Mazda CX-7 adds sporty crossover
LOS ANGELES -- Mazda executives have declared that the CX-7, unveiled at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, has the "soul of a sports car."
Then again, they said the same thing about the middle-of-the-road Tribute crossover and MPV minivan. But there might be a bit more truth to the declaration this time around.
The CX-7 has the same turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine as the revvy MazdaSpeed6 - although the CX-7 version is detuned to 244 hp. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard traction control and dynamic stability control systems keep the wheels from spinning. The CX-7 seats five; there is no third-row seat available.
Other shared parts in the CX-7 include the front suspension design from the Japan-market MPV and the rear suspension from the Mazda5 minivan. The rear differential, active torque coupling, and prop-shaft components are similar to those from the MazdaSpeed6, although they are not the exact same design, said CX-7 program manager Shunsuke Kawasaki.
It took 17 months from program approval until Job 1, which Kawasaki says is a record development time for a Mazda vehicle done from scratch.
The CX-7 also features sportier styling than most SUVs. The windshield carries a 66- degree angle, more akin to coupes than trucks. Interesting touches include a reversible floor in the cargo area to place soiled items on a plastic flooring, as well as a two-level dashboard, designed to hide the vast expanse of plastic that comes with a fast windshield.
Mazda expects to sell 40,000 units annually. Pricing will be announced at the Detroit auto show, although it is expected to be competitive to the Nissan Murano. The CX-7 will go on sale in the spring.
Mazda CX-7 facts
Wheelbase: 108.3 in.
Length: 184.0 in.
Width: 73.7 in.
Height: 64.8 in.
Base engine: 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 244 @ 5,000 rpm
Torque: 258 lbs.-ft. @ 2,500 rpm
On-sale: Spring 2006