Review: Mazda CX-7 (2007 – 2012)

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Sharp styling, handles extremely well for a 4x4, smart and comfortable interior, much more economical 2.2-litre diesel version from 2009.

2.3 petrol turbo thirsty and in high CO2 based VED bracket (£540pa). No seven seat option. Diesel has comparatively low towing weight of 1800kg

Mazda CX-7 (2007 – 2012): At A Glance

The CX-7 is marketed as a blend of off-roader, family car and sports car, offering plenty of space and a decent drive. It's a car that's in the same mould as the Nissan Murano and BMW X3.

It went on sale in 2007, but went largely unnoticed, as it only came with a thirsty 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine. It was the same engine that was used in the high-performance Mazda 6 MPS and could manage just 28mpg. It wasn't popular and as a result was sold at often huge discounts.

That all changed in 2009 when Mazda dropped the petrol and brought-in an excellent 2.2-litre diesel. The CX-7's best bits -the swoopy shape, great on-the-road characteristics and comfortable cabin - were kept, but with far more reasonable fuel economy. Other changes since the diesel was introduced include a fresher look to the front-end and a useful blind spot indicator system which warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot on the motorway.

Mazda CX-7 2.3 Turbo Petrol 2007 Road Test

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What does a Mazda CX-7 (2007 – 2012) cost?

Mazda CX-7 (2007 – 2012): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4675–4700 mm
Width 1870 mm
Height 1645 mm
Wheelbase 2750 mm

Full specifications

The CX-7 manages to combine the commanding driving position of an off-roader with the ‘involved' feeling that you often get with coupes, which means it feels more special than your run-of-the-mill 4x4. Inside, it's very well built, with precise switches and easy-to-read displays, but some of the materials lack the finesse that you'd expect from German rivals.

The driving position is generally good, with an electrically-adjustable seat, though the steering wheel only adjusts for height. Every other car of this type adjusts for reach. The tapering shape doesn't imped visibility as much as you may expect it to and the rear pillars are quite slim, plus there's a reversing camera on later models along with a useful blind spot warning system. 

It has all the practical attributes of a child carrying vehicle. Mazda's clever Karakuri split-folding rear seats drop at the pull of a lever in the boot, exposing a load area capable of swallowing 1348 litres. The boot is 455 litres with the seats up. The load floor flips over from carpeted to waterproof plastic, both outer rear seats have Isofix fasteners and, of course, the front passenger airbag can be switched off.

There's no satellite navifation in earlier cars, though. Only an afterthought dealer-fit system, so you might as well buy your own. Facelifted models come with a compact sat nav with a colour screen, but it's pretty small and not the easiet to use, especially on the move. 

Unlike a Freelander, the rear seats are lower than the fronts so children travelling in them will need boosters. Air conditioning and leather are standard though and the driver gets an electric seat with adjustable lumbar support. It's so loaded with kit, the only factory fitted extra you can buy is metallic or mica paint.

Child seats that fit a Mazda CX-7 (2007 – 2012)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Mazda CX-7 (2007 – 2012) like to drive?

Under the bonnet of earlier CX-7s is a 2.3-litre turbocharged engine that produces 260bhp. It's a lively, potent engine that's capable of competing with everything from a Nissan Murano to a BMW X3, with a 0-62mph time of 8.0 seconds. It's responsive, quick, has plenty of pulling power and doesn't suffer from turbo lag.

With an average of 28mpg and emissions of 243g/km of CO2, the petrol CX-7 is far from economical. That said, it does compare well to similar (and even larger) sized cars. This engine can now only be found in second hand CX-7s, as it was replaced in 2009 by a far superior 2.2-litre diesel.

What this lacks in overall power (at 173bhp, it's almost 90bhp down on the petrol), it makes up for in low-down power and excellent economy. It should be capable of 38mpg and 199g/km CO2 - respectable figures for a car of this sort. It's a fine engine, with power that builds smoothly and is available across a wide band of revs. The usual clatter that you associate with diesel engines is well suppressed, especially when it's on the move.

The Mazda CX-7 may have been originally designed for American tastes, but it's been tailored to handle well on European roads. The suspension has been re-tuned, the body has been reinforced and it feels like a far more agile car than its dimensions suggest. This shines through on twisty roads, where it corners confidently and shows little in the way of body roll. Gearchanges are pleasing and - as you'd expect from sporty Mazdas - and precise with it.

The ‘Active Torque Split' four-wheel-drive is basically the same as the Mazda 6 MPS. It's a sports set-up rather than an off-road system, but one that will get you to the ski resort if necessary.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
2.2 D 38 mpg 11.3 s 199 g/km
2.3 28 mpg 8.0 s 243 g/km

Real MPG average for a Mazda CX-7 (2007 – 2012)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

19–43 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Mazda CX-7 (2007 – 2012)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

My 2009 Mazda CX-7 has covered 60,000 miles - am I likely to run into issues with the timing chain?

I've just discovered that the 2009 Mazda CX-7 I've owned for over 6 years has a timing chain rather than cam belt. It's covered 60,000 miles and I'm now worried that issues with the chain, the VVT or turbo are highly likely. Is it possible to check the state of my engine or is it time to sell?
Presumably the 2.4 petrol? If the oil and filter have been changed regularly you shouldn't have any trouble with the chain. But it would be a very wise precaution to replace the turbo bearing oil feed and oil return pipes because they can get blocked with carbonised oil, starving the turbo of lubrication and cooling.
Answered by Honest John
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