2012 Mazda CX-7 Review
Test drivers say that if you want good performance, the 2012 Mazda CX-7 delivers. However, if performance isn’t a priority, reviewers say the Mazda CX-7 falls short, with less cargo space than rivals and tight second-row seats.
Most compact SUVs place practicality above performance, but the 2012 Mazda CX-7 takes the opposite approach, prioritizing nimble handling. Test drivers say the CX-7’s agile handling makes it easy to whip around town and its powerful turbocharged engine option makes it faster than most family SUVs.
It’s not surprising that reviewers are so fond of one of the most well-tuned models in the class because many test drivers are drawn to vehicles that are fast and nimble. However, the performance traits that reviewers like about the CX-7 may make some shoppers hesitate. The CX-7’s available engines are two of the best in the class, but neither gets very good fuel economy ratings, especially when you compare them with fuel economy leaders like the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and GMC Terrain. A sporty suspension makes the CX-7 nimble, but it also gives it a stiff ride. Families or people with long commutes might prefer something with a softer suspension.
While the CX-7 is large for a compact SUV, it has a cramped second row and limited cargo space. And although the 2012 Mazda CX-7’s price is high for the class, its interior doesn’t come with standard features like Bluetooth and a USB port, which are becoming commonplace in affordable SUVs.
In terms of performance, test drivers think the 2012 Mazda CX-7 is one of the best options for families and commuters who want a compact SUV that handles more like an affordable sports car. But if traits like generous interior space, good fuel economy, a lot of standard features and a low base price are of the utmost importance, there are other crossover SUVs you’ll like better.
Other SUVs to Consider
Like the CX-7, the Chevrolet Equinox is big for a compact SUV. But unlike the CX-7, the Equinox makes better use of its interior space. The rear seats have enough space for tall adults, and even slide back to increase legroom. You can also slide the seats forward to increase cargo space. Though the Equinox isn’t as fun to drive as the CX-7, reviewers appreciate that its ride is smoother and that it has some of the highest fuel economy ratings in the class.
If an engaging drive is a must-have for your next SUV and you don’t mind paying more for it, check out the Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s the only compact SUV that can compete with the CX-7’s performance. But keep in mind that the Tiguan is much smaller, has a higher starting price and requires premium gasoline. CX-7 models equipped with the turbocharged engine also need premium gasoline.
Details: Mazda CX-7
The 2012 Mazda CX-7 doesn’t see significant changes this year. The i SV, i Sport and i Touring trims have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. The s Touring and s Grand Touring trims have a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is only available on s models.
See the full list of 2012 Mazda CX-7 specs.
- "The 2012 Mazda CX-7 SUV is admittedly getting a bit old, but its styling is holding up well, and its still strikes us as one of the nicer crossover SUVs in the mid-size field." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The available turbo 4-cylinder engine is neither as fuel-efficient as one might expect nor as smoothly powerful as it ought to be. Unfortunately, it's the only engine you can get if you want all-wheel drive. Our nod goes to the front-drive ‘i’ version. Its normally aspirated engine delivers adequate power and decent fuel economy. It's also the least-expensive version, yet is available with most of the luxury-oriented features of its turbocharged stablemates." -- Consumer Guide
- "In a similar vein, the … Mazda CX-7 could be described as the jock of the compact-crossover class. The CX-7 isn't as sensible as most of its rivals, but it's good looking and far more exciting when you're behind the wheel." -- Edmunds