Review: For 2010, Mazda proudly offers something less.
The CX-7 name tells you
little, but this stylish vehicle is a relatively compact crossover SUV
that gives you some of the sporty Miata and Mazda 3 experience in a
Introduced as a 2007
model and available with only a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder
engine, it proudly offers, for 2010, a non-turbo 2.5-liter four. That
drops horsepower from 244 to 161 and torque from 248 to 161. So where’s
Well, to start with,
you save gas. EPA Fuel economy numbers jump from 18 City and 25 Highway
(not that bad) to 20 City and 28 Highway (better). I averaged 21.7 mpg.
larger, but less powerful engine pushes both the Air Pollution and
Greenhouse Gas scores up a point, to 7 and 6 respectively. That means
the new models earn EPA SmartWay status.
The naturally aspirated
engine comes in the “i” series cars, SV and Sport which are
front-wheel-drive only. Move up to the “s” series Touring and Grand
Touring models and you’ll get the extra power, a six speed, rather than
five speed automatic, an all-wheel-drive option and something else, more
The Touring models sit
about 300 pounds heavier than the i-SV and i-Sport versions. Add
all-wheel-drive and there’s more than a quarter ton of difference.
As it turns out, you
don’t need the turbo cars to have fun. I dashed around town and down the
freeway with ease. The car does what it’s supposed to without drama.
Getting that sporty feel in a 3,500-pound wagon is a challenge that
Mazda accepts willingly, and has succeeded in providing. A five-speed
manual might have added even more amusement factor, but you can’t get
The windshield leans
back at a 66-degree angle, very unlike a typical SUV, but a lot more
like a crossover. Tiny windows in the massive front pillars relieve a
little of the bulk but reminded me of a minivan.
The dash and controls
mimic those in the Mazda sedans, driver oriented and informative. The
gauges have blue illumination this year. All 2010 models get a little
raised section on the dash so you can see a small display screen with
smiley face and bulky shoulders onto a high-riding wagon is no mean
feat, but the Mazda folks have pulled it off nicely. The side window
line tapers up to the rear for a taste of coupe despite the wagon
proportions. Folding rear seats and a tailgate make it easy to stow bass
instruments and chunky cargo. My tester’s cargo cover had a $125 price
tag on it, but it was well worth it.
The non-turbo models
save you money. How much? The i-SV model starts at just $22,300,
including shipping. Jump to the turbocharged Touring and you’re looking
at $26,550 with front-wheel drive. By the time you top out with an
all-wheel-drive Grand Touring, you’re looking at $33,635. That’s a big
My Liquid Silver
Metallic Sport model, with options, came to $25,590. That included a
range of extras from a cargo net to fog lights to Sirius Satellite
Radio. The Convenience Package ($1,750) provided a power driver’s seat,
heated front seats (1 level only), a power moonroof and automatic
climate control. A revised leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls
for audio and phone is standard.
Other than the new
engine offering, the 2010 CX-7 is all about subtle refinements. "The
vehicle we had to start with was already really good and well liked by
consumers, so my team didn't have to start over, but simply refine,"
said Masashi Otsuka, Mazda's CX-7 program manager. The 2010s have many
subtle upgrades, including suspension adjustments, and the new version
gets a countenance that more closely matches the grinning new Mazda3.
Part of the agenda
includes stuff you can’t see, but will appreciate, such as improvements
in body rigidity, lower noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels as
well as reduced wind noise. Thicker materials, reinforcements and weld
bonds all contribute to higher torsional rigidity. Thicker density
insulation means a quieter passenger compartment.
Built in Hiroshima,
Japan, the CX-7 earns five-star safety ratings for frontal and side
crashes in both driver and passenger positions. Rollover numbers are
four-stars, still good and probably inevitable for a vehicle that stands
higher than a sedan. Active safety includes four-wheel ventilated disc
brakes with ABS and traction control.
You can find a
crossover in pretty much every showroom these days. Even Porsche offers
one. Mazda’s CX-7, with its i series, offers the essentials, motoring
pleasure, nearly 60 cubic feet of load hauling when you drop the seats,
environmental responsibility with reasonable mileage, and a price almost
anyone can afford.
By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San
The Bottom Line:
The 2010 Mazda CX-7 is a midsized crossover that is right in the middle
of everything. Its size is compact, the power level is fine, the price
is affordable and the quality is great. The CX-7 is Mazda’s answer to
those who don’t need big, but want a car that has a little bit of the
things that make a car fun, reliable and sporty all rolled into a
stylish package that they can live with, in an affordable price range.
The Mazda CX-7 manages to meet all these bullet points, and delivers
more content for the price in this crowded sales field, than anyone
Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
“Tony the Car Guy”
is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay
Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to
TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at
And remember: “ You Are
What You Drive ”
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Column Name: A compact
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Topic: The 2010 Mazda
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