in 2011 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $11,396 - $15,843
Original MSRP: $20,555 - $29,065
MPG: 23 City / 28 Hwy
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2011 Mazda Tribute Interior

This interior review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The five-seat Tribute gets so-so reviews for its somewhat confusing and dated interior design, as well as cheap-feeling materials.

  • "Disappointing overall. Tribute's interior imparts a low-buck atmosphere with lots of hard plastic trim and odd panel textures." -- Consumer Guide
  • "For the most part, the Tribute's cabin is virtually identical to that of the Ford Escape. This isn't really a bad thing, as the control layout and build quality are generally impressive." -- Edmunds


The Tribute's five-passenger cabin is comfortable, and reviewers say the rear seats are especially spacious for a compact SUV. However, some of them say the rear seats themselves are uncomfortable. They’re thinly passed and have a very upright position. They cannot be adjusted like the rear seats in much of the competition.

Manually-adjustable front seats come on base Sport models, but the next trim up (Touring) gets a six-way power driver's seat with adjustable lumbar support. Leather upholstery and heated front seats are standard on top-of-the-line Grand Touring models.

  • "The Tribute's front seats are well-bolstered and comfortable, though a tilt-only steering wheel might prevent some from finding an ideal driving position." -- Edmunds
  • "Rear seat room is another Tribute strong point. Knee and foot space are ample, aided by a flat floor. Three adults will fit for short trips on the nicely shaped rear bench. Entry and exit are hampered a bit by narrow door openings." -- Consumer Guide

Interior Features

Standard features on the base Sport model include a tilt steering wheel, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, and an AM/FM/CD audio system with an auxiliary audio input jack. Upgrading to the Touring model costs about $3,100 and adds popular features such as a power driver’s seat, a six-disc CD changer, and steering wheel-mounted audio controls.

The Tribute offers very few options. A downside for families with young children is that no rear entertainment system is available. If you need one, consider the Mazda CX-7 or Chevrolet Equinox, or look into portable options. A navigation system also isn’t available, which is surprising since one is offered by virtually all the competition.

The Tribute’s platform-mate, the Ford Escape, offers more and costs about the same. Among its options are Ford’s SYNC infotainment system and a navigation system with Sirius Travel Link.

  • "The straightforward climate and stereo controls are split, with readouts placed high atop the dash in legible blue and white characters. Unfortunately, the Tribute does not offer the Escape's excellent available navigation system or the innovative Sync electronics interface, which includes Bluetooth, iPod interface and voice controls." -- Edmunds
  • "The new dashboard brings with it a new ergonomic layout but, alas, few ergonomic improvements. Its dozens of black buttons and knobs were difficult to distinguish from one another, especially against the black trim surround pieces. And if you're wearing sunglasses, forget it." -- Car and Driver
  • "All controls are simple to use once passengers become familiar with the location of all the buttons. Note that a navigation system is only available on the Hybrid Grand Touring." -- Consumer Guide


The Tribute provides 31.4 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats in use and 67.1 cubic feet with the seats folded down. These figures are about average for the class and are slightly more than what the less expensive Hyundai Tucson can hold. However, reviewers say folding the rear seats down can be a pain.

If you really need more cargo space, look at the Toyota RAV4. It costs only a few hundred dollars more than the Tribute and matches its fuel economy. Best of all, it provides 73 cubic feet of maximum cargo space and an optional third row, which might be nice for families.

The Tribute's separate-opening flip-up liftgate window is a useful feature because you can quickly toss small items in. Other standard cargo features include a large center floor console with covered storage compartment, and two coat hooks.

A retractable cargo cover and an overhead console with a dual-storage bin come with Touring and Grand Touring models.

  • "A low, level load deck and opening tailgate glass make for handy cargo loading and hauling. Rear seatbacks do fold flat, but require multiple, inconvenient steps to do so. Cabin small-item storage includes several bins, cubbies, and map pockets in all four doors." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Cargo space stands at 31.4 cubic feet behind the second row and 67.2 cubes with the 60/40-split second row folded. This is a bit larger than Mazda's own CX-7 and smaller crossovers like the Hyundai Tucson, but the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 are bigger." -- Edmunds

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