2007 to 2012: Mazda CX-7
Mazda released the CX-7 for 2007, situating this SUV between the smaller Tribute and the larger CX-9. It is a one generation model, although the Mazda CX-7 remains in production as it continues to serve overseas markets.
Upon its release, the Mazda CX-7 offered a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine making 244 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting capabilities.
From 2007 to 2009, the Mazda CX-7 was offered in Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels. Beginning in 2010 and as part of a product refresh, Mazda slotted an SV trim beneath the Sport edition.
The automaker also brought in a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 161 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque. That engine is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission and powers SV and Sport editions only; the turbo engine remained in the Touring and Grand Touring editions.
The sinuous Mazda CX-7 offers a sporty presentation with a broad grille composed of narrow upper and oversized lower openings. Sleek wraparound headlights and generously proportioned embrasures showcasing the fog lamps are also present.
The CX-7’s profile flows from bumper to bumper and is marked by deeply arched wheel wells, a beltline that begins to rise after the center pillar, upper character lines and lower body sculpting. A sloping roofline adds to this SUV’s sporty persona. At the rear, this model has a liftgate spoiler, wraparound combination lamps, reflector lights and single or available dual exhaust ports.
Inside, the Mazda CX-7 offers space for five and average room overall. The front bucket seats and split-folding rear bench seat are covered in cloth on lower trims, while leather seating surfaces are included with the Grand Touring edition. Air conditioning, a four-speaker audio system, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control and steering wheel-mounted audio controls are standard equipment.
As part of a modest 2010 refresh, Mazda introduced an updated and easy-to-program touch-screen navigation system option on higher trims. Bluetooth connectivity, however, was available everywhere except in the base model. Heated front seats, a nine-speaker Bose audio system and a power moonroof are other options found on higher-end models. USB and iPod connectivity are present in later Touring and Grand Touring editions only.
Cargo space is ample, measuring a generous 29.9 cubic feet behind the second-row seats and 58.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. Cargo tie downs and a cargo area light are included.
The Mazda CX-7 is larger than most compact SUVs, but also smaller than midsize models. The first-generation Ford Edge shares its platform with the Mazda CX-7.
Nevertheless, Mazda targeted the CX-7 to compete with smaller SUVs even as it also sold the Mazda Tribute. Competing models from that time include the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage, Chevrolet Equinox, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Santa Fe. The Nissan Rogue, which was introduced in 2008, might also be compared. For shoppers desiring a newer model, the Mazda CX-5 should not be overlooked.