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Reader's test: Mazda CX-7

2012-05-23 05:27

LATEST FAMILY MEMBER: Reader Theo's experience with the latest member to the Kruger family continues to be a sporty surprise.

THEO KRUGER, Carletonville

Way back in the 1990's the Mazda slogan (in South Africa, at least) was “It just feels right”. Since then the Mazda badge has changed and the company has switched to the “Zoom-Zoom” concept for all its branding worldwide. The reason I mention this (minor) detail is because, for me personally, “It Just Feels Right” still rings true – even after all these years.

My family has, since 1995, owned various Mazda vehicles: a 626, an Etude, Sting 160i, Drifter (x2), Mazda3 2.0 Individual, Mazda 3 2.3 Individual and, in 2011, my mother became the (very) proud owner of a brand-new CX-7 2.5 Dynamic.  

Now I understand that many might ridicule me for writing a review on my mother’s vehicle but I feel this vehicle deserves respect and more consideration when it comes to comparing other vehicles in the same class.


Understandably, many might be concerned about the power this particular model develops (especially considering the fact that the gross weight of the car is 2089kg!), but personally I believe it is more than sufficient.  The Mazda CX-7 2.5 has an engine displacement of 2488cc, puts out 120kW at 6000rpm and 205Nm at 5500. Granted, this car is no sprinter, but it certainly cannot be compared to a hippopotamus! Keep in mind that this is a crossover and can’t really be placed in the same category as most of the SUV's currently on our roads, but for a vehicle that tips the scales at more than 2 tons, it certainly can keep the pace.

Where the CX-7 really shines is with its impeccable road-manners. This car is really big, but completely surprises the driver with handling that is simply out of this world. It doesn’t handle quite the way you would expect a car of this size to handle. It’s poised, well-behaved and inspires confidence when you’re behind the steering wheel. The engineers at Mazda have always been able to surprise with the handling characteristics their vehicles exude and the CX-7 is no exception.


Being the entry-level offering (the other option is the more expensive 2.3 DISI Turbo version), there are nice-to-haves that are not included in this specific model, but nothing to be overly concerned about. You have full leather seats (of much better hide quality than most other cheaper offerings), full electric seat adjustment for the driver, seat warmers (more about that later), full climate control, a six-disc CD player (MP3 compatible and with an auxiliary input), on-board computer, electric windows all-round, electrically adjustable exterior mirrors (which fold flat when you park in tight spaces) and a full complement of buttons on the steering wheel, as well as the automatic cruise control.

However, some items included on the more expensive model, certainly would have been appreciated in the 2.5 version as well. Personally, I feel that the inclusion of the seat warmers is not quite necessary in South Africa and, in a vehicle of this size, park assist would have been nice, too!

Initially I thought the wheels looked a little on the small side when I first saw the car. The 2.5 version is equipped with 17”alloys with 215 tyres, which I thought were kind of narrow for a car this big, but since they don’t have any negative effect on the handling, I guess it’s not so bad?

Those issues aside, the CX-7 2.5 Dynamic lacks nothing in terms of safety equipment. The list includes ABS with EBD and EBA, six airbags, dynamic stability control and traction control.


Space within the huge cabin is abundant and, with the cab-forward type of dashboard layout, both the driver and the passenger are comfortable. The same goes for the rear: passengers can sit in comfort with more than sufficient legroom.

Unlike most other SUVs we’ve tested, this is the only vehicle that has a boot big enough to easily accommodate my father’s golf bag and (at least) two large suitcases. 

OK, so we know that this car handles like a dream, but what about the important question on most South Africans’ lips these days - fuel consumption? There is no point in denying the obvious truth here. The CX-7’s 2.5-litre engine is a bit of a guzzler and on the open road we’ve only once managed to get the average consumption down to 8.2 litres/100km (with my mother behind the wheel), while on a recent trip to Margate (and with my father behind the wheel), the average consumption was 9.6litres/100km.  

Even though I drive a Ford Focus (that I also love) I will ALWAYS be a fan of the Mazda brand. It signifies quality, innovation, reliability and almost becomes a member of the family when you own one.

For some reason unbeknownst to me, the brand is not as popular as some of the other Japanese (and even Korean) offerings, but Mazda deserves more respect and recognition. Drive one and see for yourself. It just feels right.

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