Available with either front-drive or all-wheel-drive, Mazda’s CX-7 got a bit of a facelift in 2009 and, for 2011, continued on as a steady, if not spectacular performer for the company. This vintage of the CX-7 is essentially a carryover from 2010.
While the CX-7 didn’t share its platform with any Ford products, it did feature an interesting assortment of components from other Mazda products; the MPV, Mazda6, and Mazda5 all contributed to the CX-7 at one time or another, and, in 2011 it was offered with either a normally-aspirated 2.5 litre four cylinder, or a turbocharged 2.3 litre four–banger. Two transmissions were available: five-speed and six-speed automatic with manual shift mode, and there were three basic trim levels: GX, GS, and GT. It did not benefit from Mazda’s SkyActiv fuel saving technology.
The CX-7’s level of refinement was a cut above the Ford-based Mazda Tribute, but it had less cargo space and was not available with either a V6 engine or manual transmission. As well, the turbo models were considerably thirstier than their normally-aspirated stablemates – 12.2 L/100 km in town versus 10.4.
High standard equipment level, with things like 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, tire pressure monitoring system, heated mirrors, rear privacy glass, rain-sensing wipers, intermittent rear wiper, automatic headlights, cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, trip computer with fuel consumption gauge, keyless entry, cloth seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, floor mats, and CD/MP3 stereo all coming with the base GX. You could also get extras like larger 18-inch wheels and tires, climate control system, leather interior, heated front seats, and a blind spot monitoring system.
The CX-7 wasn’t – isn’t – the roomiest SUV out there. Fold down all the seats, and you got some 1658 litres of storage room, which was more than the Mitsubishi RVR, for example, but less than the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, or Chev Equinox. Five adults will fit, but it’s snug, and the back floor is not completely flat with the seats folded down.
No safety recalls are on file for this year of the CX-7, but the US National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has a dozen technical service bulletins on file. These include the ubiquitous headlight lens fogging problem, a wiring issue with the airbag system resulting in random illumination of the airbag warning light, a “clunk/bang” noise when the car is moved after sitting for a lengthy period of time, and a “rattling” noise coming from the engine due to a possibly loose timing chain. Seven complaints from owners are registered with NHTSA. A sampling: “four headlamps and a battery within two years of owning the vehicle is just not right”, “air conditioner made loud banging noises and does not get cold”, and “the windshield makes a cracking noise as the vehicle warms up”.
Pretty good marks from Consumer Reports here. Aside from a problematic climate control system, the 2011 CX-7 gets good marks right across the board, earning a “better than average” grade from this organization. Some comments from owners: “cheap touches throughout the cabin, especially the headliner”, “perfect for a family of four”, and “definitely not a Subaru”.
As far as marketing researcher, J.D. Power, is concerned, this vintage of the CX-7 is “better than most” when it comes to overall quality and predicted reliability, but just average in terms of its overall performance and design. More comments from owners: “I like the smooth ride – better than my last car, the Honda CR-V”, “paint quality chips easily”, and “rear seats are cramped with no legroom”.
From a base price of about $26,500 new in 2011, the CX-7 has held its value well. Depending upon the model and equipment level, you’re looking at anywhere from the high ‘teens to the mid-$20,000 neighbourhood. The non-turbo GX is about $4000 – $5000 cheaper than the turbo models, and the top of the range GT has dropped in value by only about $5000 – $6000 from new.
2011 was also the penultimate year for the CX-7. After 2012, it was history, replaced in Mazda’s line-up by the CX-5.
2011 Mazda CX-7
Original Base Price: $26,495; Black Book: $22,200 – $24,950; Red Book: $17,500 – $23,650
Engine: 2.5 litre four cylinder & turbocharged 2.3 litre four cylinder
Horsepower/Torque: 161 hp / 161 ft. lb; & 244 hp / 258 ft. lb.
Transmission: Five & six-speed automatic w. optional manual shift mode
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 10.4 city/7.2 (Non-turbo model) Regular gas.
Alternatives: Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Chev Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, Mitsubishi RVR, Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute, Nissan Rogue, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Dodge Journey, Acura RDX, Subaru Forester