2009 Mazda CX-7 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Mazda CX-7 SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Mazda CX-7 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 244 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Mazda CX-7

  • Thanks to a sharp design and peppy powertrain, the 2009 Mazda CX-7 brings some much-needed fun to an otherwise practical but mostly bland segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sporty handling, V6-like power from the turbocharged four-cylinder, solid build quality, attention-getting design, excellent safety ratings.

  • Cons

    High fill-up costs due to lackluster fuel economy and premium fuel requirement, below-average interior utility.

  • What's New for 2009

    For 2009, the Mazda CX-7 remains unchanged except for a few option and package modifications. All trim levels get an auxiliary audio jack, and the Technology Package now includes Bluetooth phone capability and satellite radio. The base Sport trim level, however, has lost its standard power driver seat.

Full 2009 Mazda CX-7 Review

What's New for 2009

For 2009, the Mazda CX-7 remains unchanged except for a few option and package modifications. All trim levels get an auxiliary audio jack, and the Technology Package now includes Bluetooth phone capability and satellite radio. The base Sport trim level, however, has lost its standard power driver seat.


With its sleek lines and radically sloping front end, the 2009 Mazda CX-7 lends some sporty style to the small and midsize crossover SUV segments. Influenced by the company's RX-8 and MX-5 Miata sports cars, the CX-7's performance and handling abilities make it the most rewarding choice in its class to drive. But those looking for utility over performance might be disappointed to know the CX-7 lags behind some of its competitors when it comes to practicality.

Unlike other crossovers (which typically include six-cylinder offerings), the 2009 CX-7 comes equipped with a single engine choice: a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder. It's pretty much the same engine that Mazda uses in its Mazdaspeed 3 sport hatchback, and in this application, it's good for a potent 244 horsepower. Acceleration, as you might expect, is brisk, with a 0-60 time better than just about any rival. But all that power has its price. The CX-7 is something of a gas guzzler, particularly on the highway. Some may also find the engine's power delivery to be less smooth than that of a V6.

This might be a significant issue for some people. As such, more mainstream offerings such as the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 V6 would be better choices. But none of these can match the Mazda's high level of athleticism. And in this regard, the Mazda's closest competitors are the Mitsubishi Outlander, Pontiac Torrent GXP, redesigned Subaru Forester XT and the new VW Tiguan.

Previously not as roomy as the Mazda, this year's Forester slightly edges out the CX-7 when it comes to legroom and cargo capacity, but it's not as sporty as it once was. The Torrent and Outlander offer superior utility, but they can't match the Mazda when it comes to styling and build quality. Volkwagen's Tiguan, meanwhile, has sharp handling but comes up short in terms of power and can get expensive. Overall, the 2009 Mazda CX-7 is a very good choice for those who want the practicality of a five-passenger crossover that also has the looks and performance to make everyday driving fun.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Mazda CX-7 is a midsize five-passenger crossover SUV available in three trim levels -- Sport, Touring and Grand Touring. The well-equipped base Sport trim includes 18-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, a six-way manual adjustable driver seat and a stereo system with a CD player and MP3 capability. The midlevel Touring model adds leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat, heated front seats and a retractable cargo cover. The top-of-the-line Grand Touring model features xenon headlights, heated exterior mirrors, an upgraded gauge cluster, automatic headlights, automatic climate control and distinct leather upholstery.

All trim levels can be further equipped with an optional package (the not-so-descriptively named 1MC Package) that includes a sunroof and an upgraded nine-speaker stereo system with Bose surround-sound, an in-dash six-CD changer, Bluetooth and satellite radio. The Sport trim can be upgraded with a power seat option that adds power and heated front seats. Also available is a Technology Package that adds the equipment from the 1MC Package plus a voice-activated touchscreen navigation system, a back-up camera and a keyless start/entry system. Other stand-alone choices include an Aero Package and a back-up camera (in the rearview mirror).

Powertrains and Performance

Either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive is available on the 2009 Mazda CX-7. A turbocharged direct-injection 2.3-liter four-cylinder is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift capability. This sole powertrain is good for 244 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque. Since the CX-7 isn't designed to go off road, there is no low-range gearing. In normal driving situations, the AWD system routes 100 percent of the engine's power to the front wheels. If there is a loss of traction, up to 50 percent of engine power is automatically and quickly applied to the rear wheels.

