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Mazda CX-7 becoming more frugal

The new engines will hit the CX-7 in November and are already proven after use in the Mazda6 family car.

Two new engines are on the way from Japan and both promise better economy and efficiency, as well as a starting price a couple of steps below the current base price of $41,965.

The CX-7 will dip into the $30,000 range with the arrival of a fresh 2.5-litre petrol engine, with a turbodiesel to really temp buyers who were put off by the poor economy of the current 2.3-litre turbo engine.

"When we introduced the CX-7 we were looking for some white space, which we found. But it's obvious that consumer trends are moving more towards more fuel efficiency, and perhaps less power," admits the managing director of Mazda Australia, Doug Dickson.

"We believe the new engines will do the job. We believe there is room for the 2.5 and part of our strategy is to introduce diesel to the Australian market. We've done that already with Mazda3 and Mazda6 and it's working for us."

The new engines will hit the CX-7 in November and are already proven after use in the Mazda6 family car. The 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine makes 120 kiloWatts and 205 Newton-metres of torque, with Mazda claiming fuel economy of 9.4L/100km with a five-sped Activematic gearbox. The 2.2-litre turbodiesel, with a six-speed manual, makes 127kW and 400Nm and is good for economy of just 7.6L/100km.

The updated CX-7 will be easy to pick, as there is a cosmetic upgrade that includes the giant 'smiley face' grille already seen on the new Mazda3 and updated MX-5. Other tweaks will be included in the package, although Dickson says it is too early to go into detail.

He also refuses to discuss specifics on pricing. "If we look at the SUV market, CX-7 was always positioned at the top end. It was popular among some, but not everybody," Dickson says.

"Pricing is still to be with decided, but we're looking to be competitive. If you look at the market for Japanese rivals it goes from the low $30,000s to the high $30,000s. Our plan will be to be in there somewhere with the 2.5, and competitive."

The new engines have the potential to easily double CX-7 sales in Australia, although Dickson is not sure about the diesel. "We wouldn't be doing it if we didn't think there will be incremental business. But the extent is difficult to determine, and one of our issues is getting supply. Sometimes we get caught out by demand," he says.

"It's early days with diesel but we have to get it out there. One of the issues with these things is that it's difficult to promote individual series, and a model within a particular series."

Further into the future Dickson says Mazda is considering — as Nissan has done with its baby Dualis hatch — a front-drive CX-7 to give an even sharper price. "That's one we're considering," he says.

But he rules out any chance of the CX-7 engine upgrade making it to the larger CX-9. "No, there is no diesel in the CX-9 at all. CX-9 is primarily for the US market, so whatever they do in terms of product development we can tap into, but there is almost no demand for diesel and the current engine is going well."


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