It isn't only the straight-ahead speed that impresses, but the agility, too.
Time for a quick run-down of the Mazda CX-7 feature list. We have 19-inch alloys, xenon headlights, powered windows front and rear, climate control air conditioning, cruise control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, automatic headlights and wipers and the rear reversing camera. Inside we have the aforementioned Bluetooth and sat-nav systems, the powered and heated front seats and leather upholstery.
The driving force of the Mazda CX-7 is a new 2.2 turbo-diesel unit, which produces 173PS at 3,500 rpm and 400Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm; although it starts at 1,600rpm - enough to easily pull a horsebox or caravan. On the other hand, you could just forget the towing and enjoy the distinctly car-like handling and performance characteristics.
The Mazda CX-7 has a top speed of 124mph and completes the sprint from standstill to 62mph in 11.3 seconds - and that is not bad at all, for what is a relatively large car.
At motorway speeds, the drive is reasonably quiet and relaxed and there is plenty left in 6th gear for overtaking manoeuvres. A handy addition to the on-board electronics in this environment is the RVM or Rear Vehicle Monitoring. It is, in effect, a lane-change assist system that alerts the driver if he or she is about to move to another lane and into the path of another vehicle.
It isn't only the straight-ahead speed that impresses, but the agility, too, which is very much in keeping with some of the more expensive SUV's than the £26,995, Mazda CX-7. Furthermore, it is more capable off-road than outward appearances would suggest.
Although, not a full 4x4, the Mazda CX-7 has Active Torque 4WD that can direct up to 50 per cent of the torque to the rear wheels, in order to maintain traction. And, as it is effectively an on-demand system, the fuel consumption figures are a great deal better than those of a full 4WD set-up.
The official figure for around town is 31.0mpg, motorway driving is expected to return 42.8mpg and a combination of the two results in 37.7mpg with 199g/km of CO2 exiting the tailpipe.
The Mazda CX-7 doesn't suffer from the wallowy ride of some other SUVs. Nor does it seem to have the same restriction of power as some do. Rather it is impressive in its car-like attitude, while boasting the practicality and presence of some of the more expensive cars.25 May 2010
Mazda CX-7 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mazda Mazda CX-7|
|Colour||Stormy Blue Mica|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||11.3 seconds|
|Top Speed||124 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||42.8 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 years / 60000 miles|
|Price (when tested on the 25/05/10)||£26,550|