Based on the Mazda6 midsize-car platform, the CX-7 is designed, as are many crossovers, to deliver the utility of a small sport utility vehicle with the driving experience of a passenger car. The CX-7 features a turbocharged engine and raked-back styling that culminates in a short rear hatch. Competitors include the Ford Edge and Hyundai Santa Fe.
The CX-7 can seat up to five, and both front- and all-wheel-drive models are available. Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels offer a variety of ascending equipment levels, but all CX-7s come with six airbags, antilock brakes and basic power accessories. For 2008, premium gasoline is no longer required thanks to revised engine programming.
The CX-7 echoes Mazda's recent passenger cars with its thin, dual-bezel headlamps and five-point grille. Below, a large lower air dam with flanking side portals recalls Mazda's RX-8 sports car. Fog lights and upscale touches such as chrome door handles and xenon high-intensity-discharge headlamps are available on higher trim levels. The side glass tapers into small rear-quarter windows, and a short liftgate features clear-lens taillamps. A raked windshield, subtle roof spoiler and dual exhaust pipes accentuate the CX-7's appearance. The CX-7 has a fully independent suspension and wears 18-inch wheels as standard equipment.
Although the CX-7's interior has elements of other Mazda vehicles (most notably the three-spoke steering wheel, circular air vents and electroluminescent instrument panel), it's largely a new look for Mazda. The dashboard ascends away from the driver, and there's a shelf just below the windshield that shades a thin information display.
In Sport form, the CX-7 has basic power accessories, remote keyless entry and a CD stereo. Midlevel Touring models add leather seats, an eight-way power driver's seat and heated front seats. The top-end Grand Touring trim adds automatic climate control. Options include a navigation system and a power moonroof.
Folding rear seats provide a nearly flat load floor when down, and the seatbacks and rear cargo compartment are coated in plastic. With the rear seats up, cargo volume is 29.9 cubic feet; with the seats down, cargo volume expands to 58.6 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
The CX-7's only available power plant is a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder. The engine features direct injection, a top-mounted intercooler and variable valve timing. It generates 244 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque. The engine mates to a standard six-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode.
All-disc antilock brakes, traction control, an electronic stability system and side-impact and side curtain airbags are standard.