Mazda Australia has expanded and updated the Tribute 4WD wagon range, adding a Limited Sport V6 variant and introducing a more luxurious interior for Classic and Luxury models.
The revised range also benefits from a price realignment across the automatic-only V6 range, with savings of between $430 and $1330 depending on the model.
The Limited V6 model is now priced from $34,990, the Classic from $39,990 and the Luxury is priced from $43,350.
The new Limited Sport, which is priced from $36,990, adopts the velour cloth interior from the superseded Classic model and features a host of additional equipment over the V6 Limited.
Standard equipment on the Limited Sport over that found on the Limited includes new-look 16x6.5 alloy wheels, front fog lamps and roof rails. Inside, it boasts cruise control, driver’s seat height and lumbar adjustment and high-grade velour cloth trim on the seats and doors.
The managing director of Mazda Australia, Malcolm Gough said: “The introduction of the Tribute Limited Sport gives us a very well specified model below the all-important $37,000 to $38,000 price point.
“The new model also helps fill the price gap between the great value Limited V6 and the aggressively-priced Classic and Luxury models, which are the best-sellers in the Tribute range, taking 60 per cent of sales.
“We believe that many buyers will choose to trade up from a Limited to the more generously-equipped Limited Sport”.
Safety features on all 150 kilowatt, V6 Tribute models includes dual front airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners and ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake force Distribution. The range-topping Luxury also gets front seat-mounted side airbags.
The Classic and Luxury Tributes now come with a new-look interior that features black dash and trim panels, as well as an alloy-look centre dash panel.
The Classic features new black velour and suede-like seat and door trim, while the Luxury model comes with black leather seat trim and a leather covered steering wheel.
Standard equipment on the Classic and Luxury models also includes 16x7 alloy wheels and tyres, a power-operated sunroof and a six-stack in-dash CD player.
“The introduction of the revised Classic and Luxury models with a more luxurious interior will ensure that these vehicles remain the popular choice within the Tribute range and a favourite with 4WD wagon buyers looking for performance, luxury and value”, Gough said.
Front mud flaps have been added across the Tribute range, which is priced from $30,990 for the manual Limited four-cylinder.
Equipment levels are generous, with all models coming standard with air conditioning, remote central locking, a luggage cover, power radio antenna, power windows and mirrors, dual airbags, a cargo area auxiliary power point, a split fold rear seat and a flip-up rear window.
All V6 variants feature an electronically controlled, four-speed automatic gearbox.
Since its introduction in February 2001, the Tribute has established a reputation as one of the most capable off-roaders in its class, particularly in V6 guise, with its 3.0-litre engine delivering 266Nm of pulling power.
Revised engine management software ensures more progressive “off-the-line” acceleration.
With ground clearance ranging from 201mm to 214mm depending on model and tyre specification, and short front and rear overhangs, the Tribute can venture further off-road than many of its rivals.
To maximise traction, Tribute is equipped with an on-demand four-wheel-drive system that gives it all-road, all-weather capability. Called “Rotary Blade Coupling” it quickly activates when conditions, both on road and off, demand.
The four-wheel-drive system automatically senses when the front wheels begin to slip and hydraulically transfers power to the rear wheels for improved traction. This seamless transfer of up to 50 percent of the engine’s torque ensures that additional traction is on hand when the driver needs it.
For added off-road performance, a dash-mounted switch activates an electro-magnetic coupling, enabling the driver to lock the system in four-wheel drive, spreading engine power and torque 50/50 front to rear.
Like other Mazdas, the Tribute, which features MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, delivers first-class handling, steering and ride comfort.
Rigid monocoque construction provides a solid foundation for the Tribute and incorporates Mazda’s “Triple-H” body reinforcements in the roof, sides and floor to further enhance safety and rigidity.
Power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering is standard and delivers exceptional road feel and responsiveness.
The styling of the Tribute is sophisticated and athletic, with the familiar Mazda family five-point grille, complete with a large, chrome brand symbol, dominating the wagon’s front end. The sculptured creases in the bonnet and fenders give Tribute a tough but sophisticated appearance that suggests it can tackle any challenge from the ‘urban jungle’ to mountain tracks.
Inside, the Tribute offers seating for five, while providing ample cargo room. A long, flat cargo floor for greater load carrying can be created by double folding the rear seats. The rear seatbacks fold down in a 60/40 split and there are four tie-down hooks to secure cargo over rough terrain.
Mazda Australia expects to sell more than 6500 Tributes in 2003, with the two Limited models making up 23 per cent of the sales mix, the Limited Sport 15 per cent, the Classic 44 per cent and the Luxury 18 per cent.