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2008 Mazda CX-7 At-A-Glance

2008 Mazda CX-7The Mazda CX-7 crossover sport-utility vehicle is geared toward driving enthusiasts who desire a highly styled, roomy and affordable performance SUV. Featuring stunning exterior styling with emotional surface expression and sweeping character lines, the CX-7 is a clean break from the fleet of traditional SUVs currently offered. But do not let its good looks fool you. The CX-7 is powered by a 244-horsepower, 2.3-liter turbocharged engine centered around performance, and, like all Mazdas, has the soul of a sportscar.

“CX-7 skillfully blends sports car verve with SUV practicality. It is a vehicle that brings together performance and design like never before; it’s inviting to look at, entertaining to drive, and fun to use – the complete package,” said Program Manager Shunsuke Kawasaki. “The four-cylinder CX-7 offers more horsepower and torque than most of its V6-equipped competitors, at nearly the same fuel efficiency and at a much lower price tag.”

The CX-7 is just right for adventurous couples seeking a new challenge and driven by the urge for discovery. “It offers enough flexibility to load your gear, ample enough power to get you and your gear to where you need to go and stylish enough to be parked in the first row of valet at an upscale restaurant,” said Kawasaki.


Chief Designer Iwao Koizumi, whose previous works include the successful MAZDA6 and the 1995 RX-01 showcar, names the design theme, “advanced frontier.” CX-7 takes Mazda and its Zoom-Zoom image into an area it has never before ventured.

Noted Koizumi, “My idea for the CX-7 design was to combine dynamic movement, speedy shapes, and a bold presence into one passionate statement. Mazda has the sports car heritage to offer a crossover SUV with a strong and distinctive appearance.”

The 66-degree windshield angle is sleeker than many sportscars, let alone SUVs. Distinct character lines run through the A-pillars and along the edges of the hood to the front fascia. A five-pointed grille and prominent front fenders reveal a clear Mazda family identity.

The side profile sports an aggressively rising belt line, a curved roof and prominent fender arches, producing Mazda’s unique signature. A tapered cabin rests securely on the lower body’s broad shoulders. From the rear, the detailed round motif tail lamp and large dual exhaust outlets also emphasize the Zoom-Zoom sportscar feature.

This distinctive overall exterior design is well balanced with the aerodynamics of the vehicle. CX-7’s shape is aerodynamically efficient with best-in-class performance for coefficient of drag (.34 cd). Ribbed covers attached to the center under-floor area are especially helpful in optimizing aerodynamics.

While it provides outstanding aerodynamic performance, this exterior design does not compromise craftsmanship. Panel and component part-gaps are flush and tight. Wiper arms are configured to match the surrounding cowl design and minimize wind noise. Attention to detail makes this car what it is.


An advanced and sporty image was pursued in designing the interior. The instrument panel consists of a unique ‘double-roof’ structure, in which a small ‘roof’ over the meter cluster is positioned just in front of a large ‘roof’ that extends across the entire instrument panel bringing together the driver and front passenger. Helping lure drivers inside is a three-dial instrument cluster, a console supporting the shifter within close reach, three-spoke steering wheel and firmly contoured front bucket seats, all finished with a high quality feel.

Detailed attention is given to the entire interior, including the cargo area. For the two-tone trim, the side surface two-tone graphic reaching from the front doors all the way to the cargo space stylishly harmonizes with the kicked-up beltline of the exterior side view.

A high level of craftsmanship completes the interior design. For example, the steering wheel and shift knob are covered by high quality leather specially contoured for optimum tactile feel. The ventilation dials, glove box door knob and door armrests were all designed to provide a high quality look and feel. Soft-trim graining was engineered for perfect color match, minimal reflectivity and low gloss. Mazda’s attention to detail is visible upon first glance into the vehicle.


The chief designer mapped out the CX-7 with ample space for five occupants. The rear seat not only carries three passengers in comfort, it also splits and folds 60:40 to increase cargo capacity and versatility.

To venture far beyond normal utility expectations, CX-7 has a cargo floor that is significantly longer than competitive models at approximately 70-inches with a flat load surface and a lip to prevent luggage from sliding forward. With the rear seats in use, the cargo length is an impressive 39-inches and can accommodate three full-size golf bags. Rear seatback releases are located in the side of the cargo area for easy fold down from the rear. One side of the reversible trunk board is made of plastic, enabling the owner to carry soiled items without staining the carpet.

Thorough research aimed at determining what personal possessions young couples are most likely to carry resulted in glove box, floor console, and door pocket designs that accommodate life’s paraphernalia. For example, the lockable center console can swallow a compact laptop computer and space is provided for coins and sunglasses. Front door pockets are handy locations for beverage bottles. Two cup holders in the center console offer a stable place to carry large containers without interfering with shift lever operation. A pocket attached to the front seatback is ideal for maps and brochures.


The heart of every Mazda is its spirited powertrain. Under the hood of the CX-7 is a version of the turbocharged and intercooled 2.3-liter four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine, similar to that fitted to the MAZDASPEED3. Engineered to deliver high performance at all speeds, along with low exhaust emissions and excellent fuel economy, Mazda’s MZR 2.3 DISI (Direct Injection Spark Ignition) turbo-charged engine produces an enthusiastic 244 horsepower at 5,000 rpm in the CX-7. For 2008, the CX-7’s engine has been re-programmed and fitted with a new catalyst, making premium fuel now recommended, rather than required.

Key building blocks are aluminum block and head construction with forged internal components — crankshaft and connecting rods — for long-lasting durability. Balance shafts curb noise and vibration. A large air-to-air intercooler and direct fuel injection cool temperature inside the cylinder. Shifting gasoline’s change in state from liquid to vapor from the intake manifold to the cylinder provides the substantial cooling effect. The low charge temperature permits use of high compression ratio — 9.5:1 — which boosts low- and mid-range torque by approximately 10 percent over conventional turbo engines.

All CX-7s feature a standard turbocharger. The refined area of the turbine inlet port enhances throttle response at low rpm and diminishes boost lag. When the driver nudges the throttle, acceleration is reminiscent of a much larger displacement engine, one approaching twice the size of the 2.3-liter MZR engine, but without the extra weight that hampers agility and the extra consumption that boosts emissions and operating costs.
The MZR 2.3 DISI turbo engine’s torque peaks at a low 2,500 rpm when 258 lb-ft of torque is available. It is tuned so that muscular feel begins at 2,000 rpm, and maintains at least 99 percent of the maximum torque all the way to 5,000 rpm, where peak horsepower is delivered.
Low exhaust emissions are achieved by connecting the catalytic converter directly to the turbocharger to shorten the time required for the catalyst to become effective. The CX-7 meets stringent federal Tier 2 Bin 5 and California LEV-II emissions standards.


Advanced transmission and drive components pass the engine’s power cleanly to the pavement. The six-speed Sport AT automatic transmission provides the full manual control demanded by assertive drivers. Shifts are crisp, in keeping with CX-7’s sportscar character.

Two drivelines are offered: Front-Wheel Drive or Mazda’s Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive. The latter system uses a computer-controlled coupling integrated with the rear differential to deliver up to half the available torque to the rear wheels on demand. Sensors monitor engine information, individual wheel speeds, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) operation, and the CX-7’s standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system to optimize torque distribution. Whether the driving conditions are dry and fast or slippery and moderately paced, exceptional handling is assured.


A light, stiff unibody provides the sound foundation for CX-7’s smooth ride and agile handling. Computer-Aided-Engineering analysis was used to optimize this structure, delivering high torsional and bending rigidity with minimal weight.

In front, a perimeter frame mounted to the unibody through six rubber isolators supports the powertrain, the engine-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering and a low friction MacPherson strut suspension system. The multilink rear suspension consists of one trailing arm and two lateral locating members per side. To minimize cargo-compartment intrusion, the rear spring is positioned between the lower lateral member and the cross member that anchors rear chassis hardware to the unibody. The damper is located between the wheel hub and the unibody to provide excellent motion control with minimal friction. Coil springs and anti-roll bars are an integral part of both suspension systems. All-season P235/60R18 tires mounted on stylish aluminum wheels are standard.

CX-7’s four-wheel ventilated disc brake system integrates the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Traction Control System (TCS), and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) functions. It also collaborates with the Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive to prevent wheel spin on slippery surfaces.


CX-7 earned the government’s highest possible safety rating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the CX-7 a five-star rating in both frontal and side-impact crash tests. It also received a four-star rollover rating for both the front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions. No SUV currently on sale has received better ratings from the government than the CX-7.
CX-7’s rigid unibody uses the Mazda Advanced Impact Energy Distribution and Absorption System to realize high levels of collision safety and helps to protect occupants in various accident situations, including front, side and rear impacts. The body’s frame sections are large in size and as straight as possible, high-strength steel is used where it is effective, and subframe connections help absorb collision energy. Stamping the side frame from a single tailored blank minimizes center pillar deformation during a side impact.

The fuel tank is surrounded by substantial members to guard against leakage in a major rear collision. Six air bags (frontal and side for front occupants, side curtain for all outboard occupants) are standard. A special sensor anticipates a roll-over and inflates the side-curtain air bags early to guard against injury, maintaining inflation for approximately six seconds to help keep limbs out of harm’s way. Front occupant restraints have pretensioner and load-limiter mechanisms to maximize their effectiveness.


To delight, the Mazda CX-7 offers a wealth of entertainment gear. The CX-7 offers AM, FM, and CD play capability as standard equipment. Sirius satellite radio is available as an option. To further support driving pleasure and convenience, a touch-screen DVD-based navigation system with voice command and a rear-view camera system are available to select as an option. In addition, buyers may choose a BOSE® premium sound system package that includes nine speakers, approximately 240 watts of amplification, a six-CD changer and CENTERPOINT® surround-sound system that offers five-channel digital imaging, to create a true premium audio entertainment.

Another convenient feature is the Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System. Without removing the card-shaped device from one’s pocket, doors can be unlocked and the engine can be started (or stopped). Also, the front-seat power windows can be operated from outside the car, and the optional moonroof can be opened and closed. To maximize security, an automatic break-in alarm is available as an option.


CX-7 is offered in three trim levels. Some of the highlights of the standard features are manual air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, retractable key, cruise control, and six air bags. Also standard on all CX-7s is an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and a Traction Control System (TCS).

The Touring edition adds leather trim (seats, steering wheel, shift knob), power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and a retractable cargo cover. In top-line Grand Touring trim, CX-7 is equipped with features such as leather with a black sport seat stripe, high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, fog lamps, body-color mirrors, chrome door handles and automatic interior climate control.

All 2008 Mazdas come with a roadside assistance program. With a call to a toll-free number, owners can access roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, a comprehensive three-year/36,000-mile warranty covers every part on the vehicle except those subject to normal wear. Also, all 2008 models receive a five-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty and a five-year/unlimited-mileage corrosion warranty.

Source: Mazda. By JSC Editor

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