Somehow Mazda managed to inject the appearance of its sports cars, like the Miata, into the 2008 CX-7. As a result, the CX-7 eschews the boxy look typical of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and has the handling and performance to match. Draw backs such as the cargo and back seat space exist, but the CX-7 distinguishes itself in a highly-competitive segment with fun driving, great looks, and a price.
Body Styles: compact SUV
Engines: 2.3-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: six-speed automatic with manual shift capability
Models: Mazda CX-7 Sport, Mazda CX-7 Touring, Mazda CX-7 Grand Touring
There are no notable changes for the 2008 model year.
The 2008 Mazda CX-7 midsize, five-passenger crossover SUV available comes in three trim levels: Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring. The Sport comes with 18-inch alloy wheels while the midlevel Touring model adds nothing to the exterior. The Grand Touring model features xenon headlights and heated exterior mirrors. Stand-alone options are available for all three trim levels. Most of these options are grouped into packages. A sunroof is one of the few options for the exterior. However, the preferred equipment package adds a cargo net, cargo tray, retracting cargo cover, and a rear-bumper step plate.
The CX-7 is one of the most heavily-styled crossovers available. Buyers should give serious consideration to the CX-7 since it has a unique and interesting appearance that goes well beyond the boxy look that can be too typical of SUVs.
The nicely-equipped Sport boasts air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a six-way power driver seat, and a CD player. The Touring model then adds leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, and front seat heaters. The top of the line Grand Touring model features an upgraded gauge cluster, automatic headlights, automatic climate control, and distinct leather upholstery.
A sunroof and an upgraded Bose audio system with an in-dash six-CD changer are available as a package or as part of the Technology Package, an options group that also has a navigation system, a keyless-ignition feature, and a rear park-assist system with a rearview camera.
The cabin certainly matches the radical exterior styling and adds to the sporty look. While the interior is somewhat spacious with good headroom, the backseat is a bit cramped, and the cargo area is one of the smallest in this class.
Performance & Handling
The only available engine for the CX-7 is a turbocharged, direct-injection 2.3-liter inline-four making 244 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability hooks up to either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The CX-7 is a dedicated on-road SUV meaning there is no low-range gearing. The all-wheel-drive system routes 100 percent of the engine's power to the front wheels unless there is a loss of traction. At that point, up to 50 percent of engine power is automatically and quickly applied to the rear wheels to improve traction.
Even with a weight of up to two tons, the CX-7 will still go from zero to 60 mph in just 7.7 seconds. Braking performance is very impressive with fade-free stops from 60 mph of 113 feet. This all makes the CX-7 one of the best performers in a crowded car segment.
Handling is also rather sharp. Nicely-weighted steering, stable truing, and quick response to directional change all make the CX-7 a great handling crossover. There is some tough competition in this respect from other members of the crossover segment, but the CX-7 really holds its own. This driving fun comes at the cost of a firmer ride, but the CX-7 isn’t advertised as a luxury crossover, and the ride is still pleasant enough, especially given the handling.
The 2008 Mazda CX-7 received top marks from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety thanks to solid construction, good build quality, and an impressive list of safety features that includes as standard equipment: anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, front side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags.
EPA Fuel Economy
Mazda CX-7: 17/23 mpg city/highway
- Turbocharged four-cylinder
- Interior design
- Build quality
- Crash test scores
You Won't Like
- Interior utility
- Fuel economy
- Demands premium fuel
- Cramped backseat
- Lack of cargo space
One of the leaders in the crossover SUV segment.
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