Sold as a blend of off-roader and sports saloon aimed at the same sort of buyer as the BMW X3 or Mitsubishi Outlander
, Mazda's CX-7 went on sale in 2007 but because it only came with a relatively thirsty 2.3-litre turbo petrol engine it didn't sell in big numbers in the UK. That changed in 2009 when the petrol engine was dropped in favour of a much more economical new 2.2-litre diesel. This also has Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to reduce harmful emissions. At the same time the car received a sleeker front end and a blind spot indicator system. The Mazda CX-7 was dropped in 2012, its place in the range being taken by the CX-5.
Bang for your buck
There's only one model of Mazda CX-7 on offer, known as the Sport Tech from the 2009 facelift and you get a lot of equipment for your cash – indeed the only factory option from new was metallic paint. The car comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, climate control, leather seats, xenon headlights, a 6-CD autochanger plus integrated sat nav and Bluetooth. Later models come with a reversing camera.
It has a four-wheel drive system that automatically delivers power to the wheels that have most traction. With its low ride height and lack of body protection though, this is never going to be a serious off-road warrior.
Thanks to its steeply raked screen the CX-7 is a world away from boxy 4x4s. It still offers decent room in the back though and the seats fold to form a flat load deck when required. The boot floor flips over with carpet on one side and waterproof plastic on the other so it's handy for carrying dirty loads.
The diesel version has won several awards for its prowess as a tow car owing to its ability to deliver lots of torque at low revs.
What you'll pay
An 08 plate petrol model should sell for about £8,000 with average mileage. Diesel CX-7 cars hold their value much better with a 2010 model on a 60 plate starting from around £14,500. A low mileage 12 plate car can sell for £20,000 plus.
What to check
There are no major problems with Mazda CX-7 cars for sale. Most cars won't have seen anything more arduous than a damp field at the pony club but as with any 4x4 check for signs of off-road use and damage to the wheels and underside. If a tow bar is fitted make sure the clutch and gearbox are okay.
Prices for Mazda consumables should be reasonable, expect to pay around £14 for an air filter, £6 for an oil filter, £24 for a fuel filter and £40 for a timing belt.
How it drives
The 2.3 petrol is a lively engine and will do 0-62 in 8 seconds but it's thirsty and you'll struggle to better 27 mpg. The diesel does the sprint in 11.3 with a 124 mph top speed but it has plenty of low down pulling power – hence its prowess as a tow car – and should return around 38 mpg. It's quiet too with the usual diesel clatter nicely subdued.
Although it was originally designed for American tastes the CX-7 has had its suspension re-tuned to suit European tastes and the result is a far more agile car than you might expect for something of this size and type. It corners well and doesn't roll much. The gear change is slick and precise and the Active Torque Split four-wheel drive system offers good traction on slippery surfaces though it's a sports rather than serious off-road setup.
Inside it's well made with easy to read displays and precise switchgear. The driving position is good with an electrically adjustable driving seat though the steering only adjusts for height. There's no sat nav on early cars and that on post 2009 models has a small screen that isn't the easiest to use.
Petrol models are best avoided unless you have deep pockets, the diesel though is a very competent car even if it's not a serious off-roader. All Mazda CX-7 cars for sale are well equipped and if you want a 4x4 for on-road use or for towing then although it may not be the most obvious choice it's well worth a look.