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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
a potent 244 horsepower
Turbo lag is noticeable
the CX-7 bucks and bobs its way to 60
Car and Driver
Available in front- or all-wheel drive, the 2009 Mazda CX-7 is one of three crossovers in the Mazda 2009 lineup. While it provides fairly good performance, the CX-7's weight and shape limit its potential, reflected in its acceleration, fuel efficiency, and utility.
ConsumerGuide tests a 2009 Mazda CX-7 AWD Grand Touring and "[it] did 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds." The 2009 Mazda "comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder only...good for 244 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque," reports Edmunds; and it puts the CX-7's acceleration "near the top of the class." Turbo lag (the time between pressing the accelerator and the turbo spinning up to fully power the engine) is present in the Mazda; 2009 CX-7s, according to ConsumerGuide, "[exhibit] turbo lag [that] is noticeable away from a stop and during around-town passing maneuvers." They add, though, that the 2009 Mazda is "peppy once rolling." Car and Driver is less impressed: "Left in automatic mode, acceleration is uneven as the power trails off well before an upshift, and the CX-7 bucks and bobs its way to 60 mph a half-second slower." Edmunds tests a CX-7 and notes the 2009 Mazda CX-7s "acceleration is brisk, with a 0-60 time better than just about any rival." They note, however, "some may also find the engine's power delivery to be less smooth than that of a V-6."
Mated to the CX-7's engine is the only available transmission: a six-speed automatic. In reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, various testers experienced issues with the 2009 Mazda CX-7's transmission behavior. Cars.com's reviewer reports, "When cruising, the transmission would pop down out of sixth gear far too soon, even when I didn't want to pass or accelerate." Car and Driver had an opposite problem in that the transmission "was stingy with downshifts" and "upshifted before we thought necessary (to improve fuel economy, no doubt)." ConsumerGuide finds that "manually shifting the transmission partly offsets the lazy throttle response."
"The CX-7 is something of a gas guzzler, particularly on the highway," says Edmunds. According to fueleconomy.gov, the EPA mileage ratings for the front-wheel-drive version of the 2009 Mazda CX-7 are 17 mpg in the city, 23 mpg highway, and 1 mpg lower for the AWD model. In ConsumerGuide testing, "AWD models averaged a disappointing 14.3-14.5 mpg in mostly city driving." There is some bad news for those watching their fuel budget (and these days, who isn't?); according to ConsumerGuide, 2009 Mazda CX-7s "require premium-grade gas."
In normal driving situations, the AWD system routes 100 percent of the engine's power to the front wheels. If there is a loss of traction, up to 50 percent of engine power is automatically and quickly applied to the rear wheels. Mazda 2009 CX-7s are limited to 2,000 pounds of towing capacity. Handling and steering on this 2009 Mazda live up to its sporting pretensions. Edmunds notes that the 2009 CX-7 "lives up to the 'soul of a sports car' hype" as its "steering is nicely weighted," and it "feels very stable in turns and changes direction quickly." While ConsumerGuide thinks that the CX-7 "trades some ride comfort for handling," they describe it as "agile for an SUV of this size and weight." ConsumerGuide remarks that the 2009 CX-7s "standard antiskid control is laudable, though it activated on one test CX-7 even in fairly low-effort cornering," and Edmunds calls it is an "enjoyable drive," even though it "rides a bit firmer than most." ConsumerGuide feels that the CX-7's ride is "firmer than some might prefer" and points out that "sharp bumps can pound through." And "impressive" is how Edmunds characterizes braking performance—"fade-free stops from 60 mph of 113 feet," they report.
The 2009 Mazda CX-7's engine and transmission could use refinement, and you might have to fill up more often, but at speed, it's an enjoyable drive.