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Mazda CX-7 diesel manual review

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    The Mazda CX-7 has been revamped and the highlight of the upgrade is the addition of the 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine to the specs sheet. Photo Gallery

Stuart Martin road tests and reviews the Mazda CX-7 diesel manual and says more people should consider it.

I don't often lament the presence of a clutch pedal and I'm not about to now. But it seems such a shame that so few people will get to experience this particular diesel, just because they won't swap their own cogs.


The Mazda CX-7 has been revamped and the highlight of the upgrade is the addition of the 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine to the specs sheet.

The diesel packs a 400Nm wallop in this and the Mazda6, but the CX-7 gets the AdBlue emissions system that cuts nitrogen oxide (NOX) - something to assuage the guilt perhaps, but that and the single-digit fuel consumption that can regularly appear on the trip computer might help as well.

The diesel claims a fuel economy figure of 7.6 litres/100km and CO2 emissions of 202g/km, with the AdBlue system cutting NOX emissions using a urea-based natural chemical reaction within the exhaust system.


It's a comfortable cabin that has all its features falling easily to hand, Mazda says they've used improved-quality plastics, more sound deadening and given it more to combat vibration and it feels like its all been done to good effect.

The dashboard and instrumentation has thankfully followed the path of the Mazda3, with the dashboard-mounted multi-information display to control sat-nav (when fitted), the Bluetooth phone link, the sound system, the reversing camera and the trip computer.

Fit-out and equipment

The standard features list includes stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assist, dual front, front-side and full-length curtain airbags, the multi-information display, a reversing camera and a trip computer.

There also is climate control, a 6-disc in-dash MP3-compatible CD sound system, an auxiliary jack for an MP3 player, cruise control, a leather-wrapped gearshift and steering wheel, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking, reach'n'rake adjustable steering and variable intermittent wipers and 17in alloys.

The added features on the diesel include sat-nav, powered and heated front seats, heated front exterior mirrors, leather trim and the up-spec Bose nine-speaker sound system.


Anyone looking to hit anything other than A-grade dirt roads should be looking elsewhere - with 170mm of clearance this is not an offroader, it's an SUV that is definitely a sealed-surface machine, a good one at that.  Its ride is not uncomfortable in day-to-day traffic, but this is where the lack of an auto hits home.

Given the close proximity in fuel pricing at the moment, the solid shove of the diesel powerplant is attractive given the turbo petrol's thirst, although the servicing will make up for some of that - let's hope Mazda has a good automatic on the way to complete the package.

The six-speed manual is a nice-enough transmission to use, although the clutch is a little snappy, making it less at home in the traffic and better when slinging it around on a country road.

That's where this machine is more at home, whisking its passengers quietly along a country road, gently sipping on the tank as its makes good use of its torque.  Pointing into corners has little of the body roll and vagueness normally associated with the SUV segment.

It still has its limits, it is a tall-bodied machine after all, but the enthusiasm for corners is well beyond the norm for a segment that still has plenty of trucks in it.

MAZDA CX-7 Diesel Sports

Price: from $43,640.
Engines: 2.2-litre in-line 16-valve DOHC four-cylinder intercooled turbodiesel.
Power: 127kW @ 3500rpm.
Torque: 400Nm @ 2000rpm.
Transmission: six-speed manual, all-wheel drive.
Brakes: Four-wheel ventilated discs, with anti-lock and stability control systems.
Suspension: MacPherson strut (front); multi-link (rear).
Fuel consumption/capacity: 7.6 litres/100km; tank 69 litresEmissions: 202-273g/km
Dimensions: Length 4693mm, width 1872mm, height 1645mm, track fr/rr 1627/1622mm, wheelbase 2750mm, boot 400 litres, weight 1928kg.
Wheels: 18in alloys.


Holden Captiva 2.0 SX AWD, from $39,490.
Kia Sorento 2.2, from $39,990.
Subaru Outback 2.0D, from $40,490.
Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 TD, from $37,990.

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 20 comments

  • I drove from Brisbane to Western Vic with an average fuel consumption of 6.9 L per 100km, which not too bad for the turbo diesel. 
    My only disappointment about the car is the paint, it is very thin and has a white undercoat, it scratches very easily and on dark colour car the scratches are very visible. Mazda really need to consider increasing the paint thickness or improving the top clear coat.

    Malcolm of Brisbane Posted on 24 February 2012 2:27pm
  • Just about to purchase a manual diesel CX-7 runout price wish me luck we own 3 manual cars keeps you off the mobile whislt driving to busy slotting gears. What a great thought !

