Summing it up, let’s hope you don’t have any uphill merges. Not that it’s really terrible, but the 2010 Mazda CX-7 i Sport falls on the short side for torque. The standard engine–and only available in that trim level–is a 161 horsepower 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine that’s rated at 161 lb-ft of torque. And while that will motivate the 2010 Mazda CX-7 well enough on flat ground, add a couple of passengers and a load in the trunk and the 3495 pound five-seat crossover will get winded on an uphill grind.
Acceleration isn’t worse, perhaps, than a econo subcompact, but compared to the244-horse turbocharged 2.3-liter four in the Mazda CX-7 s Touring and Grand Touring, the sportily styled CX7 i Sport comes off like the chess team champion in the 100 meter sprint.
Of course, the naturally-aspirated CX-7 four-cylinder does have its upside. It operates on regular unleaded gas while the turbo four needs 91 to 93 octane premium unleaded. And in a fuel consumption-conscious world, the CX-7 i Sport has an EPA fuel mileage rating of 20 mpg city / 26 mpg highway. The turbo-equipped CX-7 models, however, are rated at 16/25 when front-wheel drive equipped, or 17/23 with all-wheel drive. The latter two figures aren’t terribly bad for what they are, but combined with the fuel requirements of the turbo motors the i Sport will have a noticeably lower operating cost. Our mileage driving a CX-7 i Sport was 18.1 mpg, though we don’t believe our short route, primarily on a winding road with lots of up and down hills, would be representative of what most drivers would experience.
The Mazda CX-7 i Sport also has a lower base price than its turbo equivalents. Our liquid silver metallic tester had a base price of $22,340. With a few options, the total price came to $25,990. That compares to $26,550 for the Mazda CX-7 s Touring and $31,935 for the top of the line CX-7 s Grand Touring.
The availability of the 2.5-liter non-turbo engine isn’t the only change for 2010 models, however. The Mazda CX-7 lineup was facelifted, its front engine gaining a subdued version of the corporate happy-to-be-here grille, with detail difference between the various trim levels . The rear bumper was also reshaped.
Inside, the most notable alteration is the new information center atop the dash, similar to that added on the new Mazda Mazda3. Available on Sport and Touring models is, on the Sport models combined with other features, a 3.5-inch rear view camera display for safer reversing. The Convenience Package rings in at $1,750 and includes heated front seats, moon roof and more.
A new steering wheel was added and various trim items, including anti-glare trim around dash air conditioner vents, for example. Blind spot monitoring is available on the CX-7, but was not on our tester.
The changes to the CX-7 included some that can’t be seen, such as the thicker structural body panels, reinforcements and weld bonds (spot welds reinforced with adhesives) that increase torsional rigidity by five percent, improving ride and reducing noise. The latter is further decreased by thicker sound insulation and by aerodynamic changes to the A-pillars, lowering wind noise around the A-pillars.
The result is the 2010 Mazda CX-7 i Sport with more economical operation if less spunk to match its sporty handling and exterior. As they say (whoever they are), you can’t have everything. Give the CX-7 i Sport a thorough workout, including any hills you regularly climb, and balance that against the savings that come with the more economical engine. And like we said at the beginning, that’s summing it up.
Pricing and specifications next page.