The 2010 Mazda CX-7 ranks 13 out of 26 Affordable Midsize SUVs. This ranking is based on analysis of 66 published reviews and test drives of the Mazda CX-7, and analysis at USA about reliability and safety data.
For 2010, Mazda's performance-minded SUV gets a makeover inside and out. The changes add up to a great value equation -- the CX-7 is a great family SUV with cool styling and a sporty driving experience.
The five-seat CX-7 is a family hauler that doesn't look or drive like one. It's a great choice for families who want zippy performance at an affordable price. For 2010, the CX-7 boasts new styling and a new base engine -- the same 2.5-liter powerplant used in the Mazda5 and Mazda3. The four-cylinder engine makes 161 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque, which means it makes less power than the SUV's previous turbocharged engine, but will achieve better fuel economy.
"The CX-7 has been a Car and Driver crossover favorite since its debut in 2006 -- lots of style, respectable power, and road manners worthy of the ‘Zoom-Zoom' tagline," says Car and Driver. "The only element that seemed to need attention was pricing, which could be perceived as a little high versus the base models of key competitors such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV-4." Mazda has addressed this concern with the new model -- the 2010 CX-7's base price is $22,300, a decrease of $2,350 compared to the 2009 base model. While the price is still a bit higher than the Honda's and Toyota's, it's a step in the right direction. Since the CX-7 is substantially refreshed and costs less than last year, it may make more sense to wait for this 2010 model than to buy a 2009 CX-7.
Other SUVs to Consider
Though the CX-7 is improved, it still isn't perfect. It may not suffice as a good vehicle for large families because of a cramped rear seat and small cargo area. Buyers who need these attributes and can live without the CX-7's especially sporty ride should consider the Saturn Outlook and GMC Acadia. The Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 also offer plenty of cargo space, and the RAV4 even boasts an optional third row.
Details: Mazda CX-7
The 2010 CX-7 comes in three trim levels -- the new SV base model, Sport, Touring and Grand Touring -- with a new 2.5-liter base engine and an optional turbocharged four-cylinder.
"CX-7 emphasizes sport over utility and ride comfort to stand out in a crowded market segment. Its turbo 4-cylinder engine is neither as fuel-efficient as one might expect nor as smoothly powerful as it ought to be. But there's appeal here for those who need something roomier than a midsize car and want fresh-looking SUV styling." -- Consumer Guide
"For the sporty-minded, it sets the standard for so-called crossover-utility vehicles." -- USA Today
"We've drawn many comparisons between the VW Tiguan and the Mazda CX-7, but which is the better buy? Both vehicles are handsome-looking crossover SUVs. Performance is also very good in both vehicles. Although the Mazda has more cabin space and better tech, the Tiguan's better fuel economy and build quality make it a slightly better long-term investment." -- CNET
"This is a great car for the money, especially when compared to its competition." -- AutoWeek
"If you're looking for a crossover that's a little different than the rest, one that will stand out from the crowd, you really should consider the CX-7. Resist the urge to pile on the options, and you'll have a deceptively elegant, delightfully inexpensive crossover that will be the envy of the neighborhood." -- About.com
CX-7 Performance - 8.6 (Very Good)
Test drivers find the 2010 Mazda CX-7 continues to offer deliciously sporty performance, especially for an SUV. Though reviewers heavily criticized the previous model's fuel economy, a new normally aspirated engine for 2010 offers a more efficient option. "Cruising down the coast, we felt -- if only for a moment -- that there might be something to Mazda's claim of 'the soul of a sports car,'" says CNET. "The CX-7 has the heart. Mazda's crossover certainly feels sporty in the power and the handling departments, as long as you don't push it too hard." Read More
CX-7 Exterior - 9.0 (Excellent)
The 2010 CX-7 receives a minor exterior freshening, including a revised front fascia, new grille and redesigned rear bumper. Reviewers call it one of the better looking SUVs in its class. Consumer Reports says the exterior "is treated to a cheerful facelift, giving it a smiling appearance much like the revised MX-5." Read More
CX-7 Interior - 7.6 (Good)
The 2010 Mazda CX-7 excels in performance and exterior styling, but it loses points for its interior. The cramped rear seat detracts from the cabin's appeal, and the CX-7's family-car appeal. On the plus side, interior updates for 2010 improve the cabin quality and layout. "Splashes of chrome trim brighten the appearance of the dashboard, and upgraded upholstery materials (both cloth and leather), a new steering wheel, and revised gauges elevate the quality of the interior," says Car and Driver. Read More
CX-7 Safety - 8.7 (Very Good)
The 2010 Mazda CX-7 has received excellent scores in federal government crash tests. It also features a comprehensive array of safety equipment, including side curtain air bags and electronic stability control. However, there are front visibility concerns due to the CX-7's styling. Read More
CX-7 Reliability - 6.0 (Mediocre)
The 2010 Mazda CX-7 reliability score shown is the Predicted Reliability rating provided by J.D. Power and Associates. This score is based on trending the past three years of historical initial quality and dependability data from J.D. Power's automotive studies, specifically the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and the Initial Quality Study (IQS). The 2010 CX-7 comes with Mazda's three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty.