Avg. Price Paid:$8,856 - $10,400
Original MSRP: $23,750 - $28,000
MPG: 17 City / 22 Hwy
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2008 Mazda CX-7 Interior

This interior review was written when the 2008 Mazda CX-7 was new.

The CX-7 loses points for its interior. Though the space and comfort  is acceptable for the class, the cramped rear seat and some cheap materials detract from the interior's overall appeal.

U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman notes that "there's a surprising amount of space for what looks to be a tightly swept and compact design." However, he also brings up the negative side, commenting that "while the cabin is comfortable, interior appointments are not Mazda's strong suit -- other cars offer more frills in the same price range." AutoWeek has similar complaints, noting that carpet quality received "the strongest criticism. One owner described it as a 'thin coating of fur on cardboard backing,' while another called it one step above felt." The reviewer also feels the cabin could be more spacious, writing, "The CX-7 makes the most of its size, but there are many minivans and larger SUVs that offer more."


As for seating, reviewers are generally content with the CX-7's comfort. Road and Track says that the "CX-7 seats five people comfortably." Newsday notes that the cabin "is big enough to hold adults front and back, plus a useful amount of cargo." MarketWatch generally finds the seats to be "long trip comfortable." Reviewers from Edmunds conclude that the CX-7 has "Plenty of passenger space" and adds that "ergonomics are spot-on comfortable."

The two front bucket seats are particularly cushioned and supportive, according to most. Edmunds reports that there is "a generous 38.2 inches of with-sunroof headroom" and that the "seats are grippy and comfortable." Calling the seats "generally pleasant," USA Today writes, "Width inside is sufficient to make the vehicle feel roomier than the numbers say it is." Finally, the Kansas City Star says, "Settling into the CX-7's front bucket seats was quite pleasant. Their shape and contouring gave support in all the right places."

Reviewers are not quiet as complimentary of rear seats' comfort. Motor Trend says there's adequate headroom, "but to achieve it the rear-seat cushion is lower than optimal, putting adult knees in the air and hampering visibility for kids who've just outgrown their booster seats." MSN also reports that "the center of the back seat is hard." And, New Car Test Drive notes the rear seat isn't ideal when filled to capacity: "The rear seats favor two passengers over three, an impression reinforced by the decently contoured seatback and the absence of a head restraint for the center seating position."

At 36.8 inches, rear legroom is a plus. The New York Times comments that leg room is good "even for passengers over 6 feet tall," while USA Today notes, "The back seat has more legroom than expected for the vehicle's size." The Kansas City Star says rear leg room is fine "as long as the front seats" are not "moved all the way back." Autobytel says that "long-legged folks will appreciate the soft front seatbacks."

However, the Detroit News calls the rear seat "something of a penalty box for passengers. It is woefully lacking in creature comforts. Our vehicle had only one rear map pocket, no individual reading lights or vents, two nonadjustable cup holders built into the armrest and no reclining rear seats." On the plus side, U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman finds the rear seat to be kid friendly, noting, "Kids love the higher perch of SUVs and crossovers, yet the CX-7 is also easy to climb into. Cup holders in a convenient center armrest add to kids' comfort."

Several reviewers are disappointed that the CX-7 offers no third-row seat. However, buyers looking for one are encouraged to consider the new MAZDA6-based CX-9, which is a larger -- albeit less sporty -- version of the CX-7.

Interior Features

Reviewers have mixed opinions on the CX-7's interior controls and features. While many feel that the interior is well appointed, others disagree, citing low-grade materials. U.S. News' Rick Newman finds the cockpit confusing. He reports that the "radio and climate info is displayed on a cluttered LED screen that's barely an inch high," and that the "radio controls are a bit confusing, as in other Mazdas."

Expressing the opinion of several other reviewers, Newsday writes, "The electroluminescent dashboard gauges' red backlighting is too dim for when rain requires the use of headlamps during daylight." But nonetheless, Newsday says that the "interior materials looked rich and its layout was driver-oriented -- simple, logical and with no fussy controls to distract." Edmunds finds the interior of the 2008 CX-7 "stylish" with "good build quality" but "below-average interior utility." Reviewers continue on to say that "radical styling carries inside, where an edgy yet functional cabin design greets drivers who are looking for a little visual excitement in their compact sport-uet."

Of the standard features on the three CX-7 trims, MSN notes, "There is no 'poor boy' version. Even the Sport has lots of comfort, convenience and safety features." The Sport base model includes cloth-trimmed seats, a 6-way manual adjustable driver's seat, manual air-conditioning, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, and a four-speaker AM/FM stereo with single CD. The Touring adds leather-trimmed seats, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, and heated front seats. The luxury Grand Touring model adds leather-trimmed seats with sport stripes, automatic climate control, and heated side-view mirrors.

A final complaint is that the CX-7's interior can be noisy. The New York Times says, "At highway speeds on good roads, the CX-7 is pretty quiet. Yet the 18-inch wheels made loud slapping noises on tar strips, expansion joints and other broken surfaces." AutoWeek echoes that, reporting that some passengers "found interior noise louder than they would like."

A DVD-based navigation system with a 7-inch LCD screen is only optional for the CX-7's Grand Touring trim, but there are plenty of portable GPS units with similar features. Check out our GPS reviews to make a decision on the best device for you.

Stereo and Entertainment

Some reviewers are disappointed with the functionality of the CX-7's stereo systems. While AutoWeek found the stereo "excellent," the reviewer complains that "it should be able to play MP3s." Edmunds says "some may object to the radio and climate display being placed atop the dash and away from its respective controls"

On a more positive note, Motor Trend says that the upgraded sound system "sounded darned near good enough to warrant the $1,585 package price, even without the moonroof." The system comes as part of the optional Technology Package or the Moonroof/Bose Audio/6 CD Changer Package.

Meanwhile, some reviewers, including Newsday, are disappointed that rear seat entertainment is not available.


The 2008 CX-7 provides 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which can be expanded to 58.6 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear seat folded down. Road and Track describes the SUV's cargo capacity "as that of a large station wagon." MSN explains that there is room for "three full-size golf bags," when "the rear seats are in use." Still, the reviewer later complains that "Mazda emphasized the 'zoom-zoom,' rather than cargo-hauling practicality."

While most reviewers find cargo capacity reasonable, Automobile Magazine notes, "If hauling stuff is your priority, you have a herd of more suitable SUVs to pick from." The reviewer notes that the CX-7's "tapered greenhouse and sloping roofline cut into maximum capacity." Along those lines, the Kansas City Star notes that "hauling anything tall, such as a bicycle, doesn't work very well." Buyers looking for more cargo space may want to check out the larger Mazda CX-9, which is about 18 inches longer than the CX-7 and includes a third-row seat.

Most find the spring-loaded rear seats easy to fold, using an easy-to-reach lever located in the hatch area. The reviewers at Edmunds explain, "When folded down, a 70-inch flat floor is created. Seats folded up, we still had room for a couple of dozen traffic cones, cameras and test gear." The reviewers particularly like the reversible cargo floor insert, which features a washable rubberized side for carrying messy loads. Still, MSN is disappointed that "the rear seatbacks don't fold down quite flat and the front passenger seatback doesn't fold forward at all."

Reviewers find cabin storage space adequate. New Car Test Drive likes the front center console's lockable bin, which "is deep enough for a laptop computer and includes a secondary power point for that purpose. The glove box holds more than gloves, but not much more and can't be locked." MSN also likes the deep covered bin and front-door storage pockets, but points out that "the CX-7 could use more small storage areas." Autobytel laments the fact that "there are no hidden cubbies or special touches."

Review Last Updated: 2/18/09

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