One great engine
Loaded with kit
Handsome, quick, agile, different
Where's the diesel?
Rough road ride
Why no 7-seater?
It's fast & heavy
A bit loud
Only 5-seats, thirsty, no diesel
Thanks to beefy metalwork, big 18-inch alloy wheels and swooping lines, the CX-7 is an arresting and handsome car that turns head wherever it goes. The only aspects of the design we find fault with are the lights, which are too small in relation to the size of the car. Otherwise we love it.
Although its 0-100km/h time is 8.0 seconds and top speed is 210km/h (it's limited) the CX-7 feels properly fast out in the real world. It's got a great engine with lots of torque and little lag, superb gearing and a slippery shape. Watch hot hatch drivers rub their eyes in disbelief.
It's quite astonishing how well the CX-7 rides and handles - not even the Mazda6 MPS on which it's based drives as well as this. Grip is huge, steering feedback and weight is top-notch and the controls are perfectly placed and function with disconcerting slickness.
The CX-7's cabin was based around the RX-8's driving position and, indeed, it proves surprisingly sporty (and comfy) to sit behind the wheel. Everything is right where you'd expect it to be and works surprisingly well, with the exception of the one-display-displays-all LED readout.
The CX-7's cabin if higher quality than that of any other Mazda - the piano-black finish, the leather and even the plastics all feel expensive and classy. There is a little wind-noise at speed and the ride is firm, but overall it has a BMW-esque feel to it, shockingly.
The CX-7 offers six airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts, seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters, traction control, ESP (that can't be switched off), Xenon lights and automatic lights and wipers as standard. Expect 5 NCAP stars.
The driving position is spot on, in-dash space is decent (more cupholders, please) and the glovebox is huge. Passenger space is impressive, too, although it's only available as a 5-seater and the boot, though deep, is a bit shallow
At 50 grand, the CX-7 isn't cheap but when you factor in the performance, the equipment, the handling and the looks, it's actually a cracking package. For an SUV of this pace, running costs won't be bad with low tax and reasonable economy when driven gently.
Only one CX-7 model is offered at it comes with six airbags, climate and cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated leather seats with electric adjustment and a Bose sound system. Only Sat Nav, a sunroof, metallic paint and parking sensors are optional.
Only one engine offered in the CX-7, the 2.3-litre turbo-charged 4-cylinder and 6-speed 'box from the Mazda3 MPS and Mazda6 MPS. With a whopping 260hp and 380Nm of torque it simply stomps everything in the small SUV market. It sounds good and is flat-spot free, too.