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First look: Mazda CX-7 lets loose in LA

Seeing is believing: At last Mazda’s long-awaited CX-7 SUV can be viewed in the flesh – just get to LA.

The year’s first biggie, the Los Angeles show lifts the lid on the production CX-7

4 Jan 2006

MAZDA’S production CX-7 has finally broken cover at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show this week.

Due in early 2007, as well as at next week’s Detroit motor show, the five-seater Mazda SUV will supplement the Tribute range by sitting above it rather than by replacing it.

Powering either the front or all four wheels is a variation of the recently released Mazda6 MPS’ 2.3-litre turbo-charged four-cylinder engine that is tied to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

In US make-up it produces 182kW of power at 5000rpm and 350Nm of torque from 2500rpm, with ‘at least’ 99 per cent of the latter occurring between 2000 and 5000rpm.

Mazda says that there are many alterations made to this powerplant for its SUV application, including a new turbo installation that provides greater low-rev torque that’s more suitable to a vehicle like the CX-7.

Acceleration is “… reminiscent of a much larger displacement engine, one approaching twice the size of the 2.3-litre MZR engine” according to Mazda’s press blurb.

Other stated positives from employing a small engine/big turbo combination over a V6 include significant weight reduction for palpably improved steering and handling properties, better fuel economy and lowered exhaust emissions.

If the all-wheel drive CX-7 is sought, a computer-controlled coupling integrated with the rear differential is employed to split drive up to 50 per cent rearwards.

Controlling this is a McPherson strut front and a multi-link rear suspension system supported by anti-lock brakes, traction control and Bosch’s DSC stability control system.

22 center imageThe sleek monocoque design, unsurprisingly overseen by Mazda6 styling chief Iwao Koizumi, helps the CX-7 achieve best-in-class aerodynamic efficiency.

It also combines sporty styling cues such as a steeply angled windscreen and bold wheel arches.

The CX-7 also boasts sedan-style cabin room and comfort, segment-leading cargo space and high crash-safety protection.

In American guise the CX-7 comes in three models – standard, Touring and Grand Touring.

While the aforementioned safety items including six-airbags, power windows, remote central locking, manual air-conditioning and cruise control are included in all models, luxuries such as high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, leather upholstery and auto climate control are found in the GT edition.

All Australian specifications – including pricing – is yet to be divulged, and isn’t expected to be for some time yet.

However a $50,000 to $70,000 price range, to take in rivals such as Nissan’s Murano and the forthcoming Subaru B9 Tribeca as well as upper-spec Ford Territory competition, is widely tipped.

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