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Mazda CX-7 Crossover
A sporty name in the SUV game

The five-seat CX-7 will be in the US market in the spring of 2006.

5th January 2006.
Updated: 9th. Jan 2006.

Unveiling its much awaited CX-7 crossover, Mazda announced today at the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show (at the Los Angeles Convention Center, public days from 6 to 15 January) that its all-new sport-utility vehicle (SUV) is just the first of three all-new Mazda vehicles designed specifically for the North American market (details of the remaining two vehicles will be announced at a later date).

Due to arrive to the US market in the spring of 2006 as a 2007 model, with prices to start from $23,750 for the front-wheel-drive Sport model (price as announced on 9th Jan.), the five-seat CX-7 is produced entirely on Mazda-derived platform architecture, blending sports car temperament with SUV practicality. But before, it will be displayed also at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan (public days from 14 to 22 January).

An aggressively rising belt line with a curved roof and prominent arches.

Exterior - The CX-7 exterior design is an extension of the sports car motif influenced by the 1995 RX-01 and 2005 MX-Crossport concept vehicles, with prominent front fenders and A-pillars rooted at the body’s leading edge.

The 66-degree rake angle of the windshield is sleeker than many SUVs and even sports cars. Distinct character lines run through the A-pillars along the edges of the hood to the front fascia.

Chief Designer Iwao Koizumi, whose previous works include the Mazda6 and the 1995 RX-01 showcar, names the Mazda CX-7 design theme, “advanced frontier”.

The side profile sports an aggressively rising belt line, a curved roof and prominent wheel arches. A tapered cabin rests securely on the lower body’s broad shoulders. From the rear, the detailed round motif tail lamp and large dual exhaust outlets also emphasise the sportscar styling.

A light, stiff unitary bodyshell for smooth ride and agile handling.

Mazda CX-7’s shape is aerodynamically optimised, with flush and tight panel and component alignment. Wiper arms are configured to match the surrounding cowl design and minimise wind noise.

Even beneath the vehicle, ribbed covers attached to the centre under-floor area help in reducing airflow turbulences.

Interior - Inside, the CX-7 three-dial instrument cluster, sports car inspired high-mounted shifter and form-fitting front bucket seats are meant for spirited motoring.

The dashboard panel consists of a unique ‘double-roof’ structure, in which a small ‘roof’ over the instrument cluster is positioned just in front of a large ‘roof’ that extends across the entire dashboard panel bringing together the driver and front passenger. The console supports the gear selector within close reach, with a three-spoke steering wheel and firmly contoured front bucket seats,.

Split rear seat to accommodate 3 adults or to extend the cargo.

For the two-tone interior trim, the side surface two-tone graphic reaches from the front doors all the way to the cargo space, and harmonises with the kicked-up beltline of the exterior side view.

The steering wheel and gear shift knob are covered by quality leather specially contoured for optimum tactile feel. The ventilation dials, the glove box door release and the door armrests were all tuned to provide a high quality look and feel. Soft-trim graining was engineered for exact colour match, minimal reflectivity and low gloss.

The 60-40 split rear seat is designed to accommodate three adults or to quickly convert to an extension of the 29.9 -cu. ft. (846 litres) cargo hold, bringing total cargo capacity up to 58.6- cu. ft (1659 litres, or 1.659 cubic metre). The 39-inch-long rear compartment (99 cm, seats up) offers more stowage space than some larger SUVs.

To venture beyond normal utility, Mazda claims its CX-7 has a cargo floor that is significantly longer than competitive models, with a flat load surface and a lip to prevent luggage from sliding forward. Rear seatback releases are located in the side of the cargo area for easy fold down from the rear. One side of the reversible boot floor is made of plastic, enabling the owner to carry soiled items without staining the carpet.

Another practicality comes in the lockable centre console which can swallow a compact laptop computer.

Click to open the table

Engine - Under the bonnet of the Mazda CX-7 is a version of the turbocharged and intercooled 2.3-litre four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine that powers the Mazda6 MPS sports saloon. The turbo-charged MZR 2.3 DISI (Direct Injection Spark Ignition) engine produces no less than 244-horsepower at 5,000 rpm, with a specific output of some 106 horsepower per litre. Furthermore, the Mazda CX-7 delivers an estimated 23 mpg in combined driving (preliminary figures), while the six-speed Sport AT transmission provides the full manual control for sporty driving.

The Mazda CX-7 engine is tuned to deliver 258 lb-ft of torque (349 Nm) at a low 2,500 rpm, with at least 99-percent of the maximum torque available all the way to 5,000 rpm, where peak horsepower is delivered. This 3,000 rpm spread of robust torque is part of what should make the CX-7 a fun-to-drive vehicle.

