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2002 Mazda Tribute

  • 2002 Mazda Tribute DX Sport Utility

    DX Sport Utility

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      2.0L I4
    • MSRP
  • 2002 Mazda Tribute ES Sport Utility

    ES Sport Utility

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      3.0L V6
    • MSRP
  • 2002 Mazda Tribute LX Sport Utility

    LX Sport Utility

    • MAX MPG
    • SEATS
    • ENGINE
      3.0L V6
    • MSRP
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2002 Mazda Tribute Review

A worthy contender even though it has maintained a quiet profile in a field that is dominated by the competition.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2002 Mazda Tribute is the sister car to Ford's popular Escape. These two sport utility vehicles (SUVs) share the same body, engine, and safety features and are separated mainly by cosmetic styling that are uniquely Mazda. In its second year of production, it suffered some recalls early in the 2001 model run, but quickly rebounded. It shares the same 103-inch wheelbase dimension as the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Santa Fe, but its overall length is much shorter due to its short front and rear overhangs.

The 2002 Mazda Tribute is available in three trim levels: DX, LX and EX. DX models are powered by a 2.0-liter, 130-horsepower, four-cylinder engine and a standard five-speed manual transmission. DX models are available in both front and on-demand four-wheel drive. The LX and EX models come standard with a 200-horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 engine that is much better suited to the Tribute's heavy weight.

The Range

Body Styles: sport utility vehicle
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Mazda Tribute DX, Mazda Tribute LX, Mazda Tribute EX

What's New

The 2002 Mazda Tribute receives additional standard equipment such as alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, and privacy glass. Mazda gave the LX trim optional anti-lock braking system (ABS) and a six-way power driver seat. The LX and ES trims got new lumbar support features. All Tributes got four new exterior paint colors and optional side-step tubes.


The 2002 Mazda Tribute is available in three trims: DX, LX, and EX. The DX has power windows, remote keyless entry, power windows, variable intermittent windshield wipers, rear window wiper/washer, power door locks, automatic-off headlights, remote fuel door/hatch release, privacy glass, roof rack, and 16-inch steel wheels. The LX trim adds cruise control, fog lights, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Consumers can get the optional spoiler and power moonroof. It has the same basic shape as the Ford Escape, but it has its own unique grille, headlights, and front fascia. The exterior trim is different, also. The large bumpers and side molding is black and bold. The large Mazda logo is prominently displayed in the black grille. This SUV has a bold, aggressive overall appearance.


Interior standard features for the 2002 Mazda Tribute DX include air-conditioning, power steering, tilt steering wheel, cloth upholstery, front bucket seats, folding rear bench seat, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo system. The LX adds a tilt steering wheel with mounted audio controls, split-folding rear bench seat, and cargo cover. The EX adds leather upholstery, a six-way power driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an overhead console. The climate and audio controls are large, simple, and mounted high on the dashboard so that it's easy to reach. The transmission stalk obscures the driver's ability to see and reach some of the climate and audio controls, but they can get an optional shorter one. The interior is roomy with plenty of head and legroom for the average-sized adult. Taller passengers may want a little more legroom and head room in the models that are equipped with the sunroof. The seats are comfortable and supportive. Cargo room can be increased by folding down the rear seat and removing the headrests. The rear glass opens independently.

Performance & Handling

The 2002 Mazda Tribute DX trim is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 130 horsepower and 135 lb-ft of torque. It is mated with a five-speed manual transmission. The LX and EX are powered by an 3.0-liter V-6 engine that makes 200 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 engine is mated with a four-speed automatic transmission. All Tributes have front drive, but the LX and EX can get the optional all-wheel drive (AWD). The V-6 completely changes the Tribute's personality; it accelerates quickly, has a nice, husky growl when you stomp on the gas and is fairly reasonable when it comes to fuel consumption. There is no five-speed manual for the V-6 models, but the four-speed automatic does a good job of distributing the engine's power. The steering is precise and stable, even in high winds. The brakes display good stopping power, but the nose dives considerably in panic stops. Wind noise in the cabin at cruising speed is considerable and the tires are quite noisy on rough pavement. It is unfortunate that this is not an SUV that would be suitable for off-roading.


Standard features for the 2002 Mazda Tribute include dual front airbags, engine immobilizer, and a panic alarm. Side-impact airbags are optional for the LX and EX trims but not available for the DX. ABS is standard for the EX, optional for the LX, and not available for the DX. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave three stars for rollover protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Mazda Tribute DX: 23/28 mpg city/highway
Mazda Tribute LX: 18/24 mpg city/highway
Mazda Tribute EX: 18/24 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Roomy interior
  • Decent cargo room
  • Good acceleration, handling, and steering

You Won't Like

  • Noisy cabin
  • Not a true off-road vehicle
  • ABS is not available for the DX base model

Sum Up

A worthy contender even though it has maintained a quiet profile in a field that is dominated by the competition.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Escape
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Honda CR-V
  • Subaru Forester
  • Kia Sportage

See the New 2011 Tribute.


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