Mazda CX-7 2.2 turbodiesel07 | 04 | 2011Scotcars rating

    A cross-country trip to the Galloway Hills is the perfect test for Mazda's offroading CX-7


    A trip to the Galloway coast is a rare delight and is usually tackled from the central belt by the coast road via Girvan and Stranraer, or down the thunderous A74 followed by a battle with the Irish artics on the equally fearsome A75. But there is a better way – across country amid the stunning landscape of the Galloway Hills.

    I’ve been down that way a few times before, but usually in a rally car and more concerned with getting to the time controls without incurring penalties, than soaking up the magnificent views. Head for Ayr and then cut off and head for Carsphairn and New Galloway before making for Newton Stewart.

    We were aiming for a weekend in the delightful Isle of Whithorn, which isn’t an island, but has all the feel and attractiveness of one. The weather was glorious and we had the added delight of the latest CX-7 four wheel drive from Mazda. It’s a surprisingly big car with loads of space for all the clutter that comes with a weekend away and although we didn’t need the added traction of the all-wheel-drive, it was re-assuring to know it was there if we decided to, literally, head for the hills and do some serious off-roading.  

    On the road

    The active torque split 4x4 is superb and gives extra security on even normal tarmac roads and held the test car firmly to the twisting, undulating route through the Galloway Hills. The six-speed manual gearbox is silky smooth but I found that I had to work it hard to get the most from the 2.2 litre diesel. As a result, there was a lot of action up and down the box between third and sixth to get what is a fairly heavy vehicle up some demanding hills.

    That sounds more strenuous than it was and the car drives as keenly as a standard family saloon, except for quite a lot of body roll on the bends. Having said that, I clocked up more than 400 miles over the weekend, and I really enjoyed being with the car.  

    Comfort & Safety

    The test car was extremely comfortable with full leather, powered heated seats with memory settings. There were lots of toys including multi-information display and trip computer and the large 4-inch colour screen was a great benefit. Mazda also have one of the best Bluetooth systems for pairing with your mobile phone where it talks you through the process with a range of options. In contrast to many other systems which, even by consulting the manual, prove to be unfathomable, the Mazda links every time and continues to do so each time you start up.

    The test car also had cruise control, rain sensitive wipers, automatic xenon headlights, rear view parking camera and privacy glass in the rear. It also has all the safety features you’d expect plus Mazda’s rear vehicle monitoring lane change assist system. It’s a fabulous package and represents superb value for money.  

    Should I buy one?

    It’s not a big and beefy off-roader but it will keep you safe and secure and you get a lot for your money.

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £26,995 / £27,495
    Engine / Power: 2184cc / 170bhp
    How fast?: 11.3 secs,  Max 124mph
    How big/heavy?: H1645mm W1870mm L4700mm / 1790kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 37.7mpg / CO2 199g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 14E / Band J £235
    Alternatives: Audi Q5; BMWX3; Hyundai Santa Fe; Kia Sorento

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