New CX-7 is attractive and efficient

Mazda CX-7
Mazda CX-7

IT has been described as the best looking 4x4 and this year it also won a top tow car award so it is quite clear that Mazda’s CX-7 has a lot going for it especially now it has a diesel engine that should have been available right from launch writes Bryan Longworth.

For when the vehicle first went on sale it only had a thirsty petrol engine which limited its appeal compared to the competition all of which had diesel engines available.

But that is now a thing of the past and the Mazda sports crossover with its 173bhp 2.2-litre diesel engine is very competitive with really handsome styling giving it plenty of street appeal.

There is just one version of this Mazda available, the CX-7 Sport Tech costing £27,580, and I notice that the judges of the towcar competition organised by leading motoring and caravan magazines described it as “one of the best 4x4 towcars you can buy for sensible money.”

The CX-7 which reminded me a bit of the Honda CR-V that is also a competitor is very well specified with 19-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, xenon headlights and leather seats that are heated up front although they don’t get as warm as most heated seats.

The four wheel drive system distributes up to 50 per cent of engine torque to the rear wheels to maintain traction and there is a six speed manual gearbox which was a but stiff when engaging first.

There is generous space for five passengers and their baggage and the only possible problem is that there is no seven seat availability which purchasers of such vehicles often want.

Top speed is 124mph, zero to 62mph takes 11.3 seconds with combined fuel consumption being 37.7mpg and CO2 emissions at 199g/km putting it in Road Fund Licence Band J.

On the road the CX-7 is more like a normal road car to drive rather than some of the big off-roaders which adds to its appeal although I would have preferred a bit more feel about the steering.

The car also had car-like handling and I found the vehicle overtaking warning lights in the exterior driving mirror extremely useful especially for motorway driving because they eliminate the overtaking blind spot.

This Mazda is an ideal car for winter driving and it is also a good time to buy one because dealers currently have a special finance offer.

Apart from the lack of seven seat availability the CX-7 is a 4x4 for those owners not interested in big butch off-roaders but wanting plenty of style and luxury.

My Verdict: An imposing and stylish 4x4.