The 2008 Mazda Tribute Chronicles: A Marvel of Automotive Craftsmanship

The Tribute doesn't just stop at looking good – it fully embraces modernity with cutting-edge infotainment, delivering responsive performance while on the road.

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Mazda, the Japanese automotive virtuoso, unleashed a compact SUV gem known as the Tribute from 2000 to 2011. They joined forces with the wizards at Ford Motor Company to sculpt this beauty, crafting it on the front-wheel-drive platform borrowed from the Mazda 626. As for the driving experience, this ride is like your loyal wingman; when it comes to space, it has that SUV game on lock.

Mazda Tribute side

Back in the day, you could take your pick from the Tribute lineup, featuring the DX, DX V6, LX V6, and ES V6 trims. But come 2005, they decided to spice things up, introducing the sleek I and s trims instead. Rain or shine, it’s all about delivering top-tier performance and unwavering reliability.

Raising the Bar: Elevating Standards to New Heights

Mazda Tribute 2

Venturing into the automotive realm, Mazda, the Japanese maestros, introduced the Tribute from 2000 to 2011, a small SUV forged in collaboration with Ford Motor Company. Crafted upon the front-wheel-drive architecture borrowed from the Mazda 626, this ride swiftly established itself as the ultimate partner in elegance and practicality.

Featuring DX, DX V6, LX V6, and ES V6 trims initially, the Tribute revamped its style in 2005 by introducing the I and s trims, injecting a fresh dose of excitement into its persona. This automotive masterpiece has consistently exemplified a fusion of performance and dependability, thriving in all road conditions. The Mazda Tribute is an emblem of automotive excellence and partnership.

Impact of 2008 Mazda Tribute

Mazda Tribute  rear

Folks are all about making the best choices for their everyday lives, and it’s even easier now because cars are pretty much within everyone’s reach. The love for sport utility vehicles (SUVs) isn’t confined to the US, UK, and Europe. These rides are a global hit, and they’ve got fans from all over the world.

What’s remarkable is that the Japanese used car market has a treasure trove of options, making SUVs like the 2008 Mazda Tribute a hit over a decade, ending in 2011. The Tribute is famous for being super practical and packing an efficient engine, and that’s the deal across all model years. It’s like a ride that stands the test of time.

A Tribute to History

Mazda Tribute first gen

Mazda has been in the game since 2001 with the Mazda Tribute (Code J14), a crossover car based on a mid-size platform. It’s rooted in the front-wheel drive Mazda 626 platform, which also serves as the foundation for the Ford Escape on the CD2 platform.

Mazda Tribute first gen facelift

This was a collaborative effort with Ford Motor Company. When you compare it to Ford’s CD2 SUV lineup, the Tribute is the more budget-friendly option, beating out the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner in price.

Mazda Tribute 2nd gen back

In 200, significant major updates across the board gave these vehicles a performance boost, mainly through mechanical improvements.

Performance of the Mazda Tribute 2008

Mazda Tribute engine

The 2.3L I4 and 3.0L V6 engines got the boot and were replaced with fresh ones, which were even better. The 2.3L got swapped with the new MZR 2.5L I4 engine from Mazda, cranking up the power to 171bhp and torque to 171lb·ft (232N·m) at 4000 rpm. Here’s the cool part – despite the extra power, they managed to bump up the fuel efficiency by 1mpg-US on both urban and extra-urban cycles. So, it’s like a win-win situation!

Performance metrics:



Drive of Mazda Tribute:

Mazda Tribute side

Aside from appearance and interior features, the Tribute rides and handles differently than the Escape. The Tribute is positioned in Mazda advertisements as a sport utility vehicle with a passion for sports cars. An advertisement shows a tribute navigating a black Miata roadster on a slalom course. A new on-demand four-wheel-drive system is available for all three trim levels, providing the Tribute increased traction on icy pavement and rutted, muddy roads.

Mazda Tribute drive

Under typical circumstances, the car runs on the front-wheel drive. Up to half of the power is smoothly and hydraulically transferred to the rear wheels by the system when it senses a loss of traction. On slick conditions, the driver can engage four-wheel drive by flipping a switch on the dashboard. Experience driving as a compelling dance between you and the road, where every step is carefully planned when you take the wheel of the Mazda Tribute.

Speed timings of Mazda Tribute:

The particular model year, engine, and gearbox can all affect a Mazda Tribute’s speed timing.

Mazda Tribute (First Generation – 2001-2006): The base model’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine allowed it to reach 60 mph in around 10 to 12 seconds on average.

The 3.0-liter V6 engine option allowed for a quicker 0-60 mph time on the model, usually 8–9 seconds.

Mazda Tribute (Second Generation, 2008–2011): This generation’s base four-cylinder engine could often reach 60 mph in 10–12 seconds.

More potent V6 engine models could accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in about 8 to 9 seconds.

Interior of 2008 Mazda Tribute:

Mazda Tribute cargo space

The Tribute was about accommodating five peeps across two rows of plush seats. But even cooler is that you could unlock extra cargo space galore by folding down those rear seats. Talk about maximizing storage, right?

Mazda Tribute interior

The dashboard design was like a style chameleon, depending on which trim level you rolled with. Later models even hooked you up with super-slick connectivity options like a touchscreen display, navigation, and Bluetooth. Of course, the stereo and CD player were the go-to standard infotainment goodies. And for the ultimate passenger comfort, they had your back with air conditioning and heating systems. But here’s where it gets fancy – they strapped cruise control and music controls right onto that steering wheel.

Mazda Tribute seats

When it came to safety, they weren’t playing around. You had a complete package with stability control, ABS brakes, and airbags. And, for those who like to pick and choose, they gave you options for the interior color palette and upholstery. You could go with leather or fabric, depending on your vibe.

Exterior of Mazda Tribute:

Mazda Tribute front

The 2008 Mazda Tribute was, like, totally meant to be a small crossover SUV. It usually sported a one-of-a-kind grille design with the Mazda logo right up in the front. And, just so you know, the outside’s size, width, and height changed depending on the model year. They kept things fresh with various alloy wheel styles and sizes. Some even had those cool roof rails for carrying all your stuff.

Mazda Tribute red rear

Thanks to the tailboard or rear hatch, getting to the cargo space was a breeze. And, here’s the deal – the available exterior colors you could pick from depending on what year and trim level you were rollin’ with.


The Mazda Tribute is a true automotive gem, blending style and practicality seamlessly. With its sleek, aerodynamic design and distinctive grille, it turns heads wherever it goes. A realm of luxury and comfort awaits, boasting spacious seats and versatile cargo capacity to accommodate your daily commutes and weekend adventures.

Review by a user:

“I know the Tribute is classed as a compact, but it feels bigger and more secure than other compacts.”


Mazda Tribute rear end

The Tribute doesn’t just stop at looking good – it fully embraces modernity with cutting-edge infotainment, delivering responsive performance while on the road. Plus, the safety features make every drive safe and enjoyable. This car has cemented its timeless legacy in the small SUV class, leaving an indelible mark on the automotive industry as a symbol of excellence. The Mazda Tribute is an authentic tribute to the art of car design.

Pros of Mazda Tribute:

Cons of Mazda Tribute:

Written by: TAZ

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