This week we’re looking at the 2008 Mazda Tribute HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicle) 2-Wheel Drive SUV. I guess if you have to own a Sport Utility Vehicle it is at least responsible to make it a Hybrid like this Mazda.
I’ve always liked to drive the little Miata MX-5 and although it appeared to me to be a “Chick” car, demographically it sells equally to both male and female. Ilona and I took one to Lake Tahoe for a week with family and we actually were able to close the trunk lid – but we left the hair dryer behind. Space is not a problem for this SUV however and you get even better fuel economy than the Miata. As with most hybrid’s the around town driving is better on fuel than open road driving, so the California Freeway parking lot system – compliments of CalTrans – will be more bearable. They really have this traffic thing figured out, don’t you think?
By the way – Big TIP – watch the movie (now on DVD) “The End of Suburbia” before you buy your next car or your next house. That movie will change your entire way of thinking about the auto, world oil, and where you want to live and what you want to be driving in the VERY near future.
I know Ford has a hand in the Mazda group but how much I don’t know. But I have found only good things come out of such influences, like the Daimler / Chrysler alliance for some time which has improved both brands.
The production of this Tribute Hybrid will be only 350 vehicles and sold in select areas of California.
Parts – US/Canadian 75%, Japan 30%
Assembly – Kansas City, MO, USA
Class: – Special Purpose
Cars: – CX-7, CX-9, Mazda 3,5 &6, Mazdaspeed3 &6, MX-5 Miata, RX-8, Tribute & Truck.
Hey, CHP, isn’t it time you began to cite slow drivers on the freeway who insist on traveling in the wrong lane? It’s only fair, don’t you think?
Handling & Performance:
Switching from electric to gas is very seamless in operation. At low speed and low demand for power you are in silent running on battery up to 25 miles per hour. Very cool. So around town you will sense the reduced demand and drain on the gas tank. But you won’t notice a marked decrease in performance and power when you need it.
With a 15 gallon tank you’d get 450 miles or better. I like that.
Rather plain and simple but for $8,000 more and lots more gas you can look at the very pretty CX-9 SUV from Mazda. Look out Lexus, BMW and Mercedes to name just a few. Those luxury SUVs are way more money and … that’s it, way more money. Well done Mazda, and congratulations for the awards this CX-9 has earned.
The Tribute and CX-9 have the same parents but with a different goal. The Tribute isn’t designed to be pretty, but rather to be economical and efficient. It has accomplished its goal. Kinda like the girl next door which I’ve always found to be the better option.
Fit and Finish:
These days the cost of fuel has to be factored into your buying equation. Hybrid economy will play an increasing role in overall cost to own.
Features and Conveniences:
The nice thing about electric vehicles is they usually have 110 volt outlets. Cool. Now you can dry your hair while you put on your make up in the morning on the way to work. And they think cell phones are a distraction?!
Resource – www.safercar.gov
Mazda Tribute $19-27,000, Chevrolet Equinox $23-29,000, Mercury Montego $24-29,000, Ford Escape $19-28,000, Saturn Vue $21-29,000, Pontiac Torrent $23-29,000, Mercury Mariner $21-26,000, Subaru Forester $21-28,000, Hyundai Tucson $17-25,000, Mitsubishi Outlander $20-25,000, Toyota RAV4 $21-27,000, Jeep Liberty $20-26,000, Honda CR-V $21-28,000, Kia Sportage $16-23,000.
Well priced, great improvement in fuel economy for SUV class, roomy, handles well and comfy.
None worth noting.
2.5 liter Inline 4-cylinder engine coupled with a magnet AC synchronous electric motor, electronic continuously variable transmission, front wheel drive, independent suspension, front stabilizer bars, power mirrors, intermittent wipers, rear wiper, 5-passenger seating, cloth seating surfaces, 60/40 split fold down rear seats, tilt steering column, dual zone auto temp control air conditioning, 110 volt electrical outlet, 36 mo, 36,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty, dual front and side airbags with side air curtains, power assisted rack and pinion steering, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, tire pressure monitor, flip up liftgate window, halogen fog lights, roof rack, power windows and locks, audio with 4 speakers, digital clock, map lights, cruise control, leather wrapped wheel, child safety features, remote keyless illuminated entry and anti-theft engine immobilizer.
$3.74/ Gal avg. April 21, ‘08
for more information.
34 City and 30 Highway MPG www.safercar.gov or 888-327-4236