Making its debut at this month's British Motor Show is the new Mazda Tribute. The stylish five-seater sports utility vehicle is the first from the Japanese car manufacturer and takes Mazda into new terrain. The new Mazda Tribute goes on sale early in 2001.

Mazda is aiming the Tribute at the well-established SUV market, knowing that a car like this will be called on to help owners deal with the demands of today's world. The Mazda Tribute is designed to be accessible, with a versatile interior, and is easy to manoeuvre through country field or urban jungle.

"With the new Mazda Tribute we are driving our line-up into fresh territory. Based on our brand DNA, the Tribute delivers distinctive design, responsive handling and performance, and exceptional functionality, and is equipped to beat established contenders," says Mazda UK managing director Tim Tozer.

"The Mazda Tribute builds on Mazda's heritage of sports cars and legendary reliability, the stylish Mazda Tribute is a tough recreational vehicle that handles like a prestige family car."

Inside the new Mazda Tribute is spacious and comfortable. Generous head room and leg room both front and rear mean passengers travel in maximum comfort. A well thought out driving position gives the driver good safe visibility at all times. The 60:40 split/fold rear seats can be double-folded flat into the load floor to leave cavernous volumes of cargo space. The double opening tailgate features a hinged window which allows access to the load area without fully opening the hatchback.

Driving the Mazda Tribute is more like driving a car than a four-wheel drive vehicle. With a choice of a powerful 3.0-litre V6 or a smooth 2.0-litre inline 4-cylinder engine, and an on-demand four-wheel drive backup, the Tribute is fun to drive. Steering adjusts according to engine speed and braking is exceptionally firm and accurate for an off-road vehicle thanks to the ventilated front discs and rear drums and the standard ABS.

Safety is paramount in the new Mazda Tribute with twin and side airbags, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD), and side-impact door beams in all doors. The rigid monocoque body, featuring Mazda's Triple-H structure, shields the occupants in an impact.

The name Tribute was chosen as a dedication to the creativity and engineering behind the vehicle, as well as a testament to the style and spirit of those who drive it. Like the Mazda Premacy and Mazda MPV, the Mazda Tribute name will be used in all world markets.

Prices for the Mazda Tribute will be announced shortly before the car goes on sale early next year.