2010 Mazda CX-7 Review – the "Easy" Button of the Crossover World

Expert Reviews Mazda

2010 Mazda CX-7

Engine/Drivetrain Performance
I figured Mazda placed a 161 hp4-cylinder engine in the car to provide good fuel economy.  But I only managed 18.5 MPG in the city.  I suppose that’s better than most V6 powered SUVs, but I was expecting better fuel economy out of this engine.

The transmission and the car’s computer are made well aware that there’s only a measly 4-banger powering this 3,600 pound urban cruiser.  Knowing this, the electronics are tuned to downshift at will to get into the powerband.  Under normal around-town driving, I never felt like the car was underpowered due to the tranny’s willingness to downshift  in order to give me peak torque, but I sure noticed the poor gas-mileage as a result.  No Sports-car DNA found in the powertrain, that’s for sure.

Built quality seems very solid.  Interior panels matched up nicely and are put together well. There were a few poor material choices in critical areas – namely the steering wheel and door arm-rests which were made out of a very plastic/vinyl -feeling material that Mazda calls leather.  The worst-feeling surface by far was the center armrest – it was straight-up leather-grained rubber. Nasty!

One silly annoyance – this car has the worst coat hooks I have ever used.  Laundry hangers fall off the hooks no matter how slowly you turn a corner or even if you look at them sideways in the rear-view mirror. They were completely useless.

One clear advantage of a small car in a big-car body is the safety quotient.  The CX-7 received five-star government NHTSA safety ratings for frontal and side crashes and four stars for rollover safely. Airbags are numerous with the advanced dual front airbags, front side airbags, front and rear side air curtains, and air curtains that inflate in the event of a rollover. Standard equipment electronic nannies include Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control System (TCS).

2010 Mazda CX-7

The Mazda CX-7 i Sport starts at $22,340. Add fog lights, satellite radio, scuff plates, and the Convenience package (Heated seats, sunroof, power driver’s seat, Back-up camera, and auto climate control), it came in at $25,990.  Don’t let the “Sport” model descriptor fool you. All it means is that you get privacy-tint rear glass, pleather-wrapped steering wheel, and Bluetooth hands-free.

The CX-7 i Sport is a very pleasant car and all.  It’s reasonably priced and it gets decent gas mileage for its size.  But there’s just nothing here to get excited about.

Who should buy it?
This car would be fine for a soccer mom (or soccer dad) with priorities placed on safe transport, styling, and cargo capacity.  It would be good for someone who just wants a car to facilitate life; not the other way around.

Anyone challenged with mobility will appreciate the heavily power-assisted everything, but then they might have trouble getting into and out of the CX-7

2010 Mazda CX-7

Mazda earns a participation ribbon with their ‘me-too’ base CX-7 compact crossover offering. Nothing makes this crossover more appealing nor does it stand out more than the other 20 crossovers out there. There are no clear differentiators here. Without the forced induction and with skinny, high-profile tires, there’s just nothing sporty about it. The CX-7 would definitely not make my short-list “most desired” crossovers – if I was in the crossover market. But everyone has different requirements. If you are head-over heels for the styling and can’t afford the Turbo AWD version, then give the iSport model a look. If you are looking for zoom-zoom, penny up for the touring models or look elsewhere.

RATING 4.0 3.5 2.0 3.5 4.5 2.5 3.4/C

2010 Mazda CX-7 Photo Gallery

2010 Mazda CX-7 Specs

2010 Mazda CX-7 Specs

Mazda MotorsOfficial website for Mazda cars, trucks, and SUVs – www.mazdausa.com

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  • Debra says:

    I recently test drove a CX-7 Sport. I experienced the same strong, burning smell mentioned in earlier posts. The salesman told me the smell is the coating on the brakes and will go away once the coating burns off. After reading some of the posts above, I’m not so sure the salesman was being honest with me…..just how long does it take to burn off?????

  • Mazda Cx7 says:

    I see what your saying about the Mazda Cx7 having big blindspots, but Mazda more than compensates for that. Some of their new technology for detecting if a car is in your blindspot is really amazing. Plus, if that fails, you could always just turn your head a look back to see if anyone’s there.

  • Mike says:

    I also have 2010 CX-7 2.3 DISI Turbo and I was so angry when I got it from the dealer and I could feel a strong burning smell like oil/rubber/circuit mix! It has just 100km on it and i think the smell is less and less noticeable. I hope it will go away entirely with next 100km. Dealer said I was the first to report such problem.

  • Stan says:

    I have a 2010 CX-7,, I agree with James. The Road-Noise is way to loud. There are some points when I’ve actually had to check to see if there is an Eighteen Wheeler beside me. I also have the odor issue when running the A/C in recirculation mode, it’s almost like a burnt rubber smell. I smell it on my cloths when I get out. I had the dealer check this when I went for my first oil change. They couldn’t smell it.

  • James Worthington says:

    Road-Noise is really too high. It gets worst when you turn the stereo on and realize that that noise is still there. It’s a very bad feeling, and I had to take my other cars and drive them on the same high-way/same speed to confirm it. The tires are Bridgestone, made in Japan, and yes, I wonder if a different style/brand would make a difference. Overall, the car is fantastic for the price, though I’m returning it to the dealer, because I can’t stand that noise.

  • David CY Xiao says:

    I am interested in CX-7 and also did a test drive. Very good feeling of it. However, while I was doing the test drive, a strong smell of circuit burning burning came out. after stop by gas station to pump gas, the sales consultant told me that first drive of new car always gives this kind of burning smell. Is it true? I worry about the potential safety bug.

    • Derek says:

      Coming from a salesperson, the explanation sounds bogus to me. Any smell of something burnt is not a good thing. Sometimes oil is accidentally spilled on hot parts of the engine or exhaust, and that will burn away without any problems.

      I don’t think the smell you detected is indicative of any real problems with the CX-7 in general, but I would have the problem thoroughly inspected on the specific car you test drove. Or just pick another CX-7 from their inventory.

  • Mike M says:

    I also disagree with most of this review–although I own the 2010 CX-7 Touring model, which has the turbo engine and AWD–so maybe there is a big difference between mine and the i Sport. Mine is a blast to drive. I’ve received many comments from friends on the styling as well. I was looking for a better, bigger but not gigantic vehicle to haul around my kid and I had to trade in an Audi A3 to do it, begrudgingly, so I was pretty picky and did a lot of research. For it’s class, compared to the Ford Edge or the Honda CRV and others, the CX-7, imo, had more style, more punch and a much more reasonable price tag. I highly recommend this car.

  • John PH says:

    Not sure what this reviewer is talking about. I tested every CUV available and the Mazda stood out like a sore thumb. The others were cheap, boxy and not very memorable. The first time we saw the CX-7 – it was so far above the others in styling and internal quality – that there was no contest.

    I’m not a soccer Mom and have driven very nice sedans in the past. This CUV is certainly one of the nicest vehicles I have driven – especially for the very reasonable price tag.

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