Mazda's torque-filled 2.5-liter I-4 impresses me in the likes of the 3 and 6, but as my colleagues have noted, it simply runs out of steam in the heavier CX7. I was also a little disappointed with the five-speed automatic in this application -- I was impressed with how quickly other Mazda gearboxes responded to throttle input, but this one required a good stomp before instigating a downshift. In typical Mazda fashion, the suspension is tuned to quash most body roll, but it can be slightly stiff on larger expansion joints on Michigan freeways.
Although it may not have the "zoom-zoom" thrust of the turbocharged model, the base CX-7 is still an intriguing crossover -- it is remarkably stylish, feels larger inside than most of its competitors, and offers impressive fuel economy.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer