Mazda has facelifted its Japanese-built European-specification Tribute SUV for the 2005 model year.

The changes are much the same as already seen on the US-built Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute siblings with the major change the introduction of a new 2.3-litre, 110kW/150PS MZR-family petrol engine replacing the previous two-litre unit. It meets Euro Stage IV emission rules while the V6 petrol engine has been upgraded to produce more power (149 kW/203 PS) than the previous V6.

As in the US, the 2.3-litre engine comes with a five-speed manual transmission as standard and the V6 is combined with a four-speed automatic transmission with centre console-mounted shifter replacing the previous (and unpopular) steering column lever.

However, despite having a suitable engine in its 3 and 6 car ranges, Mazda Europe has still not introduced a diesel Tribute despite the option being offered in the rival Land Rover Freelander. Diesel engines will also be available in upcoming rivals from Hyundai and Kia.

As already seen in the US, the 2005 Euro-spec Tribute has new front and rear bumpers, and new headlamps, tail lights and 16-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the centre console has been restyled to accommodate the relocated automatic gear selector.

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Dual-stage front airbags for both driver and front passenger, as well as curtain airbags, are now standard; along with head rests and three-point seatbelts at all three seats in the back. Discs brakes at all four wheels, and ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, are also now standard.

While US buyers are offered two-wheel drive models, European Tributes all come with all-wheel drive as standard. The ‘Active Torque Control Coupling (ATTC) system monitors wheel speed and accelerator pedal position to send torque, via an electromagnetic coupling, automatically to the rear wheels when needed.