2012 Mazda CX-7

2012 Mazda CX-7 Review: A Great Allrounder

Now at the end of its production cycle, after five years on the market, the Mazda CX-7 is still an enticing vehicle. Unlike many of its competitors, the Japanese midsize crossover doesn't try to appeal to those seeking an off-road sports utility vehicle. Instead, it is designed to appeal to the urban camper, with sportier aesthetics and more modern cues. To that end, the new Mazda CX-7 is also more fun around the city than its competition, courtesy of a capable 244-horsepower engine on the upper trim. Combined with engaging handling and a modicum of practicality, this makes for a great commuter. Nothing is new for the final year of production.

Pros and Cons

  • Sporty, modern exterior
  • Stylish cabin
  • Engaging driving dynamics
  • Reasonable price tag
  • Not as spacious as the competition
  • Lackluster starting powertrain
  • Subpar fuel economy

Best Deals on CX-7

2012 Mazda CX-7 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
i SV
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
N/A
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,190
i Sport
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
N/A
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,995
s Touring
2.3L Inline-4 Gas
N/A
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$26,455
i Touring
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
N/A
Front-Wheel Drive
$26,590
s Grand Touring
2.3L Inline-4 Gas
N/A
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$31,840
See All 2012 Mazda CX-7 Trims and Specs

CX-7 Exterior

The Mazda CX-7 crossover SUV stands out from the pack for its uniquely athletic design philosophy. Whereas most crossovers try to maintain an air of ruggedness, the Japanese midsize is all about sleek lines and dimensions that lend themselves towards navigating the concrete jungle. As a more compact configuration, it has a width perfect for slotting into parking bays, and its light weight lets you enjoy some spirited driving while reducing mileage figures. The front bumper grille is large, while the smaller hood-top grille sports the company logo. Framing the smaller grille are the dual halogen headlights, which can be upgraded to bi-xenon variants on the top spec, which come paired with fog lights. As standard, the vehicle rides on 17-inch alloys, with available 18- or 19-inch wheels on the top two options. Exterior colors include Black Cherry, Crystal White, Stormy Blue, and Brilliant Black. A glass moonroof is offered on all but the base spec.

2012 Mazda CX-7 Front Angle View Mazda
2012 Mazda CX-7 Side View Mazda
2012 Mazda CX-7 Side View 1 Mazda
See All 2012 Mazda CX-7 Exterior Photos

CX-7 Performance

Engine and Transmission

The standard power plant under the hood of the base-model Mazda won't excite most shoppers. With only 161 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque, the 2.5-liter inline-four gets you around, but not with any great degree of haste. Most buyers will be drawn to the better performance of the turbocharged four-pot, instead. Developing 244 hp and 258 lb-ft, this engine launches the small SUV from 0 to 60 mph in just under eight seconds, with a top speed in the region of 130 mph. Regardless of powertrain, the car is outfitted with front-wheel-drive and a five-speed automatic transmission. Since Mazda doesn't actually expect you to take its sporty crossover off the pavement, all-wheel-drive is only optional on the top-tier trims.

  • Engines
    2.3L Inline-4 Gas, 2.5L Inline-4 Gas
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD
2012 Mazda CX-7 Front View Driving Mazda
2012 Mazda CX-7 Rear View Driving Mazda
2012 Mazda CX-7 Wheel Mazda

Handling and Driving Impressions

True to what its appearance promises, the automobile offers a more athletic experience than a traditional SUV. To really get the most out of it, the upper specs equipped with the more powerful turbocharged variant are suggested. The turbo kicks in quite early to give the compact crossover plenty of punch right off the starting line. But, extra power means extra cost. The turbo is quite noisy and sounds coarse compared to the standard powertrain.

Handling is as tight as you'd expect from a Mazda purposed for the urban environments of the USA. Thanks to its low center of gravity, it does a good job of sticking to the road, even at higher speeds. All of this combines to deliver a rather pleasant experience, especially after you drop the kids off at school and take a few corners at higher speeds on your way home or to work.

CX-7 Gas Mileage

The car is by no means efficient in terms of fuel consumption. The most efficient spec is the standard four-pot paired with front-wheel-drive, returning an EPA-estimated 20/27/22 mpg city/highway/combined. The turbocharged four-pot drops to 18/24/20 mpg, while the all-wheel-drive spec receives the worst rating of 17/21/19 mpg. With an 18.2-gallon tank capacity, total range on the most frugal variant is around 400 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 20/27 mpg
* 2012 Mazda CX-7 i SV FWD

CX-7 Interior

The interior of the Mazda crossover is just as racy as the outside. The instrument cluster is framed with lines of metal, and the controls for all the features are easily within reach of the driver. However, the cluster is extremely cluttered, so you may find the steering-wheel-mounted buttons easier to manage. In terms of space, the focus seems to be more on those in the front seats. The back seats are best reserved for the kids or even the luggage. This is because the crossover's hard focus on stylishness comes at the cost of trunk space, too. There is 29.9 cubic feet of space as standard, but the sloping roofline makes loading to capacity difficult, so you may prefer to fold down the rear seats and free up the maximum 58.6 cubic feet. By comparison, most rivals offer more with much easier access.

2012 Mazda CX-7 Dashboard Mazda
2012 Mazda CX-7 Central Console Mazda
2012 Mazda CX-7 Gauge Cluster Mazda
See All 2012 Mazda CX-7 Interior Photos

CX-7 Equipment and Safety

There is a fair list of features on even the entry-level model, including cruise control, a multi-information display, air conditioning, a pair of 12-volt power outlets, and a four-speaker sound system with an aux jack. Upgrade to at least the Sport is necessary to access the Bluetooth hands-free and audio streaming, while the nine-speaker Bose sound system is only standard on the top-tier i Touring and s Grand Touring configurations. Dual-zone climate control, navigation, and power-adjustable front seats are all available, too. Of the US safety institutes, only the IIHS has extensively reviewed the Mazda CX-7, giving it a score of Good for side and overlap front in crash tests. However, a review from the NHTSA resulted in four out of five stars for rollover evaluations, and noted four recalls for the final production year, bringing its reliability into question. Six airbags are factory-fitted as standard.

🏁Mazda CX-7 SUV Price and Verdict

In most configurations, the price of the Mazda CX-7 is pretty reasonable. The most basic SV has an MSRP of around $22k, while the base price of the more desirable Sport is only around $1k more. The top-tier s Grand Touring is a little pricier at $32k, and adding all-wheel-drive pushes this up another $2,000. Add to this the poor fuel economy of the turbocharged power plant, and those with a tight hand on their purse strings are likely to lean towards the standard four-pot lineup.

Still, most reviews suggest it is one of the better options in the segment, despite having been on the market for some years now without offering all-new tech or anything truly contemporary. In terms of value for money, the i Sport looks to be the best deal, and with this being the final iteration, you make pick one up for a bargain.

Mazda CX-7 Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2012 Mazda CX-7:

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$22,190 - $33,540
Price Range (MSRP)
Mazda CX-7
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