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2009 Mazda CX-7 Grand Touring All Wheel Drive V6

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The Good :)   Futuristic Styling, attractive and roomy interior, strong 4-cylinder engine, low price for high quality.  

The Bad :(  Navigation system not bright enough during daytime.  Body leans a bit too much. 

Engine 4Cyl 2.3 Liter

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Output 244 hp / 258 lb-ft
Top Speed 130 mph
0-60 mph 8.9 sec (est.)
Weight 3,929 lbs
Price As Tested $34,175

 

The Mazda CX-7 blends sports car performance and design with SUV like utility and passenger room.  It is perhaps the best attempt by a manufacturer at bringing these two extremes together that we have seen to date.  We say this in terms of design of course, you can’t compare it to the raw power and handling performance of a Porsche Cayenne S, but the Cayenne still looks like a large truck.  The Mazda CX-7 has the profile of a sports car, just slightly higher off the ground.  It’s a beautiful example of how managers shouldn’t get in the way of designers.  A quick glance at Mazda’s entire vehicle lineup shows how strong their designers have a say in the end product.  All of their cars, except for the Tribute which is really a Ford Escape, are futuristic and inspiring.  Mazda also managed to get the pricing right so we all can enjoy a bold and aggressive, yet comfortable, crossover without having to take out a home equity line of credit.

The Mazda CX-7 is sleek and modern in its exterior design, aptly named “advanced frontier” by designer Iwao Koizumi.  The smooth design gives the vehicle a futuristic look and retains a powerful feeling that is sometimes lost in bold forward thinking designs.  The front end is small with large fenders smoothly flowing from the nose.  A large grille gives the CX-7 a powerful look.  Clear headlamps house the Xenon projector beams while the fog lamps are nicely built into the lower bumper with a chrome accent bar.  The smooth front end carries nicely to the side profile.  The large fenders convey a muscular feeling which is carried to the rear end that has a slightly higher body line.  Panels are large and smooth with sleek windows conveying the overall appearance of a sporty vehicle.  

Large wheels with thick tires makes the CX-7 feel bigger than it is.  The attractive 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels have a nicely painted finish and a great overall design.  They are wrapped in large P235/60 R18 all-season tires.  Brake calipers in silver add to the attention to detail.  Chrome touches around the windows and on the door handles look great.  At the rear the CX-7 looks even more futuristic.  Large wrap around tail lamps look great and their frosted blinkers are something new not found in any other vehicle.  The rounded rear end, from the roof to the bottom of the bumper shows a clear advanced design theme.  Dual exhaust tips in chrome and an under plate makes the vehicle look much more sporty.  Aerodynamically, the CX-7 achieves best in class performance at 0.34 Cd.  Overall the design is wonderful and inspiring.  

“CX-7 is a vehicle built for the driving enthusiast who had to grow up.  It features performance worthy of a sports car, but also offers room and space for five,” said Program Manager Shunsuke Kawasaki. “The four-cylinder CX-7 offers more horsepower and torque than most of its V6-equipped competitors, at nearly the same fuel efficiency and at a much lower price tag.”

CX-7 is offered in three trim levels.  Some of the highlights of the standard features on the base Sport model are manual air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, retractable key, cruise control, MP3 capability, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and six air bags.  Also standard on all CX-7s is an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and a Traction Control System (TCS).

The Touring edition adds leather trim (seats, steering wheel, shift knob), power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and a retractable cargo cover.  In top-line Grand Touring trim, CX-7 is equipped with features such as leather with a black sport seat stripe, high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, fog lamps, body-color mirrors, chrome door handles, automatic interior climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink and side turn signals integrated into the exterior mirror housing.
    
The interior of the CX-7 is modern and sporty.  A three cluster instrument cluster and the navigation console push out of the dash with a bi-level design.  This is very elegant and clearly a step ahead of the competition.  Use of silver painted plastic parts is abundant with leather seating surfaces and leather look paneling.   Most paneling is a textured leather like plastic which is soft to the touch.  Ergonomics are good with grab handles for the front passenger however rear seated passengers lack a tall grab handle on the door.

The classic Mazda air vents dominate the front dash, and we like their look when they are closed however when they are open it does look like large holes in the dash.  The drivers door features automatic up and down front windows while the rear must be held down to open and close them.  The steering wheel is on the thin side but is leather wrapped and offers controls for stereo, phone, and cruise control as well as a button to control the voice operation of the navigation system.  The instrument cluster is clean and simple with a bright red display during the day and blue backlighting at night.  Though it lacks the crispness and brightness of German instrument clusters, it is better than most US branded vehicles.

The center stack holds the widescreen navigation system which is a DVD operated system.  The touch screen is easy to use and simple with easy destination inputs.  The only problem we had was that the screen was very dull and could not be seen clearly during the day.  Also with the angle of the screen, during the day a lot of ambient light reflects off the screen making it harder to view.  Someone should have sat in the vehicle and tested this system before approving it.  Along with the audio display shown here there is a small display on top of the dash showing time, station and ventilation settings as well as outside temperature.  This is a classic design found on most Mazda vehicles now.  

