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First Drive: Mazda CX-7 i SV

Base version of sexy crossover could use a bit more power.

by on Dec.21, 2010

The Mazda CX-7 now has a base model with a normally aspirated four cylinder.

From the time Mazda introduced it, the CX-7 seemed like a cool, sporty crossover, just with the wrong engine. The 2.3-liter turbocharged direct-injected four cylinder, such a wild and lusty engine in the MazdaSpeed 3 and the short-lived MazdaSpeed 6, was an odd choice for what is really a fairly big vehicle.

Fuel economy was also not a strong suit for the CX-7, which hit the market as a 2007 model. For 2010, Mazda responded to customer requests for a more fuel-efficient powertrain when it did a mild makeover of its sexy two-row crossover. Rated at 18 city and 25 highway with front-wheel drive, those numbers were hard to achieve because the little turbo seemed to have to work fairly hard to push the CX-7.

The new, base CX-7 comes with a normally aspirated 2.5-liter four cylinder. Rated at 161 horsepower and 161 lb.-ft. of torque, the new engine comes with a rating of 20/28 mpg.

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While all-wheel-drive is an option with the turbo motor, the less-powerful engine is front-wheel-drive only.

The refresh also includes mildly revised styling, inside and out, plus a revised structure and improved suspension.
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