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Mazda CX-7, 2007: The Weekly Driver Car Review

Mazda CX-7, 2007: The Weekly Driver Car Review 1Beyond its omnipresent “Zoom-Zoom” television commercial jingle, Mazda has a new motto: “The SUV you never saw coming.” It’s a trademarked slogan, but it just didn’t fit with my weekly driver, a 2007 Mazda CX-7.

The crossover,  “a car-type, four-door wagon, midsize SUV,” as categorized in some publications, is available in six configurations. I drove the Grand Touring four-door with all-wheel drive. It’s the most expensive model, with a base retail price of $28,000.

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(I mention the amount here because it’s rare when a vehicle has a “straight-up” price as opposed to a base price of $27,995 or $27,999.)

I’m not certain what Mazda has in mind with its new slogan. Everywhere I drove the CX-7, I heard the same comment: “I’m not sure about the color.”

Officially called Electric Blue,” the exterior paint color could have easily been called “Bright Blue” or “Flash Blue.” It’s a fine color for an emergency vehicle or for use as a promotional tool. But the color just isn’t pleasing for a passenger car.

Color aside, the “Zoom-Zoom” or as Mazda likes to call it “the emotion of motion,” is also promoted as the “the exhilarating, connected-to-the-road feeling every driving enthusiast loves.” It’s a bold assumption that drivers “feel it,” while behind the wheel of the manufacturer’s cars.

Mazda CX-7, 2007: The Weekly Driver Car Review 2

But with the CX-7, the driving experience is pleasant and peppy. The CX-7 features a 2.3-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder turbocharged engine with 244 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift gate.

As an SUV disguised as a wagon, the CX-7 is among the more sporty vehicles in its class. It accelerates well, has quick and responsive steering and maneuvers around town and in freeway conditions adeptly for a vehicle classified as a midsize SUV.

Despite its loud exterior color, the interior design, color, instrumentation and gauges are attractive and functional. One standout feature is the navigation system. Unlike other manufacturers’ difficult-to-operate-and-see parameters, the Mazda’s large screen features easy-to-use dials and the rearview camera projects a clear image.

Overall, the vehicle’s front and rear seating configuration and the design of the seats and cargo area should be considered by competitors. There’s ample leg and head room, plenty of well-placed cup holders and storage areas and the rear cargo opening is spacious and practical.

Mazda CX-7, 2007: The Weekly Driver Car Review 3

The CX-7 standard sport model features a strong equipment selection — tachometer to digital clock to rear privacy glass to tilt steering wheel. The Touring model adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, eight-way power driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a cargo cover.

And the Grand Touring model features automatic climate control, heated power mirrors, outside temperature indicator, automatic headlights, xenon headlights and foglights.

Combined, it’s a plentiful array of features. But here’s the catch:

With a base price of less than $30,000, the Mazda CX-7 is attractively priced in the midsize SUV category.  But some of the car’s best equipment — Bose audio system, DVD/navigation system, review camera, six-disc CD changer, keyless entry and start system and power moonroof — are part of the Technology Package. It’s a $4,005 option. The features are all worthwhile, but the extra expenditure provides a hefty pause for consideration.

Dispatch the bright blue or any other in-your-face exterior paint choice, and the Mazda CX-7 warrrnts a longer look.

The Weekly Driver: 2007 Mazda CX-7

Safety Features – Dual front, rear side curtain airbags (rollover deployment.)

Fuel Mileage (estimates) – 18 mpg (city), 24 mpg (highway).

Warranty – Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/unlimited miles; (24-hour) roadside assistance program, 4 years/50,000 miles.

Base Price – $28,000.00

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