For March break this year, the Grant family did things a bit a bit differently than we have in the past. We went somewhere for a change! In fact, we actually took two road trips. First we piled 4 of us into the 6 passenger Mazda5 for a blast to Niagara Falls and then we loaded all 5 seats of a CX-7 and brought along our 100 lb canine to make like Obama by heading towards Ottawa and the Byward Market.
White is a tough colour choice for many vehicles, as it just doesn’t seem to work on some shapes. When I pulled into Mazda Canada to swap rides, I was stunned by just how incredible the CX-7 looks draped in Crystal White Pearl. From the flowing curves to the shape of the tinted glass, the whole package just looked dead sexy. Certainly hotter looking than most would expect from a family hauler. With chrome accents in just the right places, 18″ alloy wheels and dual stainless tailpipes the CX-7 GT looks much more sport than utility. Surprisingly, Mazda’s smaller of 2 CX’s handles the utility quite nicely too, thank you very much.
One might think that cramming 5 people and a week’s worth of travel gear into a small CUV would be challenge enough, but we had to bring the pup too. We’ve never been a family that shrinks from a challenge, so off we went. We carefully packed our stuff into one side of the well proportioned cargo area and loaded the shaggy beast into his side and closed the hatch. We had barely hit the highway before Enzo decided that sitting on top of the kids would be far more fun. Oh well, the bruises have pretty much faded on their laps!
Typical of Mazda these days the interior looks fabulous, yet remains functional as well. From the supple sand coloured leather to the use of high quality plastics and aluminum brightwork, things looks sleek & sporty. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, Mazda seems to have a knack of placing controls exactly where one expects them to be. Things just fall to hand naturally. The leather clad seats offer just the right amount of support for road tripping and lots of thoughtfully placed storage options prevent road tripping stuff from being strewn about the cabin. Our tester boasted the Luxury Package with navigation, including bluetooth and Sirius satellite radio. Perfect options for hitting the road in unfamiliar territory.
On the road, the ride feels firm enough to be sporty while remaining supple enough to keep occupants comfy on the long drive. Powered by a 2.3l 4 cylinder turbo, the CX-7 puts 244 horsepower to the road through a slick shifting 6 speed autobox and all 4 wheels. Fortunately, we didn’t have a chance to see how capable the all wheel drive system was as we had sunshine all week. While those 244 ponies will likely be just right for most people, things would be just a little bit Zoomier with, another 50 on tap. Then again, it is a family hauler, not a track day tool.
Once all the goodies are added in, our tester tipped the register at just over 40 grand. While this may seem a bit lofty to some, a similarly equipped BMW X3 is close to $10,000 more expensive. Should one choose Japanese our German heritage? Well, only you can decide that one, but somehow I think my choice would be leaning towards buying a loaded CX-7 for Mamma and keep the extra ten grand to buy a nice used Mazda3 for the teenager in the house.