2009 marked the end of the very short life of the Mazda Tribute Hybrid. All told, the automaker produced fewer than 700 models, and it was ultimately retired well before the Tribute itself ceased production in 2011. For the money, though, the Tribute Hybrid managed to provide a surprising amount of power in a hybrid format.
The prime feature for any hybrid vehicle is the combination of electric motor and gasoline engine that provides it with power and fuel savings. The 2009 Mazda Tribute Hybrid used a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors to create a combined 247 hp and 34/31 mpg. It also came with the option of either two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
Changes for 2009
For 2009, Mazda added a larger engine to the Tribute Hybrid, as well as an eco-mode that operated with the SUV’s air conditioning system. Satellite radio was also introduced, as were automatic headlights and a new stability control system. Mazda took off the SUV’s rear disc brakes and replaced them with drum brakes, which was definitely an odd decision.
What We Like
We can definitely appreciate the excellent amount of cargo space in the 2009 Mazda Tribute Hybrid. We also like the power offered by the engine and electric motor combination, which is better than most hybrids of the time. The choice of all-wheel drive is also appreciated.
What Concerns Us
There are several drawbacks to the Tribute Hybrid. For instance, the rear seat folding process is too complicated, and the handling is less nimble than it should be, particularly when compared to competitors. The braking performance is also a low point.
There were two options available for the 2009 Mazda Tribute Hybrid. The two-wheel drive version used a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and two electric motors to produce 247 hp and 136 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 34/31 mpg. The all-wheel drive variant used the same engine, but added another electric motor to operate the two non-primary drive wheels (this is not a true all-wheel drive setup).
While there were no actual recalls issued for the 2009 Mazda Tribute Hybrid, there were several service bulletins for problems including the following:
- Check Engine light on for exhaust leak
- Popping/clunking noise from steering column
- Leaking/stuck canister purge valve
- Faulty battery pack cooling fans
- Clicking from driver from wheel speed sensor
- ABS warning light erroneously turns on
Driver complaints range from a lack of handling to poor braking performance and finicky interior adjustments.