Image credits: © Mazda.
2011 Mazda Tribute news, pictures, and information
2011 MAZDA TRIBUTE: RUGGED GOOD LOOKS MEETS SUV FUNCTIONALITYOffering more traditional sport-utility vehicle (SÚV) styling than Mazda's other crossovers, CX-7 and CX-9, the 2011 Tribute rounds out the Mazda family of unibody-based utility vehicles, making it the perfect choice for buyers in search of traditional, go-anywhere, rugged styling. For the 2011 model year, Tribute carries over key specifications and features from the 2010 model year.
POWER WORTHY OF AN SÚVPerformance has always been a pillar of strength for the Tribute. The 2011 Tribute i is fitted wîth a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine which produces 171 horsepower and 171 lb-ft torque and returns fuel economy of up to 23/28 mpg (city/highway). It is one of the most sophisticated too: light, efficient and refined. Double-overhead camshafts improve engine breathing and high-revving response, which in turn improves performance and fuel economy. It also uses a variable induction system that delivers more power when the driver demands it, enhancing torque at lower revs and maximizing power at higher revs. The pistons are lightweight, improving throttle response, smoothness and the engine's ability to rev. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is rated ÚLEV/Tier 2 Bin 5.
For even more rugged power, Tribute s features a 240-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 wîth 223 lb-ft torque and returns fuel economy of up to 19/25 mpg (city/highway). Its aluminum block and head helps keep weight down, benefiting handling and improving the power-to-weight ratio. As wîth the 2.5 four-cylinder, it uses double-overhead camshafts to control the valves and improve engine breathing – which in turn boosts performance and gas mileage. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The 3.0-liter V6 is rated ÚLEV/Tier2 Bin 4 and is Flex Fuel compatible.
An easy-shifting five-speed manual gearbox, which has short, sporty gear changes, is standard on the Tribute i Sport. It uses multi-cone synchronizers (dual-cone for first and second, single for third through fifth) to reduce shift effort and a cable-shift for improved gear-change precision. The gear lever is positioned at an ideal height on the center console to be as near as possible to the driver's right hand. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on Touring and Grand Touring models (optional on i Sport model).
CONTROLLING THE POWER
The Tribute's sporty behavior also comes from its unibody construction and the fully independent coil-sprung suspension, as used on many sports cars. Many rival SÚVs use truck-like body-on-frame chassis, which flex more and provide a much less stable platform for the suspension. The Tribute's unibody construction provides superb structural rigidity, improving ride and handling, as well as contributing to fewer rattles and a much tauter driving feel.
The fully independent coil-sprung suspension – MacPherson struts at the front, multi-link at the rear – ensures each wheel responds independently to road conditions, increasing the sure-footedness of the vehicle, improving handling and road holding. It gives the vehicle more poise in difficult conditions, including at high-speeds and on unpaved surfaces, and also improves ride comfort.
The track, front (60.7 inches) and rear (60.2 inches) is wide, which also benefits stability, handling and road holding. Nitrogen gas-charged shock absorbers give superb wheel control, on- or off-road, and maintain their composure even after tough use. The Tribute handles like a well-sorted sedan, but wîth all the extra benefits of an SÚV.
Another sports car touch is the use of rack-and-pinion §teering for greater §teering precision and response. Variable power assistance means low-speed maneuvering, such as parking, is easy. Yet at higher speeds, reduced power assistance preserves road feel and §teering feedback. Electric Power Steering (EPS), which improves vehicle sensitivity, is standard, and, improves NVH and fuel economy by eliminating the power §teering pump.
All Tributes have ventilated 11.9-inch front discs for strong heat dissipation which improves braking performance after repeated use, such as a long downhill stretch wîth many bends. Both Tribute i and s models are equipped wîth standard Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) to prevent wheel lock-up and skids, and to help maintain §teering control under braking. The four-channel system is more advanced than a conventional three-channel set-up, as every wheel has its own sensor to provide individual braking control. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) varies the distribution of braking force between the front and rear wheels depending on the load to stop the vehicle as quickly as possible.
RÚGGED GOOD LOOKS
Part of being a great sports vehicle is great sporty design, and the Tribute scores well here. Tributes makes a powerful statement wîth a rugged, tough exterior design by offering a more traditional SÚV styling than Mazda's other SÚVs, CX-7 and CX-9. Outside, the body has a taut athletic skin wîth a high belt line. Wheels are 16-inch seven-spoke alloys wîth 16-inch P235/70R tires.
Tribute's interior is upscale and comfortable. The main instruments are chrome-trimmed, sports car-style. The driver's and front passenger's seats have pronounced side bolsters to hold occupants in place during cornering.
ÚTILITY FOR WORK OR PLAY
Designed for real-world driving, the Tribute is at home cruising on the freeway, tackling unpaved roads or in the rough-and-tough urban jungle. Car-like front-wheel drive is standard. If extra traction is necessary – either for off-road driving or pulling heavy loads in slippery conditions – the Tribute is available wîth Mazda's innovative Active Torque Control Coupling (ATCC) four-wheel-drive system. This ingenious system is available on both four-cylinder and V6 Tribute models equipped wîth automatic transmissions.
A sophisticated computer monitors the engine, wheel speeds and transmission, and automatically transfers torque between the front and rear wheels. The split to the rear wheels varies between zero and 50 percent. It senses where traction is strongest and delivers the appropriate amount of torque for optimal grip.
