2003 Mazda Tribute GSi 2.0 from UK and Ireland


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

2003 Mazda Tribute Gsi 4WD 2.0 from UK and Ireland


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!!!

2003 Mazda Tribute LX 3.0 24v from North America


Thirsty performance


Transmission replaced at 7800km.

Persistent burnt plastic scent out from engine.

General Comments:

I am very pleased with this car, it gives a lot for the money.

Loaded with all the luxury one would expect from a more expensive car, it has all I wanted in a car; electric windows/doors, remote key less entry, heated mirrors, electric driver seat, excellent radio and CD player, separate trunk door and trunk window, flat floor when rear passengers seats folded, mags, 16 inches wheels, full upholstery (no vinyl in the back of the seats), lots of leg/head room in the back and more.

Very comfortable, I can ride for hours without feeling fatigue, and I am 6'4".

It is not cheap on gas, but then, so do most SUV's. But an SUV in the compact class should do better. I never made better than 10 liters/100 km on highway at 110km/hr max. But I had the same results at 120 and 130. Don't even ask about city.

As most owners will tell you, the automatic transmission shifter is very much in the way of the radio buttons while at the driving position, but I got used to it.

I would've liked to have a full central console with the transmission shifter, although the center arm rest is very comfortable and has a deep bin under.

Finally, the design gave me some attention, even my daughter's friends said I had a very "cool" truck!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd June, 2003

1st Mar 2007, 21:29

I just bought a 2003 Tribute lx and it has 80000 kms on it. I am experiencing problems with a chatter noise between gears 2 and 3 while accelerating at a steady rate between 60-70kmh. I am wondering if transmission failure is common on these vehicles with this mileage?

1st Mar 2007, 21:31

That noise isn't the transmission. it sounds as if the valves are floating or the timing is slighty off.