2011 Mazda CX-7 SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Mazda CX-7 SUV

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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 18/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2011 Mazda CX-7

  • Thanks to a sharp design and sharper handling, the 2011 Mazda CX-7 brings some much-needed fun to a practical but mostly bland segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Sporty handling; strong performance from the turbocharged four-cylinder engine; solid build quality; attention-getting design.

  • Cons

    Below-average interior utility; pokey base engine; turbo engine is thirsty and its power delivery is not as smooth as that of V6 rivals.

  • What's New for 2011

    For 2011, the base Mazda CX-7 with a normally aspirated four-cylinder gains a better-equipped upper trim called the CX-7i Touring. The turbo engine's fuel economy has improved slightly as well.

Full 2011 Mazda CX-7 Review

What's New for 2011

For 2011, the base Mazda CX-7 with a normally aspirated four-cylinder gains a better-equipped upper trim called the CX-7i Touring. The turbo engine's fuel economy has improved slightly as well.


Every class needs its jock. Without him, your football team would've been terrible and the grading curve for your chemistry final would've been screwed up by the smart kids. In a similar vein, the 2011 Mazda CX-7 could be described as the jock of the compact-crossover class. The CX-7 isn't as sensible as most of its rivals, but it's good looking and far more exciting when you're behind the wheel.

Like most other Mazda models, the CX-7 offers precise handling and responsive steering for its class. A radically raked windshield, bulked-up fender flares and a wide-mouth grille are commonalities as well, and we'd say they look better on the CX-7 than on its siblings. They certainly add up to a more interesting, and, yes, athletic-looking crossover than such rivals as the Chevy Equinox, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

Of course, those competitors are more practical, blessed with far more space for both passengers and cargo. Families in particular will appreciate the greater versatility and kid-friendly features of the competition. Their engines are also more appealing. True, the Mazda's available turbocharged engine is certainly brawny, but its fuel economy is worst in class. The normally aspirated engine of the base-model CX-7 is more economical, but still not to the degree of the most frugal choices in this class, and it's also rather slow.

So as you can see, there are distinct pros and cons to bringing a 2011 Mazda CX-7 home to mom. If you're looking for something that's more sensible though a bit less fun, we'd suggest checking out the 2011 Hyundai Tucson, 2011 Kia Sportage or 2011 Subaru Forester. Whoever said picking the jock would be easy?

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Mazda CX-7 is five-passenger compact crossover SUV. There are two engines available; the base four-cylinder is indicated with an "i" and the turbocharged four-cylinder gets an "s." Each is available in different trim levels.

The base i SV comes equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and auxiliary audio jack. The i Sport adds privacy glass, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and Bluetooth. The Convenience package adds to the i Sport a sunroof, automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat with manual lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, a color trip computer and a rearview camera. The i Touring includes all Convenience package items plus leather upholstery, a navigation system and a nine-speaker Bose sound system with a six-CD changer and satellite radio.

In addition to its turbocharged engine, the s Touring gains the i Sport's equipment plus 18-inch wheels, an eight-way power driver seat and manual lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, a cargo cover and leather upholstery. The Touring Technology package adds the rest of the i Touring's extra equipment. The s Grand Touring includes all previously mentioned items, but adds 19-inch wheels, automatic xenon headlights, foglamps, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, keyless ignition/entry, a blind-spot warning system, driver seat memory functions, a four-way power passenger seat and electroluminescent gauges.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2011 Mazda CX-7 i models are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 161 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a five-speed automatic are standard. In Edmunds testing, this engine took the CX-7 from zero to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds -- slow, but not much worse than the class average. EPA estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined.

The CX-7 s gets a turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder that produces 244 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, but all-wheel drive is optional. In our tests, a CX-7 turbo accelerated from zero to 60 in 7.7 seconds -- a swift time for the class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is poor at 18/24/20 with front-wheel drive and 17/21/19 with AWD.


Every 2011 Mazda CX-7 comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock brakes with brake assist, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, a CX-7 i Sport came to a stop from 60 mph in 131 feet -- a bit longer than average. In contrast, the CX-7 s Grand Touring stopped in an excellent 113 feet.

The CX-7 has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) were a top five-star rating in both front and side collisions. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the CX-7 its highest rating of "Good" for both frontal-offset and side-impact crashworthiness, but the second-worst "Marginal" in the roof strength test.

Interior Design and Special Features

The CX-7's athletic styling carries over to the interior of the cabin, where the edgy yet functional design provides a more visually interesting 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 radio controls a bit complicated compared to other vehicles. The available navigation system is less expensive than those in most other cars, but its small display makes certain information hard to see.

Ample hiproom and headroom keep CX-7 passengers comfortable, even with all five seats occupied. However, rear legroom doesn't measure up to that of chief competitors, notably the Equinox. There are about 30 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seat, while maximum capacity stands at about 59 cubes. The latter number is more than 10 cubes fewer than the class-leading RAV4, Forester and CR-V, but on par with crossovers like the Tucson and Sportage.

