Thursday, March 14, 2013

Used Car Review - Mazda CX-7 (2009-2012)

Myk Belmonte invites you to discover a vehicle discontinued a year ago which can be a great bargain.

2009-2012 Mazda CX-7

First things first, let us review the history of Mazda. The manufacturer had two sport utility vehicles in their line up prior to year 2006, but they were redressed Ford SUV's which wore Mazda badges. However, the automotive world was shocked when they rolled out the first all-original Mazda SUV, known as the CX-7. And with that, they say, the rest is history.

From the CX - with "C" denoting crossover - family of SUV's came the CX-7, which was slotted between the baby CX-5 (both SUV's are available in some markets) and the daddy CX-9. Introduced in 2006, it was no other Mazda SUV that had a twin from a different family (the preceding CX-9 was based on a Ford platform), and basically used the suspension of the MPV and 5, both siblings of the 7. It went away in 2012 to give way to the smaller and more efficient CX-5.

2009 saw the discontinuation of the Tribute in the Philippines and in the whole Asia-Pacific, with the CX-7 arriving in Philippine shores in that year. It was a hit among those who wanted to steer clear from the mainstream compacts and those who are sporty in their driving habits.

Value and Costs
Wanting some driving excitement at a lower price? Fear not, the CX-7 is one good candidate as units have prices between P950,000-P1,330,000. Remember these pointers: Late 2009 to 2010 units cost less than a million bucks, while low mileage examples would have higher price premium.

Having one is not a disaster to maintain, since it is comparable with other Japanese and Korean peers of the same time period and belonging to the same price bracket. Thankfully, we had this crossover years later since the first batch of CX-7's are problematic, especially when it comes to the engine and transmission.

Exterior and Interior
To sum up the exterior, it is a mixed bag. Handsome in the front, plain jane in the rear; but first we'll delve on the former. A fixture among Mazdas are the gaping front that does not scare off children and you'll say that it is a breath of fresh air since it breaks out to the norm of two-box concepts. The side shows its side arches which is imposing and adds stance. To speak about the rear portion, it does look plain and does not jive with the rest of the body.

For the sum, it looks like the interior was well designed and it is money well spent. Sure, matte plastics abound the vehicle but it gives the vehicle a futuristic feel. The gauges, if there is one thing to critique on, is the inconsistent color hues that is composed of a dull three-cluster instrumentation, a multi-information screen contemplated in white-on-black texts, and the climate and audio controls have the shades of red-on-black. This can be distracting and thus, it would be better to stick to one motif. Passenger space is not that impressive, especially that leg room is poor and the cargo space is not great.

Only one engine for the Philippine market was made available for public consumption, and it is a MZR 2,488cc that has 163hp at 6,000rpm and 205Nm at 2,000rpm. Despite the power plant being utilized by the second generation 6, it has 5 horses less and 21Nm less torques, which can be a burden for the engine (which I will emphasize on it later). While keeping it below 2,000rpm is a manageable feat inside the city, out-of-town trips poses a trouble since the engine, when kept in the mid to high revs, can be stressed no thanks to the rather bulky body.

Driving Impressions
If you like your handling sports car like, then this SUV fits the bill. Steering is not stiff, which is a good thing since switching lanes can be done with confidence. Driving position and maneuverability is similar to a sedan, which we are very thankful for that. But do not attempt to overtake that slowpoke bus in front of you, since even when left in D, is hesitant to let you pass and move forward. It drives like a sports car but the performance does not contemplate it.

This crossover SUV brings out the compromise of both an SUV and a sedan. It will bring you hours of driving fun and you can take it over the rainy season, but those who want some adrenalin rush should look elsewhere. The choice is yours.

The Good:
  • A head turner
  • Drives like a sports car
  • Car like comfort
The Bad:
  • Not that roomy at all
  • No sports car fast
  • No all wheel drive or turbo version
The Pick: Any decently maintained unit, you have no choice

Engine: 2,488cc MZR I4 gasoline
Power: 163hp @ 6,000rpm
Torque: 205Nm @ 2,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 8-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P1,495,000
Price (Now): P950,000-P1,330,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Captiva, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Toyota RAV4
On Sale: 2009-2012

Mazda Quezon Avenue - (02) 712-3355
Mazda Greenhills - (02) 722-1102
Mazda Alabang - (02) 772-3618

Photos courtesy of

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