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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
“Turbocharged CX-7s are peppy once rolling”
“Mazda’s MZR four-cylinder, which does duty in the 2010 Mazda3 s…has been added”
“Steering that delivers better-than-average road feel”
Car and Driver
The Mazda CX-7 family has grown significantly this year with the introduction of the CX-7’s first-ever naturally aspirated model. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that this model sacrifices some of Mazda’s signature “zoom-zoom” for a lower base price and increased fuel economy.
The 2010 Mazda CX-7 lineup now features two available engines, which Cars.com lists as a base “161-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 161 pounds-feet of torque” and an available “244-hp, 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four with 258 pounds-feet of torque.” The turbocharged model, which carries over from last year, is “peppy once rolling,” according to ConsumerGuide. Unfortunately, the CX-7’s turbocharged engine suffers from “noticeable” turbo lag, according to ConsumerGuide. The naturally aspirated engine on the CX-7’s new base trims is “Mazda’s MZR four-cylinder, which does duty in the 2010 Mazda3 s and the 2009 Mazda6 I,” according to Left Lane News. The engine is significantly more efficient than the turbo, but Car and Driver warns that “if you’re expecting haste, this is not the right setup,” and the 2.5-liter engine offers just “leisurely acceleration.”
The CX-7’s two available engines mate up with one of two available transmissions, which Cars.com lists as a “standard five-speed automatic” on the base model and standard “six-speed auto with [the] turbo engine.” The automatics aren’t particularly noteworthy, although the six-speed does offer a manual-shift feature. ConsumerGuide reviewers find this feature especially useful in overcoming the 2.3-liter’s turbo lag, noting that “manually shifting the automatic transmission partly offsets the lazy throttle response.” The 2010 Mazda CX-7 is also available with either all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive, although Car and Driver points out that “all-wheel drive is available only on the turbo models.”
The 2010 Mazda CX-7 lineup is now quite a bit more efficient than the outgoing set of models, thanks to the addition of the lower-output engine on the base models. According to the official EPA estimates, the 2.5-liter engine should return 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, while the front-wheel-drive turbo gets 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. If you opt for all-wheel drive, fuel efficiency drops to 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Overall, ConsumerGuide says that the EPA numbers for the turbo are “disappointing, especially for a 4-cylinder SUV.”
With a revised suspension setup and chassis, the 2010 Mazda CX-7 is now more capable on the road than ever. ConsumerGuide calls the Mazda CX-7 “agile for an SUV of this size and weight, abetted by fine steering and a well-planted feel.” Car and Driver reviewers are equally impressed, noting that “responses are prompt” and the CX-7 “delivers better-than-average road feel.” Another upgrade for the 2010 Mazda CX-7 is its improved ride quality, and Car and Driver says that “the ride quality is a shade better” on the base models. Edmunds, however, does caution that the CX-7 “rides a bit firmer than most” crossovers, although the trade-off is the CX-7’s impressive agility. The 2010 Mazda CX-7 also sports an impressive braking system, and Edmunds reviewers record “fade-free stops from 60 mph of 113 feet.”
A naturally aspirated engine option makes the 2010 Mazda CX-7 a fuel-efficient, yet still sporty, competitor in the crossover class.