Midsize SUV; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $11,500 – $27,500*

2008 Mazda CX-7

2008 Mazda CX-7

2008 Mazda CX-7

2008 Mazda CX-7

  • Cargo room
  • Handling
  • Seat comfort (front)
  • Fuel economy
  • Low-speed acceleration (turbo lag)
  • Ride

Mazda’s CX-7 emphasizes sport over utility and ride comfort, to stand out in a crowded market segment. On the downside, its turbo four-cylinder engine is neither as fuel-efficient as one might expect, nor as smoothly powerful as it should be. Still, the CX-7 shows some appeal for those who need something roomier than a midsize car and want fresh-looking SUV styling.


Mazda’s CX-7 debuted for 2007 as the company’s first car-type, midsize sport-utility vehicle. This five-passenger four-door crossover wagon came in Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring models with either front- or all-wheel drive, the latter lacking low-range gearing. All CX-7s had a 244-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, drawn from the sporty MazdaSpeed 6 sedan, and a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift gate. When promoting the CX-7, Mazda continued the “zoom-zoom” message that it’s used in connection with other vehicles, to suggest their sporty-handling nature. In fact, Mazda called the CX-7 its “sports crossover SUV.” Sleek styling details included a steep (66-degree) windshield angle, prominent fender arches, and a curved roofline.

Every CX-7 came with antilock braking and traction/antiskid control. Also standard were front side airbags and curtain side airbags with rollover deployment. Touring and Grand Touring editions added leather upholstery and heated front seats. Available for all was a navigation system with rearview camera. The steering wheel came from Mazda’s MX-5 sports car, as did the driver manipulated a high-mounted gearshift lever. CX-7’s rivals included the Honda Pilot, Nissan Murano, Saturn Vue, and Toyota Highlander.

Yearly Updates

2008 CX-7
No major changes were evident for the 2008 model year.
2009 CX-7
Heated seats were newly optional on the Sport, but there were few other changes.
2010 CX-7
The 2010 Mazda CX-7 received freshened styling and a new base engine. The i SV and i Sport have front-wheel drive and are powered by a new 161-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic transmission.
2011 CX-7
The 2011 Mazda CX-7 lineup gains a new trim level, the i Touring. Otherwise, the smaller of Mazda’s two crossover SUVs is largely unchanged.
2012 CX-7
There were no changes to the Mazda CX-7 for 2012, its final model year.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Every CX-7 has a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 244 horsepower, driving a six-speed automatic transmission. Either front- or all-wheel drive may be installed. For 2010, the i SV and i Sport models have front-wheel drive and are powered by a new 161-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic transmission.

Turbocharged dohc I41
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/138
Engine HP 244
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 258
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic



1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Peppy once underway, a test AWD Grand Touring Mazda CX-7 accelerated to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds. Turbo lag is noticeable when pulling away from a stop and during around-town passing maneuvers. Manually shifting the automatic transmission partly offsets the lazy throttle response.

Fuel economy isn’t the greatest. Test AWD models averaged a disappointing 14.3 to 14.5 mpg in mostly city driving, and 18.0 to 21.4 mpg with more highway use. Premium-grade fuel is required.

Producing a firmer ride than some might prefer, the CX-7 suspension irons out most pavement imperfections well. Still, some sharp bumps can pound through. Minor but annoying body jiggle occurs on rippled surfaces at highway speeds.

Some testers have said wavy surfaces generate too much up-and-down body motion.

Less car-like than advertised, the CX-7 is agile for an SUV of this size and weight, abetted by fine steering and a well-planted feel. In fact, it trades some ride comfort for improved handling. An impressively tight turning radius translates to good maneuverability. Standard antiskid control is laudable, though it activated on one test CX-7 even in fairly low-effort cornering. Brake response and control also impress.

Acceptably quiet on the whole, the CX-7 suffers from coarse-surface tire hum. Some test-drivers also have cited engine whine during acceleration, but engine and wind noise are modest in routine cruising. One test model suffered a dashboard rattle when rolling over rippled pavement.

Gauges are stylish, but test-drivers disagree on their ease of readability. Some testers also disliked the red night lighting. The dashtop display positions audio and climate readouts remote from their related controls. Standard steering-wheel audio switches are a plus, mainly because the main array takes time to learn. Large, simple knobs for climate functions are more appealing, and the available navigation system is easy to program. Cabin decor matches CX-7 new-car pricing, but is let down by some budget-grade plastics, as well as by unconvincing silver paint that tries to pass for metal accents.

Front occupants get abundant legroom, but taller folks might want greater head clearance. Seats are well bolstered to keep passengers in place during fast cornering, but some testers felt they don’t rise high enough for an optimal driving position. The steering wheel tilts, but sadly, does not telescope. Despite curvy styling visibility is quite good all around. The CX-7’s high-ride stance makes step-in a bit steep.

Rear legroom is tight with front seats far back. The front passenger seat does not slide as far back as the driver’s, leaving slightly more right-rear knee space. Good foot space is welcome, but the seat-cushion contour forces some riders into slight knees-up posture.

Cargo space behind the rear seat beats most like-sized SUVs for total volume, but is small by class standards. Liftover is fairly high and load volume not usefully cubic. The cargo bay has two nice touches: a reversible carpeted/plastic rear floor panel, and easy-to-reach releases that make lowering the standard 60/40 rear seatbacks a quick operation-though they do not fold flat. The laptop-size center console bin and integral door cupholders are nice, but the CX-7 cabin needs more spaces for small items.


Model Tested: 2008 CX-7 AWD Sport

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 6
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
Cargo Room - 8


Value - 5

Total: 54


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
108.3 184.0 73.7 64.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
58.6 18.2 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.7 39.3 41.7 36.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 CX-7 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Air conditioner
Description: The air conditioner may gradually get warmer while driving in hot weather because the evaporator frosts up blocking airflow. (2007)
Brake noise
Description: The front brakes may be noisy in cold, damp weather due to a breakdown of the grease between the pads and anti-squeal shims. (2007-09)
Brake noise
Description: The rear brakes may make a groaning noise and replacing the pads with improved parts eliminates the noise. (2007-09)
Keyless entry
Description: The retractable style remote keyless entry (RKE) does not work and the LED does not glow due to poor contact in the battery compartment. (2007-09)
Description: The driver’s seat lift (up and down) adjustment may quit working because internal parts break. (2007-08)
Tire wear
Description: The navigation system may display the wrong information if the vehicle was originally purchased on one area, but resold in another. (2007-08)
Windshield washer
Description: The windshield washers may not be adequate at high speed and a higher pressure replacement pump was made available. (2007)
Description: The rear bumper may become soiled with exhaust soot because the tailpipe is too short. (2007)
Description: The engine may run rough, surging and hesitating, due to a broken oxygen sensor for which an improved part is available. (2007-09)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may glow and a trouble code P0455 may be stored unless the fuel filler pipe is replaced. (2006-07)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.