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Riches to rags

31.07.2009 | Oleksiy Stepanov

Mazda CX-7

Japanese automakers are trying to amaze the world with every new car. According to the concept of Mazda experts, the latest CX-7 should be a combination of a SUV sports crossover, a station wagon and a sports car with heightened clearance.
The design of the CX-7 is typical for Mazda with its predatory headlights and inflated wheel housings. Pretty elegant for an off-road vehicle. Far from a full-sized pickup truck that dominate the streets these days.
Sitting in a CX-7 is quite comfortable: the back and front are spacious, the interior design is sporty and dynamic and all buttons and devices are within arms reach. What is rather intriguing is that the speedometer is scaled to 240 km/h, though the maximum speed of the CX-7 is only 190 km/h. But we must be carping.
Meanwhile, the decorative plastic details of the interior did not live up to our expectations. It is black and at first glance seems to be soft, but turned out to be stiff at the touch.
The trunk of theCX-7 has a capacity of 455 liters. The back seats fold in and out at a 60:40 ratio. If to fold it up completely you have 1,348 liters of space for your luggage. Not bad, but for such a large vehicle this is clearly not the limit.
The 2.3-liter turbocharged gas engine generates a maximum capacity of 260 hp. At low rpms the engine may initially seem rather disharmonious. Generally speaking, the CX-7 slightly jerks when accelerating. At 2,000 rpms, the engine is silent. Any higher and the vehicles engine roars like that of a sports car.
When accelerating you fall back into the comfortable grip of the seat as the CX-7 hits 100 km/hr in 8.3 seconds! The vehicle consumes approximately 11.5 liters of gas per 100 km in a combined cycle.
Getting a feel for the speed of a CX-7 is somewhat challenging. As soon as you take your eyes of the speedometer it is very easy to fall into the traps of the highway police radar. Such low speed sensitivity is thanks to an ingeniously designed suspension. The vehicle handles the bumpy Ukrainian roads quite well. The only drawback, however, is that a driver can hear when they go over a bump. The impressive stereo system designed by Bose especially for the CX-7 can help handling the problem.
Driving this far from compact vehicle is easy and predictable. Turning is smooth. As you accelerate the steering wheel seems to become heavier, which is very helpful when driving on imperfect roads. The vehicle is fully controllable even at 190 clicks per hour.
The electronic stabilization system deserves special credits. It works well when braking during sharp and quick turns, though it is impossible to deactivate this option. There is a special button to shut down the system, but the system automatically turns on when the vehicle hits 30 km/h, no matter how many times you push it. Obviously, Japanese engineers did not foresee the possibility of drifting on slippery road surfaces.
Although the Mazda CX-7 was designed for cross-country driving, the main thing is not to overdo with that. The driving gear of the CX-7 is not permanent. The maximum it is capable of is transferring 50% of its torque to the rear axle. Its short-stroke suspension is also not suitable for driving in off-road conditions. Of course, it will conquer mud roads, but not like a true SUV. So, it is not worth driving this vehicle in swamplands. Its natural place is on highways, city streets and dirt roads leading to the summer cottage.

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