in 2009 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $10,261 - $12,128
Original MSRP: $23,900 - $28,400
MPG: 17 City / 23 Hwy
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2009 Mazda CX-7 Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 2009 Mazda CX-7's sporty performance is among the best in the class. However, several reviewers point out that the excellent performance comes with a couple of downsides, including poor fuel economy, a firm ride, and the lack of a manual transmission.

  • "While this Mazda crossover may lag behind some other compact SUVs in terms of utility, its performance and handling abilities make it the most rewarding choice in its class to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "Gosh, some SUVs and crossovers with V6s have higher government fuel economy ratings than the CX-7." -- MSN
  • "Happy being tossed at curves, the CX-7 is rewarding to drive. But you have to keep your right foot pinned, which makes gas go whoosh." -- Car and Driver
  • "Power and handling deliver on Mazda's promise of 'zoom-zoom.'" -- CNET
  • "The crossover driving experience is most commonly describable as "family wagon", with the emphasis on functionality and practicality, not excitement. While the CX-7 is as functional and practical as any of its competitors, it also offers a driving experience far better than the class average. Family wagon meets sports car." -- The Auto Channel

Acceleration and Power

Under the hood, the 2009 Mazda CX-7 boasts a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine borrowed from the previous Mazdaspeed6. With 244 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the CX-7 goes from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds. However, all that power takes a toll on fuel economy. According to the EPA, the 2WD model achieves 17/23 mpg city/highway, while the 4WD model achieves 16/22 mpg.

  • "Peppy once rolling. An AWD Grand Touring did 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds in our test. Turbo lag is noticeable away from a stop and during around-town passing maneuvers. Manually shifting the automatic transmission partly offsets the lazy throttle response." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Taking off from a dead stop, turbo lag was nearly imperceptible, though not completely eliminated. The onset of power is nowhere near as dramatic as that of the Tiguan, which comes on like a light switch about 3,000rpm. Instead, the CX-7 delivers power evenly and predictably." -- CNET
  • "A good amount of torque makes itself known immediately, snapping the CX-7 off the line. Once in motion, the 3930-lb. vehicle accelerates briskly, with 99 percent of peak torque maintained from 2000 to 5000 rpm; however, the engine runs out of breath in the upper ranges." -- Road and Track
  • "Despite the fact that a loaded Grand Touring AWD model weighs in at nearly 2 tons, the CX-7's performance is still relatively brisk -- acceleration from zero to 60 mph takes just 7.7 seconds." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The majority of reviewers feel that the CX-7 drives more like a car than a truck, which is a definite plus. But not everything about the suspension pleases reviewers. Some find the ride overly choppy and stiff.

  • "CX-7 is less car-like than advertised but is agile for an SUV of this size and weight, abetted by fine steering and a well-planted feel. Its turning radius is also impressively tight. Standard antiskid control is laudable, though it activated on one test CX-7 even in fairly low-effort cornering. Impressive brake response and control." -- Consumer Guide
  • "On the highway, the CX-7's suspension sure demonstrates the traditional sports car harshness. While it does a good job of muting road noise and isolating the cabin from expansion joints and cracks in the road, the Mazda's suspension is firmer than we expected for a small SUV. The suspension doesn't do a great job of absorbing the harshness of larger bumps." -- CNET
  • "The shocks and spring rates have been tuned on the firm side, so ride quality is somewhat choppy over uneven surfaces, but when the road gets twisty, you may forget that you're driving an all-wheel-drive people-hauler (the CX-7 also comes in fwd)." -- Road and Track
  • "The brakes are freaking awesome. Unlike most competitors, all four of the CX-7's rotors are ventilated, not just the fronts. And the front calipers are two-piston units, not single pistons as is the usual custom." -- Edmunds

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