Key engine features are an aluminium block and head construction with forged internal components — crankshaft and connecting rods — for long-lasting durability. Balance shafts curb noise and vibration. A large air-to-air intercooler and direct fuel injection cool temperatures inside the cylinders. Changing the petrol’s state from liquid to vapour through the intake manifold to the cylinders provides the substantial cooling effect. The low charge temperature permits a high compression ratio of 9.5:1 (turbocharged and supercharged engines have lower compression ratios than normally aspirated engines, to prevent engine knock from early detonation), boosting low- and mid-range torque by approximately 10 per cent over conventional turbo engines.

A notable change from the Mazda6 MPS engine is a new turbocharger . The refined area of the turbine inlet port enhances throttle response at low rpm and minimises turbo boost lag. When the driver nudges the throttle, vigorous acceleration is like a much larger displacement engine – one approaching twice the size of the 2.3-litre MZR engine – but without the extra weight, fuel consumption, emissions and costs.

Two-tone ambiance with clarity and class.

Low exhaust emissions are achieved by connecting the catalytic converter directly to the turbocharger to speed warm-up and shorten the time required for the catalyst to become effective. The Mazda CX-7 targets stringent U.S. federal Bin 5 and California LEV-II emissions standards.

Drive system - The CX-7 will be available either as a front-wheel drive vehicle, or with Mazda’s Active Torque-Split All-Wheel Drive. The latter system uses a computer-controlled coupling integrated with the rear differential to deliver up to 50% of the engine torque to the rear wheels on demand (when the front wheels start to lose grip).

To optimise torque distribution, sensors monitor engine information (from the engine control unit), individual wheel speeds, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) operation, and the Mazda CX-7’s standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system.

Body - Unlike traditional body-on-frame SUVs, Mazda's CX-7 is a crossover, built with a light, stiff unitary bodyshell (unitized body structure), providing better foundations (than body-on-frame SUVs) for smooth ride and agile handling. Computer-Aided-Engineering analysis was used to optimise the structure with high torsional and bending rigidity, but with minimal weight.

Sporty, elegant and neat.

The body features a fully independent suspension. Coil springs and anti-roll bars are an integral part of both the front and rear suspension systems. All-season P235/60R18 tyres mounted on stylish 18-inch diameter aluminium wheels are standard.

In front, a perimeter frame mounted to the unibody through six rubber isolators supports the powertrain, the engine-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering and a low friction MacPherson strut suspension system.

The multilink rear suspension consists of one trailing arm and two lateral locating members each side. To minimise cargo-compartment intrusion, the rear spring is positioned between the lower lateral member and the cross member that anchors rear chassis hardware to the unibody. The damper is located between the wheel hub and the unibody to provide excellent motion control with minimal friction.

Safety - The CX-7 comes with four-wheel ventilated disc brakes, standard four-wheel anti-lock braking system ( ABS ), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control System (TCS). Equipment (standard and optional) remains to be checked depending on versions and markets.

Passive safety equipment will include six standard airbags (frontal and side for front seat occupants, side curtain for all outboard occupants). A special sensor anticipates a roll-over and inflates the side-curtain airbags early to guard against injury, maintaining inflation for approximately six seconds for a better limbs protection. Front occupant seatbelts have pretensioners and load-limiters to maximise their effectiveness.

Entertainment -  The CX-7 offers an AM/FM radio with a CD player as standard. A touch-screen DVD-based navigation system with voice commands and a rear-view camera system are available as options, just like the Bose® premium sound system package that includes nine speakers, approximately 240 watts of amplification, a six-CD changer and Centerpoint® surround-sound system that offers five-channel digital imaging.

Another convenient feature is the optional Mazda Advanced Keyless Entry & Start System. Without removing the card shaped device from one’s pocket, doors can be unlocked, the engine can be started (or stopped). Also, the front electric windows can be operated from outside the car, and the optional sunroof can be opened and closed. To maximise security, an automatic break-in alarm is available as an option.

Three equipment levels - The Mazda CX-7 is offered in three equipment levels. Some of the highlights of the standard features are manual air conditioning, power windows, power door locks, retractable key, cruise control, six airbags, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and a Traction Control System (TCS).

The Touring edition adds leather trim (seats, steering wheel, gear shift knob), power adjustment of the driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a retractable cargo cover.

The top-line Grand Touring Mazda CX-7 is equipped with features such as leather trim with a black sport seat stripe, high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, front fog lamps, body-colour door mirrors, chrome door handles and automatic interior climate control.

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