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First look: Mazda's new-look Tribute

New: Facelifted Tribute features new headlights, grille, alloys and bumpers.

Mazda's new-look Tribute SUV breaks cover in Melbourne ahead of its 2008 replacement

17 Feb 2006

MAZDA’S executive officer of global design Moray Callum has revealed to GoAuto that the next-generation Tribute 4WD will remain faithful to its utilitarian roots.

This suggests the vehicle will be a re-skinned version of a Ford vehicle (Escape) rather than a smaller iteration of Mazda’s forthcoming CX-7 crossover.

Mr Callum said there was a traditional Mazda 4WD buyer that wanted an upright, boxy vehicle like the current Tribute, a facelifted version of which was unveiled at last week's Melbourne International Motor Show.

He also said Mazda’s next-generation small 4WD would remain true to its core values.

"I wouldn’t take the Tribute towards the CX-7, I would even separate them more," he said. "You keep them separate animals." Mr Callum said the current Mazda range had been very successful in terms of rejuvenation "so you’re not going to turn 180 degrees and do something else".

22 center imageSoon after Ford unveiled its facelifted Escape in Melbourne, which is a mechanical twin to the Tribute, Mazda showed the refreshed Tribute.

Due to arrive around June and expected to carry the nameplate until the all-new version arrives in 2008, the latter is more fuel-efficient and gains a floor-mounted shifter, four-wheel disc brakes, retuned suspension and better trim levels.

Visually, it gains Mazda’s eyebrow headlights with a mesh grille, incorporating a larger Mazda logo, new clear-finish headlamps, alloys and reprofiled front bumper with integrated bumper guard.

Inside there are new-look instruments, door trims and seat fabrics that bring it into line with its passenger-car siblings.

Mazda also claims the cabin is quieter with redesigned mirrors, which incorporate turn repeater lamps, reducing wind noise.

Mechanical changes to the 152kW 3.0-litre V6 are claimed to have contributed to a 10 per cent improvement in fuel economy.

The mechanical upgrade has cut the V6-powered Tribute’s average fuel consumption from 12.2L/100km to 10.9L/100km on the ADR 81/01 test cycle.

The 2.3-litre four-cylinder offers better low- and mid-speed torque delivery and an electronic throttle for a smoother acceleration feel. Both engines pass Euro III emission regulations.

Tribute’s safety equipment, which continues to include standard ABS brakes and dual front and front side airbags, has been upgraded with the centre rear seat passenger now protected by a lap/sash seatbelt and headrest.

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