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Sporty Crossover: 2010 Mazda CX-7 Sport

Once you get behind the wheel of the crossover 2010 Mazda CX-7, you’ll get a sports-car like driving experience in a nimble, quiet, road-hugging package, writes Sally Miller Wyatt.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2010 Mazda CX-7 Sport

Hey all you carpoolers: Need a jolt to get out of your everyday rut? Mazda has a suggestion for you.

The wake-up call is their 2010 CX-7 Sport. It’s been classified as a crossover vehicle and probably not for the reason you would expect. Crossovers are usually a mix between sedans and SUVs, or SUVs and trucks, but this CX-7 just has to be a crossover between SUV and sports car.

Judging it by outside appearances, you think you’re getting a pretty standard, run-of-the-mill family SUV, with five-passenger seating for the tribe and cargo room for their gear.

Yup, that’s what you’re getting, alright.

But, once you get behind the wheel you’ll know this crossover is different. You’re getting Mazda’s sports-car like driving experience in a nimble, quiet, road-hugging package. Hello, carpool: This is your wake-up call. Get in and let’s go!

(Above): Interior view of the 2010 Mazda CX-7 Sport

Mazda’s CX-7’s come in four models: the SV, the Sport, a Touring version and a Grand Touring version. Our test car was the Sport, and it came with a base sticker price of $22,340. There were just a few options added – such as Sirius Satellite radio, fog lamps, and a retractable cargo cover – which boosted the final sticker up just a bit, but overall the car was very nicely appointed even without these added features.

Mazda offers buyers a choice of two engines with the CX-7 – a 2.5 liter or a 2.3-liter turbocharged version. We didn’t have the turbocharged model, and that turned out to be just fine with me; I thought we had enough gusto and performance as it was with the 2-5-liter.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2010 Mazda CX-7 Sport

Standard safety features on the CX-7 included advanced dual front air bags, front side impact air bags, Traction Control, power rack and pinion steering, anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist, and front wheel drive. In government crash tests, the cars receive five stars for their performance, both for driver and front passenger, and five stars in side impact crash tests. Now there’s some peace of mind.

Standard creature comforts included stain-hiding cloth seating, power windows and door locks, tilt and telescope steering wheel, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD with MP3 capability, and remote keyless entry.

Behind the wheel you will find a driver-oriented dashboard that has large dials for the climate control. Seats are firm and comfortable, and there is a good amount of leg room for front seat passengers, perhaps just a tad tight for rear seat passengers.

The rear cargo area is good sized, and items here can be held in place with a cargo net, and obscured from prying eyes with the retractable cargo cover.

(Above): Exterior view of the 2010 Mazda CX-7 Sport

Visibility to the sides and rear is great. However, I did find the side view mirrors were a little large and obstructive, and this bothered me when looking out to the front left or front right.

On the road, we found the Mazda CX-7 was really fun to drive. It is very responsive, easily maneuverable and quiet as a library at freeway speed.

You don’t have to give up the sports-car-like drive if you have a family that needs five seat belts. Just picture yourself in a Mazda CX-7 instead.

Today’s Test Drive – 2010 Mazda CX-7 Sport

Base Price: $22,340
Engine: 2.3 liter DOHC turbo-charged 16-valve 4cyl VVT
Transmission: Six-speed automatic sport with adaptive shift logic with manual shift mode
Horsepower: 244hp@5,000rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft. @ 2,500
Mileage: 17/C, 23/H (AWD)
Sally Miller Wyatt is a freelance writer who writes family-oriented auto reviews for newspapers, magazines and the Web.


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