    Chevypatrol Posted on 09 February 2012 12:47am
  • The CX7 Diesel is a great car (as is the Forester Diesel which we also have), the fact that it is a manual is bonus as far as I am concerned. It drives like a car, has great economy and is reasonably stylish…and the Bose sound system is simply awesome. My only complaint and it is significant for me is that whilst the nav can show you the nearest hotel, shopping centre and church, it refuses to show those damn traffic cameras - something that I expected a 40K+ car would do given a $99 Navman can do it. This is a Mazda issue as I confirmed Where is does provide the camera’s positining in the gps data to Mazda - I guess the Navman will have to be used after all which is a huge disappointment and on par with the fob off I got from Mazda Australia when I raised it with them. On the bright side it saves the need to pay the $250 to update the maps hich is also a touch rude. Overall an excellent vehicle, on par with the Diesel Forrester, but it only takes that one little thing to really get under your skin to take soe of the gloss of it…for me that is the need to have a Nav stuck to the glass when there is alreay one built in…just with a huge limitation…

    Glen of Botany Posted on 12 January 2012 3:13pm
  • We bought one and live in the Byron Bay hills.  The car is great for where we live, we do heaps of country k’s on fun windy hilly roads and it just eats up kilometres and hardly uses any diesel.  Very tall gearing though..

    Nick M of Eureka Posted on 17 April 2011 2:09am
  • Bought a new diesel CX7 October 2010. Hate it. Manual gearbox is a shocker. Ratios are terrible, cars got 6 gears, would be much better with 4 properly arranged ratios. 2nd to low, 3rd too tall, 6th near on useless. Gear selection terrible, your hand knocks dash controls when selecting 1st, 3rd, 5th. At 13000 k’s, adblue pump has failed, car went into limp mode, 820k’s to go then no more go till taken (towed) to mazda dealer. No rear air cond vents. No full ipod connectivity without paying another $ 600. Mazda emblem in steering wheel shines multi colours in your eyes when driving. Air vents reflect in windows in line with wing mirrors. Climate control is easily confused and dumb, sometimes goes flat out when not needed, then sometimes doesn’t go hard enough when needed. Phone bluetooth has a mind of its own, connects sometimes, not others. Sat nav is 18mths out of date and Mazda want $ 700 for update (and not yet available anyway). Poor interior plastic quality. Poor exterior paint quality (Aluminium). Test drive plenty of others before you make your choice….

    Michael C Posted on 28 March 2011 8:21pm
  • Hi Shah, I have but my concern is that as soon as you do Mazda will wipe their hands of any issues that may come from having an accident, sqeaks and rattles etc. The lack of sunroof is my biggest and only dissappointment with our CX7. I really hope that the new CX5 has a sunroof or even the sexy glass roof that is on the show car at Geneva. By the way forgot to say due to the 400nm of torque, cruising up and down the freeway the car is sitting on 2000rpm - right on the peak torque. Even with 5 on board at this speed it just cruises up and down the freeway, and towing is very easy with very little strain to the engine.

    Con Verdis of ROZELLE NSW 2039 Posted on 07 March 2011 9:21pm
  • i agree with your comment Con V, i went out to buy CX7 diesel auto and there are no option options of sun roof. i was thinking buying that diesel - maual CX7 have you checked that you can get sunroof installed in that car from external mechanic is it worth doing that?

    Shah of Westmead Posted on 06 March 2011 6:52pm
  • Just read Lisa’s comments, and after nearly 18 months of owning our diesel cx7 all I can say is that this car is sensational!! Love the looks, quality inside and outside, the drive, handling, braking and it really does move grin and of course it is sensational on diesel - we do get 6.0 litres on a cruise. Very interested that Merc have no released their ‘Blue Tec’ version of the ad blue. I have always said that due to this technology our diesel does not display any of the typical diesel traits - no black soot during accelaration. I have been reading about the CX5 and if it lands in OZ with new sky activ diesel, and PLEASE PLEASE a sunroof our CX7 will be parking next to our new CX5 grin

    Con Verdis of ROZELLE NSW 2039 Posted on 04 March 2011 9:19pm
  • I have recently taken delivery of CX7 D/Sport-in the last 3 years I have had a Kia Sorento and a Subaru Exiga and neither of these cars come close to the CX7.It is comfortable,very well appointed,roomy,sits on the road like a glove,quiet and the fuel is excellent. As far as it only being a manual shift—both my previous cars were auto and have had no trouble re-adapting to the manual transmission—- just love my CX7.

    lisa Verney of rockhampton QLD Posted on 28 February 2011 11:52pm
  • Sorry - I just don’t get all these comments about not buying a car unless it has a slushbox. I enjoy DRIVING a car, with an auto you’re just steering.

