in 2011 Affordable Compact SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $14,619 - $22,259
Original MSRP: $21,990 - $33,340
MPG: 20 City / 28 Hwy
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2011 Mazda CX-7 Interior

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

The CX-7's interior is comfortable, and most reviewers say the materials are high-quality. However, the few downsides include a cramped rear seat. While the CX-7 has a rear-seat DVD system, which most competitors don’t offer, the base model has few standard features compared to compact SUVs from Hyundai and Kia.

  • "Cabin decor matches CX-7 pricing, but it's let down by a few budget-grade plastics and unconvincing silver paint that passes for metal accents. One model tested suffered from a dashboard rattle when driving over rippled pavement." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Upon settling into the CX-7's driver's seat, the first thing we noticed was just how German the aesthetic was. With black as far as the eye could see and tasteful silver plastic trim here and there, we'd begun to think that perhaps we had somehow found ourselves back in the VW Tiguan." -- CNET
  • "Compared to segment leaders like the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4 and the redesigned Chevrolet Equinox, the Mazda simply can't carry as much, and it isn't as comfortable for people sitting in back. But none of these vehicles approaches the Mazda in terms of athleticism." -- Edmunds


Reviewers are generally content with the CX-7's front-seat comfort, though they aren't quite as complimentary regarding the rear seats -- a common complaint for a compact SUV. The Chevrolet Equinox has a more comfortable rear seat, according to most reviewers. Cloth-trimmed seats are standard, and leather is available.

  • "Abundant legroom for all [in the front], but taller folks might want more head clearance. The seats are well-bolstered, but some of our testers feel they don't rise high enough for an optimal driving position. The steering wheel tilts, but, disappointingly, is not telescopic." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The seats are long trip comfortable, the controls easy to reach and figure out, and the optional sunroof makes up for the generally black dash panel." -- MarketWatch
  • "Five adults fit, but the center of the back seat is hard and thus there's just comfortable space for four tall occupants." -- MSN
  • "The back seat has more legroom than expected for the vehicle's size." -- USA Today
  • "The leather seats were comfortable." -- CNET

Interior Features

Reviewers generally like the interior features on the 2011 Mazda CX-7. Available features include keyless entry, a blind spot monitoring system, and Bluetooth. However, the standard features for the base model are a little sparse compared to the competition. The I SV model comes standard with remote keyless entry, an AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo and an auxillary input jack. By comparison, the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage come standard with Bluetooth and an iPod interface.   

  • "Testers agree the gauges are stylish but are divided on whether they're easy to read. ... A dashtop display puts audio and climate readouts away from the controls. Standard steering-wheel audio switches are a plus because the main array takes time to learn. Not so the large, simple knobs for climate functions. The navigation system is easy to program." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Build quality and ergonomics are both very good, although some might find the location of the radio and climate displays unintuitive, since their locations atop the dash are separated from their respective controls." -- Edmunds
  • "The one misstep in CX-7's interior design, and it's a big one, is the size and placement of the multi-information display. The 3.5" monochrome display sits at the top of the dash, under a small eyebrow. The odd thing is that it sits right next to an LED display that's almost the same size, and sometimes they display the same information -- time, radio station, etc. -- depending on the mode of display that you've selected." -- About.com


The 2011 CX-7 provides 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space, which can be expanded to 58.6 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down. These figures are substantially less than the compact class leaders, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, which provide and 36.4 and 35.7 cubic feet of space, respectively, behind their second rows. But a plus for the CX-7 is its multitude of small storage spaces, which include a lockable center console with upper and lower compartments, front and rear cup holders, several door bottle holders, and an under-floor storage compartment in the cargo area.

  • "Three full-size golf bags fit into the cargo area when the rear seats are in use. But when more room is needed back there, the rear seatbacks don't fold down quite flat and the front passenger seatback doesn't fold forward at all. I guess Mazda emphasized the 'zoom-zoom,' rather than cargo-hauling practicality, in this crossover." -- MSN
  • "If hauling stuff is your priority, you have a herd of more suitable SUVs to pick from." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "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." -- Edmunds
  • "Beats most like-sized SUVs for space behind the rear seat, but total space is small by class standards. Loading is hampered by a high deck. The cargo bay has two nice touches: a reversible carpeted/plastic rear floor panel, and easy-to-reach releases that make lowering the standard 60/40 rear seatbacks a quick operation, but they don't fold flat." -- Consumer Guide

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