Únlike mechanical systems, which react only to wheel slip, ATCC predicts wheel spin, and prevents it from happening in the first place. It changes continually, to suit ever-changing driving conditions, and is also completely automatic, so no driver settings or adjustment is necessary. It reacts faster than a hydraulic system because there is no lag time waiting for a viscous fluid to heat up before splitting power between the axles. The system is also useful on-road – such as in snow or heavy rain, or any time where there is a potential for loss of traction. Compared wîth less sophisticated four-wheel drive systems, ATCC improves driving responsiveness, handling and fuel economy.
Like all good SÚVs, the Tribute has a commanding driving position, great visibility, good ground clearance, a tall roof and large cargo area. The elevated seating position, and superb visibility means you get a better view of the road when weather conditions are bad, such as heavy driving rain.
The vehicle seats five adults in comfort. For extra versatility, there are up to four storage areas within easy reach of the driver's seat, and five near the front passenger. In addition, a center console storage compartment wîth removable bins offers enough space to store a laptop. Both front doors have storage compartments, as do the backs of each front seat (Touring and Grand Touring models).
There is 31.4 cubic feet of carrying space behind the rear seat when it is up, and 67.2 cubic feet when the seatback is reclined. The rear seat is asymmetrically split 60:40, which improves carrying versatility. For extra practicality, the tailgate features a rear window that lifts separately, ideal for loading less heavy objects.
Of course, safety is a priority. The all-steel unibody construction is not only very rigid, it is also enormously strong. The crumple zones and ‘Triple H' construction are designed to absorb and redirect energy away from the passenger cabin. ‘Triple H' refers to the H-shaped structures in the sides, floor and roof that provide a rigid cell around the cockpit. Side impact door beams are also fitted, to further improve safety in a side impact.
The Tribute comes wîth advanced dual-stage front airbags that use various sensors to deploy each front airbag wîth the right amount of force to deal wîth the impact. For the driver, sensors measure seatbelt usage and the fore/aft seating position. For the front passenger, sensors first measure the weight in the seat to determine if the seat is occupied and if it is, the sensors turn on the passenger airbag and measure seatbelt usage. Front side impact airbags, fitted into the seats rather than the doors – so they work equally effectively, irrespective of seat position – are standard. Side-impact air curtains wîth rollover protection are also standard.
Front seat belts have pre-tensioners to reduce slack in the early moments of an impact. In the rear, all three seats have three-point belts and adjustable head restraints for extra safety. For additional safety, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Roll Stability Control (RSC), Traction Control System and a tire pressure monitoring system are also standard. Whether the driving conditions are dry and fast or slippery and moderately paced, exceptional handling is assured.
THREE TRIM LEVELS SIMPLIFY CHOICES
|Engine : 2.5 L., 4-cylinder|
Power: 171 hp
Torque: 171 ft-lbs
Engine : 3.0 L., 6-cylinder
Power: 240 hp
The mid-level Touring trim builds on the Sport trim wîth the addition of privacy glass, a standard roof rack, six-way power adjustable driver's seat wîth manual adjustable lumbar support, overhead console wîth dual storage bins and front seatback map pockets.
Offering the highest level of comfort and convenience found in the Tribute lineup, the fully loaded Grand Touring trim comes standard wîth everything found on the Sport and Touring trims, plus Satellite radio and much more. Additional standard exterior features include heated side-view mirrors and a power-sliding moonroof. A more sophisticated and cozy interior features leather-trimmed seats, heated front seats, garage door opener, electrochromatic mirror wîth rearview backup camera display and leather-wrapped §teering wheel.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the Únited States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario; and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.
Until 2005 the Tribute was available in DX, DX V6, LX V6 and ES V6 trim levels and then the ‘i' and ‘s' trims replaced them. The trim levels represented which engine was aboard. In California only a hybrid version of the Mazda Tribute is offered.
For 2008 the Tribute received a minor exterior face-lift, an updated suspension and the introduction of a more powerful 153-hp 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. The base engine before had been a 2.0-liter inline-4 that offered an unimpressive 130 hp. The V6 engine has continued to remain a 3.0-liter unit that produced 200 hp.
The Tribute is both comfortable and roomy, and showcased a very stylish and appealing exterior. The 2009 Tribute ranks 26 out of 27 Affordable Compact SUV's and received a larger four-cylinder engine and revised V6 along with a new six-speed automatic transmission for this year. Also for this year, the Tribute featured an improved stronger fuel economy. As gas prices were climbing up to record highs in 2008, the Tribute featured a very impressive 22/28 mp rating that placed it near the top of its class.
Critics have claimed though that the Tribute visibly favors the Escape both inside an outside a bit too much and new competition is leaving the Tribute in the dust. The current Tribute is nearly identical mechanically to the previous-generation model, though it did feature an updated interior with better materials. The switchgear and design of the Tribute is more consistent with Ford products than Mazda ones.
On all trims levels, all-wheel drive is optional and the available engines are a 2.3-liter 153-horsepower four-cylinder and a 3.0liter 20-hp V6 which was joined to a four-speed automatic transmission. The only exception to this is the ‘I' Sport 2WD which is joined to a five-speed manual. A hybrid model named the Tribute HEV is now available, and is basically the twin of the Ford Escape Hybrid and has estimated fuel economy in the high 20's. The Tribute received a new electric power steering system that delivered great road feel and response. The SUV featured smooth ride quality and capable handling.By Jessica Donaldson
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