At first glance, the just-average Total Car Score earned by the 2011 Mazda CX-7 doesn’t seem to jibe with the enthusiastic comments it received from many auto reviewers.
More than one critic likened the crossover to a sports car, and road tests happily described the CX-7’s looks and driving experience as sporty, rakish, agile and athletic.
But a sports car is far from a do-anything vehicle, and the Midsize SUV & Crossover segment is all about versatility. Leaders in this category must serve as family car one minute, comfy commuter the next. So it’s not too surprising that those sites that praised the Mazda’s performance would then knock it down a sentence or a paragraph later for its lack of rear-seat and cargo room. Some even went so far as to call the CX-7’s sporty ride quality harsh.
The CX-7 first went on sale four years ago and received a face lift last year. The only change for 2011 is the addition of a Touring version of the i model.
The 2011 Mazda CX-7 is a five-door, five-passenger crossover vehicle available in five models.
The i SV, i Sport and i Touring are powered by a naturally aspirated, 2.5-liter inline-4 that sends 161 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque through a five-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. The s Touring and s Grand Touring feature a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 244 horsepower and 258 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic transmission can power either FWD or AWD systems.
Base i SV models come with 17-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, keyless entry and an AM/FM/CD audio system. The i Sport adds leather to the steering wheel and shift knob, while moving up to the i Touring nets heated and leather-trimmed front seats, a rearview camera, moonroof and automatic climate controls. The s Touring trim level rolls on 18-inch wheels, and the top-shelf s Grand Touring model boasts 19-inch wheels, HID headlights, a premium sound system and navigation.
The EPA rated the CX-7’s naturally aspirated inline-4 at 20 mpg city/28 highway. Fuel economy for the turbo motor ranges from 18 mpg city/24 highway for FWD models to 17 mpg city/21 highway for AWD versions. Properly equipped, the CX-7 can tow up to 2,000 pounds.
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