Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive Review: Mazda CX-7 - 1st Report
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Our Fleet Test Drive Review: Mazda CX-7 - 1st Report

Date: 30 June 2010   |   Author: Tristan Young

[3] Overly notchy gearbox

Mazda took range simplification to the extreme with the CX-7 and has maintained the concept with the recently facelifted model.

Originally launched in 2007 as a petrol-only car, at the end of last year the Japanese brand finally added a 172hp 2.2-litre diesel engine to the line-up, but at the same time dropped the single 2.3-litre turbo petrol unit. The switch to diesel means fleets can now actually look to add the stylish, sporty 4x4 to their choice lists.

If that wasn't enough to tempt buyers, Mazda is only offering the car in a spec-laden single trim level with one factory option - metallic paint. We'll be running the recently facelifted model for a year to see if the move to a single variant was the right one. And initial observations are promising.

Having just moved out of a German-branded car with run-flat tyres and sports suspension (the BMW 520d), I can report that the ride comfort in the Mazda is excellent. But it's better than that - the CX-7 is not only comfortable, there's also little body roll and precise steering, helping turn-in to corners. It's a near-perfect set-up for a sporty 4x4. And it should be pointed out that this is a four-wheel drive car and not a faux-4x4 that is actually front-drive, which would leave you embarrassed at the first sign of snow, although hopefully it will be some time before we need to test how good the 4x4 system is.

The Mazda CX-7 looks the part too. A couple of my neighbours have commented on how good it looks, although they've also followed the praise with the statement, "and what is it?", which shows how few are around and hopefully how good the residuals will be.

If there are a couple of negative points, one would be that I hope the overly notchy gearbox loosens up with miles, while a more pressing concern is the width of the windscreen A-pillar that blocks your vision at junctions. At least after a couple of near misses I now take extra care with this.

Hopefully, that will be the last time I have to mention the A-pillar and over the next year I can report on how the car copes with everything I can throw at it. With two kids and three dogs it can be quite a challenge being both the family and company car, a challenge the Mazda so far feels up to.

Mazda CX-7 2.2 diesel 5dr manual
Claimed combined
Our average
P11D price£26,515
Model price range£26,515
CO2 (tax) 199g/km (31%)
BIK 20/40% per month£136/£273
Service interval12,500mls
Insurancegroup 32
Warranty3yrs/unltd mls
Boot space (min/max)455/1348 litres
Engine size/power2184cc/173hp
Top speed/0-62mph124mph/11.3secs
Why we’re running itRevised CX-7 now (only)
has a diesel variant
PositiveLooks, ride comfort, agility
NegativeGearbox, A-pillar size