2010 Mazda CX-7 Grand Touring AWD: fun, sporty, economical crossover

April 26, 2010
The Mazda CX-7 is a sporty five-passenger vehicle that will haul nearly as much stuff as it does people. The CX-7 has decent cargo space, a comprehensive set of safety features and distinctive looks. It is designed to compete in the Crossover market with the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4.  

Crossovers continue to be the hottest segment in the auto industry. They combine a high seating position and cargo capacity of a truck-based utility vehicle with the agility, smoothness and fuel economy of a car, and they don’t have the negative image of a minivan or station wagon.

The 2010 Mazda CX-7 is a roomy, comfortable vehicle that will haul a large amount of cargo. It comes with a powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a six-speed automatic transmission.  It is fun to drive, has responsive handling in mountain driving situations and is stable at high-speeds on the interstate. The CX-7 is pricier than its main competition, but excels in ride and handling.

Mazda CX-7 Grand Touring ($32,885) upgrades with automatic climate control, unique trim for the leather seats and steering wheel, electroluminescent gauges with indirect blue lighting, auto-dimming inside mirror with a universal garage-door opener, and an outside temperature readout. Also standard are fog lamps, automatic xenon high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, high-gloss painted wheels, and chrome door handles. New for 2009 were heated outside mirrors with side marker lights.

Since 2009, all models are now MP3-capable, and come with an auxiliary audio input jack. For 2010 Mazda has improved the CX-7 interior to give it a more upscale look and feel. The CX-7’s instrument panel now comes with thin, bright trim rings around the vents, along with slightly retouched dash contours, a reconfigured center console, new upholstery, a new dash surface that’s less likely to gather dust, and a new steering-wheel design with a wider range of buttons for the sound system and Bluetooth.

Mazda has also done some re-engineering for 2010 on the 2.3-liter turbo four cylinder engine. They’ve improved combustion in the high-performance engine to improve fuel economy by a significant two miles per gallon on the highway—to 17 mpg city, 23 highway with All-wheel-drive and they’ve added a thick layer of hood padding along with strut-tower insulation to help quiet engine noise and road harshness.

In addition, the 2010 CX-7 gets improved insulation—most notably in the lower door area—to reduce cabin noise and lend a more refined feel. Power from the turbocharged four-cylinder engine builds smoothly, with impressive torque at low engine speeds. The CX-7 develops more torque at significantly lower engine speed (258 pound-feet at 2500 rpm) than the Toyota RAV4 V6 (246 pound-feet at 4700 rpm) or Honda CR-V (161 pound-feet at 4200 rpm). That’s important because it's torque, not horsepower, that propels you from intersections and up steep hills. More torque sooner is always better for high altitude driving, and the turbo gives more power in thin mountain air.

The 2010 Mazda CX-7 Grand Touring AWD is a fun crossover utility vehicle. It may not have the roominess of a large SUV, but not everybody needs or wants room for seven passengers. What is does have is the sporty Mazda look and the sporty handling characteristics to handle any road. The CX-7 has a remarkably powerful engine and an equally accommodating transmission, and it's available with all-wheel drive making it a competent all-weather vehicle.

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