Should I buy a 2002 Ford Escape or a 2002 Mazda Tribute?

The 2002 Ford Escape 4×4 XLT has 89,994 miles on it and the dealer wants ,902. The 2002 Mazda Tribute ES has 82,124 miles on it and the dealer wants ,415. (I'm not sure which is better. All the reviews I've seen rate them the same.) I'm test driving both on Monday.. Help!

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9 Responses to Should I buy a 2002 Ford Escape or a 2002 Mazda Tribute?

  1. May 25, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    When you test drive the Ford and Mazda place the vehicles on a highway stretch and get a feel for the vehicle, indulge and drive the vehicles for a long time. The Mazda will handle better at speed. While I know you may not be a racer by definition, you are mom. One of the best safety features is to avoid an accident in the first place. The Mazda will have the edge. I cannot tell from your question if the Mazda is a 4 wheel drive. If it is not, get the Mazda Tribute ES. Gas mileage will be better with front wheel drive because you are not pushing and pulling two drive trains, which is the case with 4 wheel drive. See if either has a tow hitch, this is a sign that the vehicle could have been pulling something. Pulling anything is wear and tear on the engine and transmission, certainly something to pay attention to at 80-90,000 miles on the odometer.

    Check the service records of both vehicles. One of the vehicles were taken care of better than the other. It would not be a tie, because of different owners. Another deciding point with children is to make sure the vehicle has rear seat side window air bags. It makes a huge difference to have them equipped on the vehicle. I would go as far as to say this should be a deal breaker, it is that important for safety in an SUV relative to children should something go drastically wrong.
    If it fits the budget and they do not have the rear side air bags, consider Britax car seats. They are very expensive car seats, but if you read up on it this particular car seat is a lifesaver compared to other more well known brands, like Graco. Lastly, which vehicle has the better set of tires so you will not have to come out of pocket anytime soon. When the time arrives, do not go cheap on tires. Tires are the single most important aspect of any car as it relates to keeping occupants safe. If the tires can not handle what is being thrown at them day in day out, I don't care how much you spend or what you drive, it becomes a death trap. You need to understand tires….Mom. Blessings.

  2. The Eagle Keeper May 25, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    They are the same. It just depends on which vehicle is better mechanically & who has the better deal.

  3. Uncle Jed Knows May 25, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    There both made by the same company. Just a different name.

  4. tringtohelp May 25, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    These are the same car put together on the same assembly line there are only minor differences to the appearance if you dont mind paying 5000.00 more for same car go for it i myself would tell them i will buy the the one with less miles on it for same price as the other one provided it was as clean it is a used suv and in these times of high gas prices they need to move the car i would actualy tell them to go lower on mazda again it is a used car and the mark up is higher tell them to go lower than the ford and you will buy see if they dont

  5. Adam D May 25, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    They are essentially the same car, just different badging. I would get the Ford because incase it is in a fender bender, cosmetic parts are cheaper because the Escape is more popular. But, if the Mazda has more features, go for that.

  6. jaydrouin May 25, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    Same truck, same parts, same plant, all off the Escape format Tribute Escape and Mariner are all the same the difference is the equipment that you can get in them.

  7. J B May 25, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    They are the same thing. My brother just bought an Escape, and while searching he found that the Escapes resale value seems to be abit lower than the Tribute when it comes to buying a used one.

  8. JULIE V May 25, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    They are virtualy the same as mentioned above. it may be worth paying more if it has a few features you like or the color you like.

  9. Editorguy May 25, 2009 at 3:19 am #

    I test drove 2003 models and ended up buying the 03 Tribute in 2006.
    Here's why: Got a super deal on my from CarMax.
    Research from Edmunds and CarMax showed the Tribute performed better, which I found to be the case. The Tribute had more pep, handled better and seemed more solid on the road. My last vehicle was a 1998 Ford Explorer with 13 major recalls.

    The pros for the Tribute:
    – Great economy at a super price. I'm pleased with the MPG, which runs about 20-22 for me, which is not bad for a small SUV. It is 6 cycl.
    – Nice acceleration if you need some punch.

    The cons:
    – Stereo system is mediocre at best and instrument panel and gearshift placement don't seem like a good fit. Count on replacing the speakers in either one. They suck.

    In either case, I think those dealers are asking too much money, esp given that you are looking at 2002 models. Did you try CarMax? I lucked out and think I paid $13K and my then 3-y-o vehicle had 9000 miles (that's right nine thousand). It was a cream puff.