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2011 Mazda CX-7

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2011 Mazda CX-7 Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/14/2011


Mazda didn't pioneer the crossover sport utility vehicle, but with the introduction of the 2011 Mazda CX-7 it certainly made the SUV more fun to drive. With styling inspired by the company's flagship RX-8 sports car and a chassis co-engineered with former partner Ford, the CX-7 is a five-passenger family hauler with the heart and soul of a sports car. Inside the 2011 Mazda CX-7 there is room for five and a spacious cargo hold. The 2011 Mazda CX-7 offers two engines: A 244-horsepower, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine and a non-turbocharged, 161-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine. The turbo engine delivers V6 power with little loss of fuel economy, while the non-turbo engine shaves a few thousand dollars from the purchase price.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you desire a vehicle worthy of driving on winding roads, but you have the responsibility of safely transporting your family, the CX-7 is one crossover SUV that can satisfy both demands.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you require a third-row seat or the ability to tow more than 2,000 pounds, the CX-7 probably won't make the cut.

What's Significant About This Car?

For 2011, Mazda adds a luxury-oriented Touring trim to the i line. The 2011 Mazda CX-7 i Touring costs about the same as the turbocharged 2011 Mazda CX-7 s Touring.

Driving It Driving Impressions

To make the Mazda "zoom-zoom" story work with a sport utility vehicle requires quite a bit of engine and suspension tuning. In the case of the 2011 Mazda CX-7, the goal has been accomplished while delivering a firm, but comfortable ride and adequate fuel economy. When equipped with the 161-horsepower engine, the CX-7's driving experience is still fun, if not fast. It's the 244-horsepower turbocharged engine that makes the CX-7 a blast to drive. The turbo engine delivers 90 percent of its peak toque at very low engine speeds, providing great acceleration from rest and when merging into fast-moving traffic.

Favorite Features

Folding Rear Seats
The 2011 Mazda CX-7's 60/40-split folding rear seats can be lowered via a remote release located at the rear of the cargo hold. The seatbacks fold flat without the need to remove the headrests.

Advanced Keyless Entry and Start System
With the key fob-shaped remote securely in one's pocket or purse, the CX-7's doors can be unlocked simply by approaching the vehicle.

Vehicle Details Interior

Matching the CX-7's sporty exterior is an equally handsome interior, highlighted by high-quality plastics, attractive orange dash lighting and comfortable front bucket seats. Base models feature cloth seats with chrome accents, while higher-end cars come with leather seating surfaces, automatic climate control and an available Bose audio system. Also available is a tiny navigation screen which doubles as the view screen for the rear back-up camera. The navigation screen display is too small and too busy to be effective. Rear-seat headroom and legroom is excellent. When more cargo room is required, an easy-to-reach lever folds the rear-seat backs forward.

Exterior

It takes only one glance to see the 2011 Mazda CX-7 is no ordinary SUV. With its front wheels pushed far forward and covered with RX-8-inspired hood and fender flares, the 2011 Mazda CX-7 looks like it would be happier on a racetrack rather than at soccer practice. A sleek 66-degree windshield angle furthers the CX-7's racy exterior, as do more subtle touches such as a blacked-out lower air intake, chrome door handles and large round dual exhaust tailpipes. Sporty 18- and 19-inch wheels are available.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2011 Mazda CX-7 is offered in five trim levels. The i SV, i Sport, and i Touring models feature a 161-horsepower, four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The s Touring and s Grand Touring are fitted with a 244-horsepower, turbocharged engine connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. Both automatics feature a manual-shift mode. The base i SV model includes power windows, power door locks, 17-inch wheels and cruise control. Base sound system is an AM/FM stereo with single MP3-compatible CD player and auxiliary audio input jack. The s Touring model gains 18-inch wheels, leather seating, a power adjustable driver's seat and a retractable cargo cover. The i Touring model has a Bose audio system, SIRIUS satellite radio, a rear back-up camera and a color Multi-Information Display. The i Grand Touring adds high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, 19-inch wheels, DVD navigation, Smart Key keyless entry and start and the Blind Spot Monitoring system.

Notable Optional Equipment

Most options are bundled into groups. One such is the Touring Technology Package, which adds a Bose Centerpoint Surround Sound System with nine speakers and a six-disc CD/MP3 changer and a color multi-function LCD screen with rear back-up camera. Stand-alone options include fog lamps, six-disc CD/MP3 changer, remote engine start, rear back-up camera and a DVD entertainment system.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Mazda CX-7 offers a choice of two engines. The base i SV, i Sport and i Touring use a 161-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine teamed to a five-speed Sport automatic transmission. The s Touring and s Grand Touring models employ a 244-horsepower, 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine. Though similar in design to the engine used in the MAZDASPEED3, the CX-7 uses a different turbocharger. This permits more power to be produced at a lower rpm and makes the engine act like a much larger naturally-aspirated V6. Assisting the smooth transfer of power from the turbocharged engine is a six-speed automatic transmission that features a manual shift mode for a more spirited driving experience.

2.5-liter in-line 4
161 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
161 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28

2.3-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
244 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 (FWD), 17/21 (AWD)

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the 2011 Mazda CX-7 i SV starts just under $23,000, while the i Sport trim starts closer to $23,500. The turbocharged s Touring model starts around $27,000 with all-wheel drive adding another $1,800 to the bottom line. A fully-loaded s Grand Touring model tops out around $38,000. A look at the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price will show real-world transaction prices paid for the 2011 Mazda CX-7 in your area. The CX-7 is expected to retain a strong resale value and should be on par with the Ford Edge but well below the smaller Honda CR-V.

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