The optional Bose sound system found in our test vehicle provided great bass and was quite good.  However we did not think it was the best we have heard, even from Bose.  It includes nine speakers, 240 watts of power and a Centerpoint surround sound system that offers five channel digital sound.  The stereo system holds 6-discs as well which are loaded by opening the screen.  An auxiliary audio input jack is located in the center armrest making easy connections to a iPod very quick and hassle free.  A large glovebox can hold it all and a equally impressive center armrest can easily hold a laptop.  

The front driver’s seat is comfortable and easy to get in and out of.  The drivers seat is 8-way power adjustable for recline, lift and tilt with a manual lumbar support.  However the front passenger seat was manually operated, something very strange considering the CX-7 seems to have everything else standard.  Both front seats were heated which was nice to have during the cold winter days.  The passenger seat has no height adjustment and is set a bit too high for our tastes.  Both seats could also use deeper bottom cushions for a more relaxed ride.  

A sunroof is optional and has one touch controls for opening and tilting.  However both buttons are similar and thus it is not as intuitive to use as a dial found in most German makes.  The sunroof is also of the old variety and is not as smooth and insulated as those found in comparable vehicles.

The climate control is easy to operate with automatic temperature control and two large dials which sound and feel great when turning.  The dials are similar to those found in a Audi in their feel and though they are not made of metal, they do offer the same feeling.  

A convenient card key allows you to open doors by touching a small button on the front door handle and start the car by just turning the ignition button located where a regular key would be located.  Although a start/stop button would look cooler, this works well also.  You can also open the front windows and the sunroof using this keycard.  

The rear seats are soft and flat offering little bolstering for those seeking a sports car.  The rear door panels are also bland and not designed with differing materials.  Perhaps in the lighter interior color the vehicle will look much better.  The rear armrest has cup holders built into the armrest which protrude and are stiff, therefore the armrest never feels great.  The ergonomics of the seat are also not perfect with no support for your legs, being too low and not angled enough.  What is great is the easy folding of the 60/40 spring loaded seats.  They fold down without any adjustments and fold back up easily.  The 70 inch long cargo floor is longer than most other competitors.   A reversible cargo storage panel in the rear gives you room for things that may get wet.  The trunk is nicely sized as well.

A 2.3 liter turbocharged 16-valve 4-cylinder inline engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission and manual shifting capability provided a peppy drive.  A active torque split all-wheel drive system provides more feel and a sportier ride behind the wheel.  The Direct Injection Spark Ignition (DISI) turbocharged engine produces 244 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 258 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 rpm.  Redline is reached at 6700 RPM.  
    
The engine is smooth, with power coming on very quickly.  Gear shifts are somewhat delayed when shifting manually which cuts down on the CX-7’s sporty character.  Acceleration is similar to that of a six cylinder engine however here you get better fuel economy.  The CX-7 meets california LEV II emission standards.  

The active torque split all-wheel drive uses a computer controlled coupling integrated with the rear differential to deliver up to half the available torque to the rear wheels on demand.  Handling and power is sent to the wheels that need it most working with the stability control system and the ABS system.  Suspension consists of an independent MacPherson strut type coil spring and stabilizer bar up front and an independent multi-link type coil spring with stabilizer bar in rear.  The steering system is a powered rack-and-pinion with variable hydraulic power assist which is relative to the engine-rpm.  The CX-7 comes with some impressive braking power thanks to the 11.65 inch dual piston ventilated disc up front and 11.9 inch single piston ventilated disc in rear.  There is also every imaginable braking technology incorporated from a 4-wheel, 4-sensor, 4-channel electronic brake force distribution and brake assist to the power assisted anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution.  

Overall the Mazda CX7 is a comfortable and easy to drive vehicle.  The vehicle is quiet and smooth, although for those seeking a sporty vehicle, the delay felt when shifting manually needs to be fixed.  Road feel is good and the steering is accurate as well.  The all-wheel drive is silent and it feels more like a rear wheel drive car.  The multilink design smoothes out rough roads nicely.  In this highly competitive segment, Mazda needs to provide a more exciting package with some exhaust note, engine sounds, and sharper handling.    

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the CX-7 a five-star rating in both frontal and side-impact crash tests.  It also received a four-star rollover rating for both the front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions.  No SUV currently on sale has received better ratings from the government than the CX-7.  Six air bags are standard covering front, side, and side curtain areas.  Stability control and traction control makes driving easy in slippery conditions.  

All 2009 Mazda’s come with a roadside assistance program.  With a call to a toll-free number, owners can access roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the United States and Canada.  In addition, a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear.  Also, all 2009 models receive a five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.

