Mazda finally entered the hybrid scene, providing the same size and convenience as the regular Tribute—but with the added environmental benefits of a hybrid powertrain. It is basically a re-skinned Ford Escape Hybrid, using the same powertrain and many of the same interior bits. The Mercury Mariner also borrows from the Escape Hybrid, so hybrid shoppers can choose from three flavors of the same vehicle.
If you’re thinking about buying a Mazda Tribute Hybrid, you might also consider a a Ford Escape Hybrid or Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Compare these vehicles.
The Tribute is both a practical and capable utility, using the same continuously variable transmission and 2.3-liter engine/electric motor combination as the Escape, which is good for a combined 155 horsepower. With acceleration comparable to a 200-horsepower V-6, the Tribute will fare well in higher speed traffic and interstate on-ramps.
Fuel economy numbers for the Mazda Tribute Hybrid match numbers from the Ford Escape Hybrid. That SUV has been estimated by the EPA to return 34 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway in front-wheel-drive, and 29/27 miles per gallon in the four-wheel-drive variant. Like the Escape, the Tribute Hybrid can be driven at speeds up to 25 mph on electric power alone.
In terms of style, the Mazda Tribute goes against the grain of the rest of the brand’s model line. It’s boxier and more traditional—standing apart from the sleek and sporty look of the other Mazda cars and crossovers. The choice of the Tribute, a decidedly low-key model, as Mazda’s first hybrid vehicle was apparently based on the ease of adapting the Escape’s drivetrain, rather than an effort to create some buzz and excitement for the Mazda brand.