Driving Impressions

When it comes to handling and braking performance, the 2011 Mazda CX-7 lives up to Mazda's sporty reputation. 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 performance of the base engine is merely adequate, with acceleration that's on the slow side even in a class of pokey performers. The turbocharged engine is much more spirited, but the combination of turbo lag and the transmission calibration sometimes makes the power delivery feel somewhat abrupt to those used to cruising around in crossovers with V6 engines. Fuel economy is also pretty poor.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Spiders may block fuel tank

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Vehicle: 2011 Mazda CX-7 s Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Attention MAZDA / 2010-2012 owners Mazda North America Operations has issued a NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 14V114 stating that yes "Spiders may Block Fuel Tank Vent Line". I only have 13,000 miles on my CX-7 GT and believe me Mazda should be addressing the Turbo problem, AC problem and braking problem. Spiders, give me a break. As I said in my prior comment bought a 2013 Honda CR-V base am very pleased with it and just ordered a 2014 Honda CR-V EXL. I still love the styling of my CX-7, but that is about all. Drove CX-5 and extremely disappointed.

Not a wonderful vehicle

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Vehicle: 2011 Mazda CX-7 s Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

Bought our CX7 in August 2011 new, vehicle now has 10,000 miles. CX7 is a big disappointment. AC not adequate, turbo hesitates, paint job brilliant black is inferior and gas mileage poor. Complained to Mazda and after BBB intervention Mazda extended the warranty. Trying to sell this vehicle. Just purchased a 2013 Honda CRV base model, because we were not sure we would want to keep it long haul. The Honda is trouble free. AC is wonderful, vehicle is well built and solid. Only have 2,000 miles, but can not say enough positive things about our CRV. The paint job Twilight blue is excellent. The gas mileage is 18 city 30 highway as tracked on computer.

Zoom clang clang chug

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Vehicle: 2011 Mazda CX-7 s Grand Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

I have all ready established a series of form comments under A/C problems. It appears that the extremely loud banging that I experience when I first turn on the A/C in the morning is normal or at least that is what Mazda field engineers told Reedman Toll when they were going over my car. When I wanted to further discuss the problem with Stephanie a Mazda field representative at the "800" Mazda number provided it was fine for her to record the conversation, but she immediately hung up when advised I would be recording too. To state that I am discussed with the manner in which Mazda is treating me as a customer is an understatement. Recommend Mazda, not me not a chance; not there for you!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

First year - running great

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Vehicle: 2011 Mazda CX-7 s Touring 4dr SUV (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 6A)

This is my fourth Mazda. My previous Mazdas over the years have been very reliable. It looks like the reviews on this car are a mixed bag and a lot of discontent with AWD and the A/C. I did not want AWD because of added problems/maint and if you are going to purchase an AWD car buy a Subaru. As far as the A/C goes I live in Arizona where its very hot. There is a TSB out on the A/C for this car. Demand that the dealer fix under the TSB and your problem will go away. From a reliability perspective I have had no problems with mine. For mileage I get about 23.7 mph in mixed driving. The car is very fast with the 2.3 ltr and police have been my biggest drawback.

Poor quality

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Vehicle: 2011 Mazda CX-7 i Sport 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 5A)

I purchased my CX7 the day before Thanksgiving last year. Overall I am not impressed with this vehicle. It has already spent a total of three weeks in the shop because of air conditioning issues as well as electrical issues. For this vehicle not even being a year old I am VERY disappointed to see the plastic lenses getting cloudy on the head lights. This is something I would expect from a 8 to 10 year old vehicle. When I asked the dealer about it I was told this is normal. This vehicle practically lives in a garage, while at home its parked in the garage, and when I am at work it is parked in the underground parking never really sitting out in direct sun light enough


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Vehicle: 2011 Mazda CX-7 i SV 4dr SUV (2.5L 4cyl 5A)

We bought a 2011 CX-7 in February 2012 and have loved it! Just out of curiousity, I decided to see what the KBBV was, I was shocked to find out it's worth about $6,000 less than we paid for it.The only problem there has been is today, temps of 96 outside, I go to get lunch and the air conditioner was acting CRAZY, it went from barely blowing to blowing as hard as it could and went back and forth the entir time, my husband has a 10 am appointment for it to be checked out tomorrow, so I guess we will see. As far as the mileage, I have had the cruise control set at 60 and the display is showing I am averaging 37.5 MPG which is very good. Try to update you all soon. Wish us luck?!?!?!

Talk About The 2011 CX-7

2011 Mazda CX-7 Discussions See all Started By

I have a 2011 CX-7 Grand Touring with Turbo in brilliant black and only 14,000 miles. My CX-7 looks better than when I got it from dealer in August 2011. CX-7 is detailed every month. Am considerin...

I have a few questions? Why would a timing chain need to be replaced more than once. Once is rare right? I have a 2011 CX-7 turbo so does anyone know if these turbo and timing chain issues could have ...

I am dissapointed with the manner in which Mazda has failed to address the design problems of several components in the CX-7. I own a 2008 CX-7 - GT-AWD. I put 77K on the car, I did the maintenance ...

Read more about the 2011 Mazda CX-7

Gas Mileage


  • 18
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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