Tribute Hybrid SUV
The Mazda Tribute Hybrid SUV is scheduled to go into production
in 2007 for the 2008 sales season. Since Ford Motor Company
owns 33-percent of Mazda it is likely that the Tribute Hybrid
SUV will be based on the Ford
Escape Hybrid SUV, which is already being offered
in showrooms at a dealer near you.
The Mazda Tribute Hybrid has a 2.3-liter133-horsepower, Atkinson-cycle
four-cylinder engine. The vehicle can also propel itself for
the first 25 miles on battery power alone. With an expected
mileage of 25 mpg, the Mazda Tribute Hybrid also has the option
to come in 4WD as well.
Mazda's President Hisakazu Imaki recently announced at the
Tokyo Motor Show, "Through our partnership with Ford, we
are now proceeding with the development of a hybrid version
of the Mazda Tribute, which we will launch as early as possible."
Most likely this means availability in 2008, though hitting
the showrooms in late 2007 is a possibility.
The Mazda Tribute Hybrid SUV will offer an gasoline engine,
a permanent magnetic electric motor and a 500-plus mile range
before refueling. Regenerative braking and a continuously variable
transmission can also be expected on the Tribute Hybrid. The
standard gasoline-only Tribute currently generates 20 percent
of Mazda's U.S. sales.
Mazda is also ramping up its research and development on
hydrogen cars. The Hiroshima-based carmaker has already
received Japanese government approval to test its hydrogen-powered
rotary engine RX-8
sports car on public roads. Mazda, like the other automakers
is seeing green when it comes to green cars and vehicles
and doesn't want to pass up a chance to make money in the
hybrid market before the hydrogen highway officially rolls