namibia Adventure Safari MAZDA CX-7 2.3 TURBO INDIVIDUAL
Okay, you’ve decided you want to buy a compact SUV, but you’re looking for one that’s different. Yes, it obviously needs to be spacious and have all-wheel drive, but it should also be “fast and furious”. What do you buy? Easy – Mazda CX-7
They call it “the red mist”, and it has been responsible for the demise of many wannabe racers.
What is it? Well, it is that urge to win at any cost that tends to cloud your judgment when you need it most. It’s the reason you keep your foot on the accelerator when you should be pounding the brake. It’s the reason you keep pushing the limit when your vehicle has run out of grip, and you’ve run out of skill. It is also the reason why you should stay away from the Mazda CX-7 if you have a tendency to be too competitive.
The CX-7, you see, encourages enthusiastic driving. It looks like an SUV, but it is a sports car at heart. To realise this, you need only glance at its engine specifications. Its 2,3-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol powerplant generates a whopping 175 kW at 5000 r/min and 350 Nm of torque at 2500 r/min. It will propel the SUV from 0 to 100 km/h in 9,4 seconds, and allow it to reach a top speed of 181 km/h.
More impressive than its speed, though, is the way the CX-7 handles. It isn’t simply an SUV with a turbocharger dropped into it. It has the handling to make the most of all that power. The vehicle’s suspension, coupled with all-wheel drive, does exceptionally well on both tar and gravel.
Since the CX-7 is so sporty, does that mean it can’t handle off-road conditions? If you’re in the market for a fast SUV like the CX-7, you probably have no intention of tackling Baboon’s Pass. And that’s a good thing, but Mazda’s SUV can go farther off road than you’d expect – something we noticed during our Namibian safari. With 208mm of ground clearance, it handled the rocky sections extremely well.
Compact SUVs have garnered a reputation as vehicles for sober and sensible buyers with families – and with good reason. Generally speaking, they offer good value for money. They’re reasonably priced compared to many other vehicles. They boast comfortable interiors, decent entertainment systems and solid safety features. And they offer a commanding driving position and loads of luggage space.
But does that make compact SUVs boring? Definitely not! The Mazda CX-7 is proof that you can have your turbocharged cake and eat it. Drive it carefully, and it is as tame and docile as a well-trained Labrador. Put your foot down, and the CX-7’s wild side is revealed.
The CX-7 shows that you can buy a practical family vehicle and still allow yourself a bit of fun. Who could say no to that?
The CX-7 is Mazda’s first foray into the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) market. It’s been around since 2006, and received a facelift in 2010.
Overall, the CX-7 received a very positive response. Like most of Mazda’s new vehicles, it offers a great driving experience at a competitive price. Its biggest problem, though, is that a turbodiesel version isn’t offered in South Africa. An oilburner is available in Europe, but unfortunately, we can’t get it here.
If you don’t need a turbocharged SUV, however, a more affordable version of the CX-7 is available in SA. It has a naturally aspirated 2,5-litre petrol engine that generates 120 kW of power and 205 Nm of torque.
Trivia: A smaller version of the CX-7, the CX-5, was recently unveiled. The crossover is the first vehicle to sport Mazda’s new Skyactiv technologies.
MAZDA CX-7 2.3 TURBO INDIVIDUAL
Engine: 2,3-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged
Power: 175 kW @ 5000 r/min
Torque: 350 Nm @ 2500 r/min
Gearbox: Six-speed automatic
4WD: All-wheel drive with active torque split
Ground clearance: 208mm
Price: R455 630