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Mazda CX-7 2007 review

Style rates among the top three reasons why Australians choose certain cars. Some buyers, obviously, place other factors higher. That's why we have the Ssangyong Stavic, surely this decade's ugliest piece of folded metal.

Style matters so much that Subaru last month announced a new nose for its Tribeca SUV, replacing the present schnoz that appears inspired by artist Edvard Munch's The Scream.

The Mazda CX-7 has style. It's as pretty and absorbing as a Constable landscape, following up its beauty with great quality and arresting driver dynamics.

Mechanically based on the Mazda6 MPS, the CX-7 shares that car's turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive layout, but uses different front suspension.

Power isn't an issue, despite the CX-7 having a trimmed output — down 15kW to 175kW and 30Nm to 350Nm, though achieved at fewer revs — compared with its donor. Still more than enough to warm the blood.

Mazda packages its mid-size SUV, which sits above the Tribute but beneath the upcoming CX-9 V6, in a svelte, edgy body with a steeply raked windscreen.

Cabin room is on par with the Mazda6, as is the feature list and quality ambience.

The Luxury model tested is $45,560, though you can get all the pace and style in the $39,910 standard version.

The CX-7 comes only as a six-speed auto, curiously contrary to the manual-only Mazda6 MPS. But it's a good auto, silky on upshifts and with a manual mode for those who want a bit more zoom.

Leather seats, six-disc Bose audio, climate control, a sunroof and other niceties give it all the comfort of a quality sedan with the high seating and broad vision expected in an SUV.

Practicality aside, it's the drivetrain that really shines. Strong torque at low revs, rising through the turbo's 2500rpm-plus boost, delivers an exhilarating ride.

Handling is predictable, primarily because of the constant 4WD system.

All this comes at a cost: the CX-7 drinks like an Aussie at Oktoberfest. On test, it averaged 14.2 litres/100km — similar to the four-litre turbocharged Ford Territory on the same route.

Even high 17s weren't out of the ordinary, according to the onboard computer. That said, the Mazda can go off the bitumen.

The CX-7 has a lot going for it, even though fuel consumption is an issue (slotting in the excellent Mazda6 diesel engine could be a welcome move).

But would I buy one over the Mazda6 diesel station wagon or hatch, given similar cabin space and features? Unlikely.

Maybe I'm not stylish enough.

Pricing guides

Based on 86 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

(4X4) 2.3L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $4,700 – 7,590 2007 Mazda CX-7 2007 (4X4) Pricing and Specs
Classic (4x4) 2.3L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $4,100 – 6,600 2007 Mazda CX-7 2007 Classic (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Luxury (4x4) 2.3L, PULP, 6 SP AUTO $4,600 – 7,480 2007 Mazda CX-7 2007 Luxury (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Neil Dowling
Contributing Journalist


Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on 85 car listings in the last 6 months

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