2007 CX-7 New Car Test Drive
The 2007 Mazda CX-7 is a totally new crossover utility vehicle. Mazda's CUV offers seating for five people, decent cargo space, a comprehensive set of standard safety features and distinctive looks. We found it fun to drive, with responsive handling and good high-speed stability. Zoom-zoom-zoom.
Crossovers, as they're called, have become the hottest segment in the auto industry. They combine the practicality of a truck-based sport utility vehicle with the agility, smoothness and fuel economy of a car. Just as important, they avoid the stigma that comes with a minivan or station wagon. The CX-7 competes with the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, among others.
The CX-7 fits into Mazda's zoom-zoom mold: sporty but functional; roomy but svelte; snappy but comfortable. It has a surprisingly powerful, fairly frugal, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with a state-of-the-art six-speed automatic transmission motivating a sporty-looking and sporty-handling, five-passenger vehicle that will haul nearly as much stuff as it does people.
The CX-7 starts at less than $24,000 for a front-wheel-drive version. A well-equipped, nicely featured, all-wheel-drive model goes for less than $30,000; and the top model with every option box checked comes in under $35,000. Though a bit pricier than the prime opposition, the CX-7 excels in ride and handling and offers a navigation system.
The 2007 Mazda CX-7 comes in three trim levels, all with the same engine, a 244-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder. The transmission is a six-speed automatic with a Sport shift feature. Front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional ($1700).
The least expensive CX-7 is the Sports model ($23,750). Air conditioning and cloth upholstery are standard, as are cruise control and the usual complement of power windows, mirrors and locks. A six-way, manually adjustable driver's seat is standard, along with a tilt steering wheel hosting cruise and secondary audio controls, four-speaker stereo, satellite radio pre-wiring, 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks and carpeted floor mats. Options for the Sports model are limited to the all-wheel drive and an eight-way, power driver's seat with manual lumbar ($350).
The Touring model ($25,500) features leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel; the eight-way, power driver's seat; heated outside mirrors; and a retractable cargo cover. There are no factory options exclusive to the Touring model.
The Grand Touring model ($26,300) upgrades with automatic climate control, auto-on/off xenon high-intensity discharge headlights, fog lamps, foldable outside mirrors, specially trimmed seats, and electroluminescent gauges with indirect blue lighting and an outside temperature readout.
Optional across the line are three factory-configured packages: The Moonroof/Bose Audio/6CD Changer Package ($1585) includes a tilt-and-slide power moonroof, nine-speaker Bose sound system with vehicle speed-sensitive AudioPilot and a six-CD, in-dash changer; the Technology Package ($4005) comprises the moonroof/Bose/CD changer package plus a DVD-based navigation system with touch-screen LCD and voice command, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry and Start System, rear-view camera and perimeter alarm; and the Preferred Equipment Package ($295) adds a cargo net, cargo tray, rear bumper step plate, retractable cargo cover and wheel locks.
Options include a six-disc CD changer ($500), Sirius Satellite Radio with six month's pre-paid subscription ($430), retractable cargo cover ($125), cargo net ($40), cargo tray ($50), remote engine start ($350), auto-dim inside mirror with compass and programmable garage remote ($250), auto-dim inside mirror with compass ($175), moonroof wind deflector ($50), fog lamps ($250), all-weather floor mats ($60), front and rear mudguards ($95), Class II trailer receiver hitch; wheel locks ($40); and a DVD entertainment system.
Safety features on all models include frontal airbags, front seat-mounted side-impact airbags (to minimize upper body injuries), front and rear side air curtains (to minimize head injuries) with extended inflation (for added protection in the event of a rollover) and a fold-away brake pedal assembly (to reduce threat of injury to the driver's feet in frontal crashes). The CX-7 models come with three-point seatbelts (so be sure to use them) and adjustable head restraints at all outboard seating positions, and rear-seat child safety seat anchors (LATCH). To help drivers avoid accidents, the CX-7 comes standard with four-wheel, antilock disc brakes (to permit steering the car under hard braking) with electronic brake-force distribution (to maximize stopping power in emergencies) and electronic stability control (to correct for driver error in evasive maneuvers) with traction control (to improve traction and stability on slippery surfaces).