Our test car started off at a base price of $28,400 for the Grand Touring all wheel drive CX7.  Optional was the technology package for $4,485 which has all the goodies you really want in this vehicle.  Front and rear under guards cost $445.  Scuff plates add $145.  A rear bumper guard was added for $50.  Add a $650 delivery fee and our total comes to $34,175.  Almost 95% of parts come from Japan with the final assembly point being Hiroshima, Japan.  The window sticker shows fuel economy of 16 in the city and 22 on the highway and with mixed driving we averaged 20 miles per gallon. 
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PRICING

INVOICE

RETAIL

Base Pricing

$26,561

$28,400

Destination

$650  

$650

Technology Package - Power sliding glass moonroof with interior sunshade, 6-disc in-dash CD changer, 9-speaker Bose Centerpoint surround sound system with AudioPilot, DVD navigational system with voice command and touch screen, rearview camera, Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry and Start system, anti-theft peripheral system, Bluetooth phone capability and SIRIUS satellite radio with 6-month subscription

$3,902

$4,485

Under Guard Package

$356

$445

Moonroof/Bose Audio/6 CD Changer

$1,792

$2,060

Remote Engine Start

$280

$350

Stainless Steel Scuff Plates

$116

$145

Rear Bumper Guard

$40

$50

 

Convert= 8 liters per 100km in mpg

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COMPARISONS 2009 Mazda CX-7
Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
2009 Volkswagen Tiguan
SEL 4Motion 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
2008 Mitsubishi Outlander
SE 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl CVT)
2008 Hyundai Veracruz
GLS 4dr SUV AWD (3.8L 6cyl 6A)
2008 BMW X3
3.0si 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
MSRP $28,400 $32,940 $24,690 $28,745 $38,600
Invoice $26,561 $30,668 $23,276 $27,270 $35,510
Destination Charge $650 $690 $695 $750 $825
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Drivetrain 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 5 yr. / 60000 mi. 10 yr. / 100000 mi. 10 yr. / 100000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Roadside 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 4 yr. / Unlimited mi.
Rust 5 yr. / Unlimited mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi. 7 yr. / 100000 mi. 7 yr. / Unlimited mi. 12 yr. / Unlimited mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders inline 4 inline 4 inline 4 V6 inline 6
Base Engine Displacement 2.3 liters 2.0 liters 2.4 liters 3.8 liters 3.0 liters
Valvetrain 16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Horsepower 244 hp @ 5000 rpm 200 hp @ 5100 rpm 168 hp @ 6000 rpm 260 hp @ 6000 rpm 260 hp @ 6600 rpm
Torque 258 ft-lbs. @ 2500 rpm 206 ft-lbs. @ 1700 rpm 167 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm 257 ft-lbs. @ 4500 rpm 225 ft-lbs. @ 2750 rpm
Descent Control Not Available Not Available Being Researched Not Available Standard
Tires P235/60R18 102H
all season
235/50R18 97H
all season
P225/55R18
all season
P245/65R17
all season
235/55R17 99H
all season
Driver Seat Power Adjustable 8 12 Not Available 8 - Optional 8
Passenger Seat Power Adjustable Not Available 12 Not Available Not Available 8
Passenger Seat Height Adjustable Not Available Standard Not Available Not Available Standard
One-Touch Power Windows 2 4 1 1 4
Power Steering speed-proportional power steering electric speed-proportional power steering speed-proportional power steering speed-proportional power steering speed-proportional power steering
Front Air Conditioning automatic climate control automatic climate control air conditioning air conditioning automatic climate control
Air Filtration interior air filtration interior air filtration interior air filtration interior air filtration interior active charcoal air filter
Trip Computer Not Available Standard Standard Standard Standard
Xenon Headlights Standard Standard Not Available Not Available Optional
Navigation System DVD based display w/voice activation and directions - Optional hard drive based display w/voice directions - Optional hard drive based display w/voice directions - Optional Not Available DVD based display w/voice directions - Optional
SPECS
Handling CX-7 Tiguan Outlander Veracruz X3
Turning Circle 37.4 ft. 39.4 ft. 34.8 ft. 36.7 ft. 38.4 ft.
Max. Cargo Capacity 59 cu. ft. Being Researched 73 cu. ft. 87 cu. ft. 71 cu. ft.
City 16 mpg. 18 mpg. 20 mpg. 15 mpg. 16 mpg.
Highway 22 mpg. 24 mpg. 25 mpg. 22 mpg. 23 mpg.
Exterior
Length 184 in. 174.3 in. 182.7 in. 190.6 in. 179.9 in.
Width 73.7 in. 71.2 in. 70.9 in. 76.6 in. 73 in.
Height 64.8 in. 66.4 in. 67.7 in. 68.9 in. 65.9 in.
Wheel Base 108.3 in. 102.5 in. 105.1 in. 110.4 in. 110.1 in.
Ground Clearance 8.1 in. 6.9 in. 8.5 in. 8.1 in. 8 in.
Interior
Front Headroom 39.7 in. 39.1 in. 40.3 in. 40.3 in. 39.3 in.
Rear Headroom 39.3 in. 39 in. 38.3 in. 39.9 in. 39.4 in.
Front Shoulder Room 58 in. 56.2 in. 56.4 in. 60.6 in. 55.6 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 55.8 in. 54.8 in. 56.1 in. 60.2 in. 55 in.
Front Leg Room 41.7 in. 40.1 in. 41.6 in. 42.6 in. 40.2 in.
Rear Leg Room 36.4 in. 35.8 in. 39.6 in. 38.4 in. 35.8 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 29.9 cu. ft. 23.8 cu. ft. 36.2 cu. ft. 6.5 cu. ft. 30 cu. ft.

 

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