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).
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
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.
|Official website for Mazda cars, trucks, and SUVs – www.mazdausa.com|
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