Despite the fact that a loaded Grand Touring AWD model weighs in at nearly 2 tons, the CX-7's performance is still relatively brisk -- acceleration from zero to 60 mph takes just 7.7 seconds. Braking performance is impressive, with fade-free stops from 60 mph in just 113 feet. Fuel economy estimates from the EPA rate the 2009 CX-7 AWD at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway (or 18 mpg combined), while the two-wheel-drive version gets 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway (20 mpg combined). As a comparison, the AWD Subaru Forester gets 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway.


Antilock disc brakes, stability control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags come standard on all trim levels. In crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2008 Mazda CX-7 performed very well, garnering a top five-star rating in both front and side collisions. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the CX-7 its highest rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact crashworthiness.

Interior Design and Special Features

The CX-7's radical styling carries over to the inside, where the edgy yet functional cabin provides a more visually stimulating environment than one might expect from a crossover SUV. A sporty three-spoke steering wheel is reminiscent of the one found in the Miata, while the gauge cluster is similar to the RX-8's. Build quality and ergonomics are both very good, although some might find the location of the radio and climate displays annoying, since their locations atop the dash are separated from their respective controls.

Ample hip- and headroom keeps CX-7 passengers comfortable, even with all five seats occupied. However, rear legroom doesn't measure up to that of competitors -- especially the new Forester. And luggage capacity trails most of its rivals by about 6 cubic feet, with about 30 cubes of space behind the second row. Maximum capacity is 58.6 cubic feet, which is on par with the Nissan Rogue but more than 10 cubes fewer than the RAV4 and CR-V.

Driving Impressions

When it comes to handling and braking performance, the 2009 Mazda CX-7 lives up to Mazda's "zoom-zoom" slogan. The steering is nicely weighted, and the effort increases in direct proportion to cornering forces. This crossover SUV feels stable in turns and changes direction quickly. The CX-7 rides a bit firmer than most competitors, but that's a livable trade-off for such performance. The engine does suffer from some turbo lag, which, combined with the CX-7's surprising amount of torque, can make the power delivery feel abrupt to those used to cruising around in V6-powered crossovers.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

Don't buy a mazda cx-7

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda CX-7 Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Our Mazda CX-7, with 57,000 miles on it, experienced the same sludge build up resulting in a turbo blowing out, timing chain stretching and VVT needing replacement, as thousands of other CX-7 owners have also experienced. With the original warranty and extended warranty still in place, Mazda denied all service claims stating "poor vehicle maintenance"--as they have with all the other CX-7 owners. In speaking with Mazda technicians, they stated to me that there is a problem with the oil cooled turbo that Mazda refuses to admit to because it will result in a huge recall. Mazda needs to be held accountable for their poor design on these cars and stop putting the blame on consumers.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

So far so good

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda CX-7 Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

In 9 months I made put 25K km (17K in miles) and everything is perfect. I've been to a few long trips, it's such a fun to drive this car at these long trips - this is where it's a its best. Gas mileage is a bit on the high side, especially at winter, but hey, you can't have everything. I'm a bit worried reading all the bad reliability reviews for 2007 that I decided to write this one. So far, I love this car.

Engine problems

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda CX-7 Sport 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I saw no review about the VVT problem that is part of the CX7. This can be a very serious problem. To having the entire engine replaced. Symptoms: engine makes ticking/clacking noise when running and loud snap upon start up. My first trip to dealership was brushed off. Second trip, doing repairs.


by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda CX-7 Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Nothing but problems. Two weeks after purchase looked under the car to see what the exhaust looked like the car all I saw was rust from the front to the back I was very disappointed when I buy a new car I expected a new car. Took it in for inspection a few months later and rotors needed cut and brake pads had to have rust sanded ( come on just replace them) then at 6000 miles all my electronics shut down everything went off TCS radio blue tooth navigation gas gauge would float from empty to full I have no idea probably rusted somewhere in the components sound like electrical???? Will they ever figure it out?? I got ride of the car happiest day ever took my loss and bought a Nissan again.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

No regrets

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda CX-7 Sport 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

The wife purchased this vehicle and although it does not have the bells and whistles of an optioned model (sure wish it had a few more basic ones though) we are very pleased with it. Working with dealership on a few issues but over all very impressed. The 2009 motor vs the 2010 motor is night and day and the main reason for buying an 09

Must test drive

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Mazda CX-7 Sport 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I have owned over 30 cars throughout my life. This is one of the most fun i have ever had in a car. Lived in Germany for five years and wished i had the CX-7 for the autobahn. The seat bottoms in the front seats are a little short. They may have fixed this for 2010.

Talk About The 2009 CX-7

2009 Mazda CX-7 Discussions See all Started By

brand new 2010 CX-7... 1 month old. Turbo version......

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Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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