Mazda CX-7s Ewa Beach HI

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Lamborghini Jn Chevrolet Mazda Maserati Lotus
(808) 831-2500
2999 N Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu, HI
 
Mike Mckenna'S Windward Volkswagen/Mazda
(808) 266-8000
105 Oneawa St
Kailua, HI
 
Mike Mckenna'S Windward Volkswagen/Mazda
(808) 266-8000
105 Oneawa St
Kailua, HI
 
Lamborghini Jn Chevrolet Mazda Maserati Lotus
(808) 831-2500
2999 N Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu, HI
 
Servco Mapunapuna Plaza
(808) 687-7600
Ewa Beach, HI
 
Mckenna Motors Windward Mazda
(808) 266-8000
749 Kailua Rd
Kailua, HI
 
Mckenna Motors Windward Mazda
(808) 266-8000
749 Kailua Rd
Kailua, HI
 
Cutter Family Auto Centers Cutter Automotive Mazda Volkswagen Mitsubishi Hy
(808) 442-9450
Wailuku, HI
 
Hilo-Kona Mazda Subaru
(808) 961-4411
1 Keaa St
Hilo, HI
 

2008 Mazda CX-7 Sport SUV

Derek Price   

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If ever a car deserved the

If ever a car deserved the "soul of a sports car" label, this is it.

Mazda CX7 (2008) - enlarge

What Was Tested: 2008 Mazda CX-7 Sport ($24,310). Price as tested: $24,310

Pros: If you care about driving satisfaction, it's the best SUV for the money, hands down. It feels like the Miata after visiting BALCO.

Cons: It only seats five people and gives Mazda another reason to run its gosh-awful "soul of a sports car" ads.

RATINGS: (1-10)
Style: 10
Performance: 10
Price: 9
Handling: 10
Ride: 8
Comfort: 8
Quality: 8
Overall: 10

It makes 244 horsepower and still gets 23 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

It makes 244 horsepower and still gets 23 mpg in combined city/highway driving.

Mazda CX7 (2008) - enlarge

I was beginning to think Mazda's sales pitch was wearing thin.

Can every Mazda have the soul of a sports car? Really? When I saw the company touting the Tribute, a fairly run-of-the-mill SUV, as sporty enough to race, I suspected things had gone too far. And when I saw them introducing their dull-as-grits minivan at the Laguna Seca raceway, I knew the whole marketing department needed psychological help.

If Mazda sold a dump truck, you can bet they'd call it the "dump truck with the soul of a sports car" and show it on TV zipping through the Utah desert beside a topless MX-5.

"Zoom zoom."

Whatever.

When I saw Mazda's same cheesy ads for the CX-7 SUV, I took them with a giant-economy-size dose of skepticism. Mid-size SUVs and true sports cars go together like Heather Mills and Paul McCartney. You can combine the two if you have enough money -- as with the Porsche Cayenne Turbo -- but if you cut cash out of the equation you can't possibly stay happy.

It has big fender flares and sweeping curves more evocative of a sexy coupe than a typical boxy SUV, making it look better than many more expensive vehicles.

It has big fender flares and sweeping curves more evocative of a sexy coupe than a typical boxy SUV, making it look better than many more expensive vehicles.

Mazda CX7 (2008) - enlarge

Then I drove the CX-7 and threw that whole theory out the window.

If ever a car deserved the "soul of a sports car" label, this is it. In the past few months I've driven several SUVs their makers are trying to sell as "sporty" -- the Honda CRV, Acura RDX, Pontiac Torrent and a few others -- but none of them came close to driving like a real sports car. This one did.

This is the kind of vehicle that telegraphs its intentions through your underpants. It's very predictable, very responsive, very fun. As soon as you drive this thing...

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