Mazda Readies The CX-7. But Will Anyone Notice?

Posted by: David Kiley on January 5, 2006

cx7.jpg

Mazda North American Operations has revealed pictures and details of its CX-7 crossover SUV. The pictures certainly show that Mazda, which is controlled by Ford, is sticking to its niche strategy. It’s hardly a mainstream, segment busting design. But the CX-7, while a slick looking design, from the outside view anyway, will have trouble finding its place in an increasingly crowded marketplace for crossovers.

Pricing, which will be key to it selling decently, will be released closer to the Spring launch. If I compare it to others on the market right now, I’d point to a broad swath of entries including the Nissan Murano, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Rav4 and even the BMW X3. I add the Bimmer here because the powerplant sounds pretty darn good. It’s got a turbocharged and intercooled 2.3-liter four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine that produce s 244-horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and tuned to deliver 258 lb-ft of torque at a low 2,500 rpm. The $36,000 BMW X3 has a 3.0 liter engine producing just 225 horsepower and 215 lbs-ft of torque. And the CX-7 isn’t expected to price anywhere near the BMW.

Mazda reported overall sales off 2% last year. And while the Mazda3 did relatively well, other relatively recent Mazda models didn’t hold up. And that’s concerning. The RX-8, for example, was off 38%, and Mazda6 sales were off from the year before. The somewhat odd Mazda5, a European style microvan/wagon, hasn’t turned many heads, and was a questionable launch in the first place.

At 263,000 sales last year, Mazda isn’t a small player, but it never quite makes it as a first choice buy with enough customers. POart of the problem is a limited ad budget that gives it a small share of voice relative to its goliath rivals Toyota, Honda, Nissan. The iconic Miata roadster, of course, is the exception to that rule. Anyone considering a roadster under $30,000 pretty much starts with a Miata.

The CX-7 will be a welcome addition to a smart, fun-to-drive lineup of models. Heretofore, the only crossover SUV Mazda has had is the Tribute, a twin of the Ford Escape. This car, totally unique to Mazda, makes more sense. But will anyone notice it when it hits dealer lots?

Reader Comments

Sharon Moncrief

March 18, 2006 11:41 AM

Your concern can be laid to rest. That is one hot looking vehicle. It is the sexiest crossover SUV to date. Mazda is doing just fine and gonna do a whole lot better in the months to come. Just wait and see.

Alex Espendez

August 22, 2006 10:03 AM

Well I just purchased a CX-7 and I love it so much I feel guilty for loving it so much. I was not looking for a NEW car, I was quite happy with the performance of My 2003 GMC EnVOY. 6 months ago I bought my wife a Mazda5. I did lots of reasearch hoursfor it. We love the desing, performance, looks, but what impress me the most was the Price a Six seater fully loaded for under 20K ? Yes...is the truth Fully loaded even with moon roof... and i was all worth it. So I when I took my Mazda 5 for the first oil change.. I saw it and drove it while I was waiting. Can you imagine with all the features fully, fully, fully loaded...Under 30K Hey... I got to get me one of these !!! So I did... and it is great car... The people who does not own a new MAZDA is probable because the do not know what is NEW ! from Mazda. Look into it they are really selling ZOOM ZOOM on wheels ...

sarah

November 12, 2006 7:54 PM

yes, i am a person who has never looked at an suv as sporty lke th mazda. but i really like the cx9, it is beautiful.!

dinesh sarjua

November 15, 2006 11:34 AM

HI
i recently buy a chasis of mitsubhishi Fuso if you can help me of giving me a best model please thank you

pj

November 16, 2006 11:05 AM

just go a cx-7 yesterday. i'm not the cross-over-sport-ute type, but i really liked the looks of this vehicle. it's fun to drive. the turbo 4 cyclinder was at first a concern. after driving it, not a worry! the ride is a little on the harsh side, but hey, it's not a couch. i couldn't be happier, and with mazda moving the base model sport out at $19,995, it's hard to beat. the sport model is very well loaded. i couldn't be much happier...

Atanas Iwanow

June 29, 2010 1:44 PM

Mazda has been trying rather successfuly to take a position previously occupied only by Honda in this price segment: the one of a light, enjoyable to drive efficient cars. All efforts of the company have produced amazing results especially in Europe where the first generation of Mazda 6 brought about decent sales. And if what they say is true, if you succeed in Europe, you can do it everywhere.

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