Haven’t we seen this car before?
We have, as CAR Online first drove the US-spec CX-7 back in August 2006. Now Mazda has released more details for the European model. At launch there's only one engine with one spec level: the £23,960 2.3, with the same 256bhp petrol engine found in the Mazda 6 MPS. It's dripping with equipment - you get 18-inch wheels, leather seats, a BOSE sound system, and a multitude of acronyms to keep you safe, including ABS, EBD, EBA, DSC and TCS. The only factory option is metallic paint for £375, meaning no automatic ‘box is available on the petrol.
So no diesel yet?
No, but CAR Online already knows the Japanese manufacturer is rushing to ready a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel. It’ll drive through a six-speed manual gearbox or five-speed auto. However, it won’t arrive until late summer 2008, and will command an expected £1000 premium over the petrol. In the meantime the 280lb ft offered from the 2.3 petrol should be able to pull the 1770kg car with sufficient vigour. According to Mazda, it averages 27.7mpg and puts out 243g/km of CO2. By comparison, an automatic diesel Vauxhall Antara does 32.8mpg and pumps out 238g/km.
So who will actually buy the CX-7?
Well Mazda apparently has a specific market in mind. The marketing people say they are ‘increasingly using psychographic profiling to determine those people that have a Zoom-Zoom spirit or attitude to life – regardless of their age, gender, etc’. Err, the usual tosh about active lifestyles, then. However, the Mazda’s design is appealing with a much more sporting appearance than many boxy 4x4s in the same market, helped by the 66deg screen rake. Mazda reckons it'll sell around 1500 per year.
When can I get a CX-7?
If you order now, the Japanese-made car should be delivered in early September. Just remember that despite the name, it’s only a five-seater. But whilst we may be cynical of Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom campaign, our first impressions of the CX-7 in America were very promising. The four-wheel drive system can send 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels, and now the car has been tuned for European tastes it should be even better. Come back to CAR Online tomorrow for our first drive of the European-spec car.