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2011 Mazda CX-7 GT Review

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Rob Rothwell
Turbocharged engine impresses
I’ve talked previously about the importance of first impressions and how significantly they influence whether the chequebook is pulled or the potential purchase is pulled. By “first impressions”, I’m not talking about a salesman’s penchant for polyester but rather what the vehicle in question communicates at first sight, followed by first drive.

In the case of this week’s tester, I drew some fairly positive first impressions within moments of espying the 2011 Mazda CX-7 GT, and settling behind its wheel.

Front fenders and grille add flair
The nose of the CX-7 is eye-catching, thanks to the vehicle’s sharply defined front fenders and its gaping lower grille. I like the arrangement for the most part, particularly the pronounced fenders. The remainder of this crossover SUV is pleasant enough but fairly typical of the segment.

2011 Mazda CX-7 GT front view
The nose of the CX-7 is eye-catching, thanks to the vehicle’s sharply defined front fenders and its gaping lower grille. (Photo: Rob Rothwell/

On the practical side, the CX-7 is a nice size. It’s sufficiently large to comfortably carry four adults – maybe five in a pinch – while not feeling like a blimp in the Costco lot. Personally, I wouldn’t go any smaller in the crossover segment, and unless there was a defined need, larger would be out of the question too.

A generously sized cargo bay of 1,658 litres appears when the rear seat of the CX-7 is dropped, which nearly doubles the 848 available litres when the seatback is raised. These figures provide realistic room for camping gear and recreational goods – or perhaps a large Fido. Beyond sufficient room and plenty of practicality, the interior environs look and feel good.

Attractive cabin noted in first impressions
Outside of premium marques, I’m not sure anyone in the compact crossover segment supplies a better-designed or more visually appealing cabin. Mazda’s definitely got an edge here. The clean, uncluttered yet simple functionality of my tester’s instrument panel and switchgear really appealed to me.

Checkout the heat/ventilation/air-conditioning controls – does it get any better or easier? The basic audio controls were located on the steering wheel but secondary adjustments, such as bass and treble, required some paging through the touch-screen of my navigation-equipped GT tester. Not ideal, but the standard it seems these days.

Interior comfort is commendable for the most part. I found adequate head and legroom in all seating positions, but felt that the seat cushions up front were on the short side. I have long legs and really notice when I’ve been short-changed under the thighs; overall though, the seats were notably supportive and more than suitable for long durations behind the wheel.

2011 Mazda CX-7 GT interior
Interior comfort is commendable for the most part. (Photo: Rob Rothwell/
Rob Rothwell
Rob Rothwell
Automotive expert