    I would never consider a car unless it has a manual, or at worst a DCT. Automatic gearboxes are valium for the brain ... zzzzzzzzzzzz

    Rick of Melbourne Posted on 04 February 2011 2:59pm
  • It is a great car in nearly all aspects. It is the first non-commercial vehicle to be brought into Australia using Ad-blue in support of the emission controls. It’s perfectly fine if you have a CX-7 that uses Ad-blue properly, but what Mazda don’t tell you is that there are many 7’s out there that are going through Ad-blue at a ridiculous and expensive rate (and the people at Mazda do not have the desire or skills to resolve a disabling problem)

    Duane Turner of Nowra NSW Posted on 25 January 2011 12:53pm
  • If it had an auto I’d buy one today. Bizarre why you turn a lovely vehicle into one that drives like a light truck. While the ad blue gunk may not cost much the diesel servicing and larger brakes would probably offset the gain in economy. Also, with the 18” wheels, replacement tyres would be up around the $2,000 mark instead of approx $1,200 for 17’s. Looks a great car, just wish it came in an auto!

    Ian Hutchinson of Melbourne Posted on 13 August 2010 11:39am
  • I would consider this if it had an auto. Hyundai have developed a nice 6-speed for their diesel SUV’s. What’s the story Mazda?

    Geoff Posted on 27 May 2010 6:22pm
  • Hi Len, Mazda does not to supply an auto diesel anywhere in the world. In the UK, the CX7 is now only available as a diesel, and in manual. The issue for Mazda is that they do not have an auto box capable of the torque and characteristics of their diesel engines. This will be fixed with the launch of their new ‘sky’ engines in approx 2012. We have just completed our 10k service and we have more than half of the ad blue left. A full tank of ad blue will give 20,000km. The cost to refill every 20,000km is $140.00. With the amount of money that we are saving in diesel $400 - $500 per month the cost of the ad blue pays for itself very quickly. This technology provides you with all of the benefits in driving a diesel without the nasty diesel ‘sooty’ characteritics. Mercedes is using this technology in Europe and have combined it with a hybrid ad blue diesel delivering approx 3 litres per 100km. This technology turns diesel engines into very liveable engines.

    Con Verdis of ROZELLE Posted on 30 April 2010 10:13pm
  • There is no auto for the CX-7 diesel because it’s Mazda Aust. policy not to supply autos for for diesel engines in Australia. If they did I would own a Mazda 6 diesel tomorrow. Also, what is the cost to have the Urea system recharged. I have heard it’s very expensive and occurs very regularly.

    Len of Newcastle Posted on 30 April 2010 3:37am
  • Hi Cecilia, my wife had the same view about our CX7 as she had not driven a manual car for more than 10 years.After more than 6 months of ownership she loves it more than I do. We went to Newcastle over the weekend, and the CX7 diesel is a beautiful car to drive. Excellent fuel consumption on such a drive, very comfortable, very quiet, great ride and handling. Sitting on 110kmh at 2000 rpm you are right on the peak enqine torque, climbing up and down the freeway on cruise control with no strain at all. We had the Ipod cranked up the Bose system is sensational and my wife even turned on her seat warmer. Then off course there is the styling, everyone that sees the CX7 is always impressed and very surprised that it is a Mazda - they all think that it is a Lexus. I have owned many cars and motor bikes over the years, and the CX7 is the best car I have ever owned. Btw, it seems that many other people agree given the sales success that this updated CX7 has enjoyed since it was launched.

    Con Verdis of ROZELLE Posted on 26 April 2010 9:20pm
  • I don’t understand why Mazda are not including auto for their cx7 diesel, we will definitely buy it instead of my X trail :(

    Cecilia Chandra of Victoria Posted on 24 April 2010 4:46pm
  • Hi Janne, clearly you do not. Perhaps you should ask a diesel mechanic to explain it to you.

    Con Verdis of Rozelle Posted on 01 April 2010 5:38pm
  • What do you mean torque on the freeway? Do you know what torque actually is?

    janne kruse of aus Posted on 30 March 2010 8:52pm
  • We have owned our CX7 diesel for over 3 months,my 1st ever diesel and we love it. Heaps of power, 400nm of torque is awesome on the freeway. We towed last weekend for the 1st time and it was effortless, no strain on the drivetrain. The fuel economy is excellent for such a large car, overall average on crappy Sydney traffic 6.5 - 7 liters per 100kms. On a trip crusing at 100 - 110kms it does drop down to 5 - 5.5 liters per 100 km. Love the handling, the ride, it rides quieter than most Mazdas (apart from when you are driving on coarse roads then there is coarse road noise) the nice solid feeling of the car, the ‘clunk’ when you close the doors, quality of the paint, the leather,the bose sound system, bluetooth, reveresing camera, gps,trip computer,interior plastics - apart from the glove box lid, very hard plastic that marks easlily. My dissappoinments? - no sunroof not even avaialable as an option, drives me crazy, and if an auto option was available we would of considered it. I am sure that not having an auto avaiable is costing Mazda many, many sales which is a great shame, this is a great car!!

    Con Verdis of ROZELLE Posted on 30 January 2010 8:25pm
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