my estimation, a lemon, as we love it when it works.

To back up the "lemon" claim, here is the list of repairs needed to date, over and above the standard maintenance schedule:

June 6/03 - 33210 km

- replace front wiper rack

- order clutch assembly and latch assembly for rear hatch.

June 30/03 - 33495 km

- replace clutch assembly

- replace defective DP-FE sensor ("check engine" light)

Feb 19/04 - 41571 km

- latch assembly replaced.

Feb 27/04 - 41941 km

- replaced brake cables

- key fobs & receiver replaced as not reading one fob.

April 29, 2004

- rear brake service & adjust rear brakes (cable replacement did not 100% cure problem)

- reposition, adjust motor mounts.

-re-flashed PCM (1st attempt to fix two problems - motor surging and return of trans-axle hop)

**extra** replaced recalled seat belt covers.

May 21 - 44112 km

Took truck back with same problems (surging and juddering) as Apr 29. They handed it back and told us to try a few tanks of different gas. It wasn't the gas.

June 14-26 - 45168 km

- replace clutch and flywheel assembly (2nd time in a year)

Autumn of 2005 - after several follow-up visits to dealer and communications with regional rep about the surging, only days after basically being told we were imagining the problem, we received a recall notice from Mazda describing exactly the problem we had. We had a PCV valve replaced per the notice and the surging stopped.

- And now the clutch is on its way out again. Mazda has, to date, refused to replace the entire transmission (which, given the way it eats clutches, seems the likely source of the problem), despite our requests. And we are about to run out of warranty.

Finally, for the record: My wife and I have never owned anything, but manual-transmission vehicles. We had, between us, six prior vehicles, buying the first one in 1986, have never put less than 45,000 kms on a vehicle (with most going 100,000 to 175,000 kms while in our ownership) and have never before replaced a single clutch - so we're pretty confident that it isn't our driving!!

Keith Osmond

42 Gondola Crescent

Brampton ON

L6S 1W6

(905) 792-9088.

2002 Mazda Tribute DX V6 from North America


Nice looking vehicle.


New transmission. New wheel rim. New wheel bearing. New tire.

General Comments:

Manufacturer will not replace vehicle. No payment has been made on it yet. That's what warranty is for!! Noticeable vibration and thumping noise on front passenger side. Enjoy driving vehicle, but would never by a Mazda again. Headaches shouldn't be part of spending thousands of dollars on a new vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th December, 2002

6th Jan 2004, 23:40

The Tribute uses the same transmission used by the Mazda 626 from 1994 - 2000 (?). This is the same one that is built by Ford with Ford quality, i.e., it will fail prematurely. Beware!

2nd Feb 2005, 15:14

My Mazda Tribute is the WORST vehicle I have ever owned! It has been to the dealer's mechanics four times in the past three months for the same problem... it wouldn't start! I have come to two, no three conclusions about my experience:

1) the Mazda Tribute is a crappy car

2) the Mazda mechanics are under educated

3) I will never buy another Mazda so long as I live!

2002 Mazda Tribute DX V6 from North America


Test drive before you buy


Noisy transmission from day 1.

General Comments:

It is the typical buyer beware advice.

Unfortunately I bought and paid cash for the vehicle before test driving it, the differntial howl was noticeable in the first 300 feet of driving it.

Mazda refuses to address this issue and says to live with it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th September, 2002

24th Oct 2002, 17:06

Why would anyone buy a vehicle without a test drive? I can't say that I feel sorry for this, apparently not very smart, Mazda owner.

4th Dec 2002, 15:48

I bought a 2003 and really like it. Mine doesn't make a lot of noise at all. Traded in a Lexus ES-300, and it's not a Lexus by any means. But I did a lot of research on the Net before selecting the Mazda Tribute, test drove it so I knew what I was purchasing, and am happy with my decision.

10th Jul 2003, 11:00

My 2001 Mazda Tribute LX model is a very sturdy driving, quiet running, quick paced SUV. It handles very well in driving around corners and is very sturdy in rain and snow. I highly recommend the Tribute LX. Also, the Mazda staff are a very nice group of people to work with.

28th Aug 2004, 21:17

I hope the survey person meant to say they bought this individual car without driving it. Not they did not drive a Tribute previously.

Driving a Demo Car sometimes does not prevent you from taking home a lemon.

Most times the car arrives fresh from the factory as ordered by you and is registered and insured in your name. I am sure what to do if the car failed the pickup drive test. You have already committed the money.