In the business of building and selling family haulers, the last decade will likely be remembered by the crossover replacing the SUV as the vehicle of choice. Rewind five years ago to see what Mazda had on offer, and you may be shocked to find no crossovers at all-just the MPV minivan and the Ford Escape based Tribute. Mazda’s answer arrived in 2007 in the form of the CX-7. In typical Mazda fashion, the CX-7 was like no other CUV out there. This was no wallflower-svelte, edgy, well-equipped, but above all, sportier than any crossover had a right to be.
The centerpiece was the engine-a 2.3L turbo putting out 244hp, that really put the ‘zoom zoom’ into the CX-7. Yet what warmed the hearts of enthusiasts needing a vehicle to haul their families and their stuff likely kept the CX-7 out of more mainstream buyer’s garages. The reason? Fuel economy. The turbocharged CX-7’s thirst at the pump may have turned buyers off. For 2010, Mazda has an answer to the problem with a new CX-7 model that sips, rather than gulps fuel. But can a thriftier CX-7 maintain the spirit? Read on.