The sport-utility crossover
The crossover category is in full effect. The 2011 and 2012 model years have seen numerous new additions and many existing players have been given the once-over. It's no secret: this is the segment of today and, more likely than not, the future.
This should at least be the case for the North American markets where consumers continue to downsize to right-sized vehicles. It pains me to say it, but station wagons are officially out and (no pain at all) minivans are hanging on by a thread. Although, there will always be members of these categories on our roads, they have and will realistically always be far outnumbered by CUVs.
As far as a definition is concerned, a CUV is a blend of numerous other segments rolled into one versatile, useful, one-stop-shop vehicle. The CUV recipe is always the same, but it's the dosing of the ingredients that wholly define the final product. Case in point: The Mazda CX-7.
From any angle, it is quite obvious that the CX-7's influences were not the Tribute, but the Mazda3 and RX-8. Herein lies the most appealing aspect of the CX-7: its styling. The CUV's profile is sculpted where barely a straight line can be found. The tester's 19" wheels are the best way to do the wonderfully flared arches any justice. The base 17" and 18" wheels are fine design-wise, but nothing says "dynamic" like 19s.
In GT trim, the CX-7 gains a few pieces of chrome, fog lights and HID headlamps. Trivial as some of these features may be, they help elevate the physical appearance of what is, one way or another, a handsome and uniquely designed CUV.
I never contradict myself, so I might as well do so now, as we should never say never. The CX-7's exterior is surpassed only in attractiveness by its cabin. Much like its big brother, the CX-9, Mazda has gone to great lengths to make passengers appreciate their surroundings. Without trying to reinvent the dashboard with funky, out-of-this-world shapes, the CX-7's user interface is elegant, functional and almost refreshingly simple.
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2011 Mazda CX-7 Specifications
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