New to the game
Mazda has woken up to the market in SUVs, writes Adrian Ion, with what promises to be a sporty crossover
Want to hear a story about an SUV?
It’s trendy to own one. Manufacturers have picked up on this. This is why a brand such as Mazda, which hardly has any experience in building SUVs, is trying its luck in the segment.
The result? An SUV that looks and has the soul of a sports car. They call it CX-7 and describe it as a kind of SUV/crossover/sportscar.
The recipe for success in Mazda’s laboratories must have sounded like this: the body should be styled and shaped like a sports car, the front-end and the windshield should be dramatically swept back and the wheel arches stand out like a pumped-up weightlifter. After finishing with the body, the engineers were given the task to fit in one of the sportiest engines they could find. They borrowed from the Mazda MPS, the direct-injection, 2.3-litre turbo and 260 hp engine that gives this car the proper boost to work with the sleek body.
All these attributes made me curious when I got behind the wheel to see if the CX-7 delivers what it promises to be - a different breed of SUV. The answer is yes. The chassis is tuned in such a way that bodyroll around corners is almost non existent. The steering response is direct, linear and balanced, giving good feedback on the road.
The fun factor is present, helped a lot by the turbo-dependent power delivered by the engine and the six-speed manual transmission. The suspension tuning is firm, but comfortable and the standard 18-inch tyres are well balanced with the overall aspect of the car.
When it comes to the interior, there are almost all the features and gadgets one would wish for in a car. The great thing is that they come as standard. From the fabulous Bose sound-system to electrically-powered leather seats and keyless access the CX-7 has the works.
Obviously this model is intended to be also used as a family vehicle and this is why the Mazda made safety a priority. All CX-7’s come with standard stability control, front, side and curtain airbags, adjustable head restraints and adjustable front seat-belt anchors and anti-theft immobiliser and alarm. The cargo space is reasonable, but it is not quite as roomy as some other SUVs.
A drawback is the SUVs blind spot problem. Because of those narrow side windows, visibility is slightly limited at the rear end of the vehicle’s side.
If someone would need another reason to put the CX-7 on the shopping list, the price would be another department where Mazda did a terrific job. Value for money is unbeatable on this model and a fully loaded car will only cost 27,479 Euro plus taxes.
After driving the car for a few days I can only summarise that the CX-7 is not a usual SUV.
It is a sports crossover that appeals to a new generation of clients who are looking for an enjoyable, affordable and versatile car to drive.