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Used Mazda CX-7 review: 2006-2008

Such is its broad appeal that it's hard to peg down the Mazda CX-7, but that's the nature of the new-age so-called 'Crossover' vehicle. For some it would be a stylish family wagon, for others it might be a sporty all-rounder perfect for a weekend on the run. The reality is that it could satisfy many and varied uses for all manner of people. Mazda itself tried to define by saying it was a "sportscar on steroids" when launching it, claiming it would appeal to young parents in the 35-45 age group 'who wanted a car with style, performance and driving fun'.

MODEL WATCH

Although the CX-7 looked much like a traditional four-wheel drive wagon, and boasted all-wheel drive, it was not really likely to be used for anything more than light off-road driving. With limited ground clearance and the massive 18-inch alloys filling its wheel arches the CX-7 it was clearly aimed at city dwellers. But with accommodation for five it wasn't for the large family either, it was clear it wasn't trying to compete with the likes of the Ford Territory, the Holden Captiva or the Toyota Prado, which all offered seating for seven. No, the CX-7 was best suited for smaller families, or those with no kids at all.

The engine was a 2.3-litre turbocharged four-cylinder unit, the same engine that powered the sporty Mazda6 and Mazda3 MPS models, but it was detuned for the CX-7 and put out 175 kW at 5000 revs and 350 Nm at 2500 revs. In the CX-7 it had to lug around a rather large lump of a car weighing almost 1800 kg and that put something of a dampener on the CX-7's performance and fuel economy. A six-speed automatic transmission was standard, and Mazda didn't offer a manual alternative.

Final drive was through all four wheels and split between the front and rear as its active AWD system determined was for safe traction. Mazda offered two models, the base CX-7, replaced by the Classic in 2007, and the Luxury, the latter with a host more standard equipment. All had air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking, a trip computer and an MP3-compatible sound system. In addition the Luxury had automatic climate control air, six-stack CD player, and leather trim instead of the cloth of the base model.

IN THE SHOP

It's early days on the life of the CX-7, but so far owners are giving the big Mazda a clan bill, of health in terms of reliability. Carsguide has received very few complaints from owners, those that have been received are of a minor nature and mostly concerned with higher than expected fuel consumption. Despite the good field report make the usual checks to confirm regular servicing and look for signs of offroad use. Few are likely to have been driven offroad, other than down a gravel road, but it's worth making sure.

IN A CRASH

ANCAP awarded the CX-7 its highest rating of five stars, which was not surprising given it had front, side and curtain airbags, antilock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, emergency brake assistance, traction control and electronic stability control.

AT THE PUMP

The weight of the CX-7 makes it difficult to get decent fuel economy out of it, and not surprising that's the most common complaint of owners. Mazda claimed an average of 11.5 L/100 km, but the real life reality is 14-15 L/100 km. Adding to the cost brought on by the high consumption is the requirement to use Premium unleaded fuel.

OWNERS SAY

Tony Gigliotti bought a CX-7 Classic in 2007 and has done 28,000kms in it since. He says the styling is well ahead of anything else of its type, and rates the ride and handling as excellent. He also likes the visibility afforded by the high ride height, the split rear seats, cup holders and the privacy blind over the cargo area, and reckons the retained value is high compared to others in the class. He's not so enamored with its fuel consumption, the 'cheap' plastics inside, the lack of rear cooling vents, and the blind spots in the rear quarter.

The Gianakopoulos family uses its 2008 CX-7 Luxury mainly as family transport for two young children as well as the usual shopping trips. They have racked up 15,000 km in the time that they have owned the car and report that they have not had a problem with it. It seems well built, it's comfortable to ride in, and is a pleasure to drive, and they are happy with it overall. Their only complaint is its fuel use, which has been 16.7 L/100 km on average.

David Devlin's CX-7 has done 30,000 km and the 66-year-old says it's a great car, one of the best he's owned in the last 45 years. He likes the power seats, rear camera and large storage areas, but dislikes the high fuel consumption.

LOOK FOR

  • Sporty looks
  • Room for five plus luggage
  • Good ride and handling
  • Slurps fuel
  • Well built.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Looks good, drives well, but has a thirst for fuel.

RATING: 75/100

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2008 $5,000 $8,910
2007 $4,100 $7,590
2006 $3,900 $6,490

View all Mazda CX-7 pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$8,999
Based on 86 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$4,450
Highest Price
$12,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(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
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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