CX-7 a front run­ner

The new-look CX-7 has gone on show, but not at the Mel­bourne event, writes NEILMcDONALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

TIME has run out for Mazda Aus­tralia to get the facelifted CX-7 on the stand at the Mel­bourne Mo­tor Show. Un­veiled at last week’s Toronto Mo­tor Show in Canada, the CX-7 flew un­der the radar with its newlook wagon — a part from the US, Canada is one of Mazda’s big­gest ex­port mar­kets.

Along with an ex­te­rior fresh­enup, Mazda has added a front-drive CX-7, pow­ered by the same 2.5-litre nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gine from the Mazda6 and the new Mazda3 SP25.

Mazda Aus­tralia spokesman Glenn But­ler says the com­pany is very keen on the front-drive four­cylin­der ver­sion.

‘‘It’s some­thing we’re looking at and are very in­ter­ested in,’’ he says. ‘‘There is ob­vi­ously some po­ten­tial for a ve­hi­cle un­der the cur­rent price point. It’s all about price.’’

The 2.5-litre front-wheel-drive four pro­duces 125kW at 6000 revs and 226Nm at 4000 revs and is mated to a five-speed au­to­matic.

The 2.3-litre di­rect-in­jec­tion turbo CX-7 all-wheel-drive starts at $41,140.

A front-wheel-drive model could be up to $3000 cheaper, though But­ler says it’s still too early to spec­u­late on prices or spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

He de­scribes the cur­rent twom­odel CX-7 turbo as top-heavy with per­for­mance and equip­ment, leav­ing some room for a lower-specced model.

Apart from a front-drive CX-7, Mazda Aus­tralia is also be­lieved to be looking at a tur­bod­iesel CX-7, us­ing the same 136kW/400Nm 2.2-litre en­gine as the Mazda6.

Vis­ually, Mazda stylists left the car’s over­all sil­hou­ette alone but ti­died up the front grille, rear bumper and tail-lights.

The front gets the five-point ‘‘fam­ily face’’ grille treat­ment seen on ev­ery­thing from the RX-8 and Mazda3 to the MX-5.

Mazda has in­creased body rigid­ity and low­ered noise and vi­bra­tion, as well as wind noise.

To help im­prove fuel econ­omy in the 2.3-litre CX-7, the six-speed ‘‘Ac­tive­matic’’ gear­box gets an im­proved shift pat­tern and torque con­verter lock-up con­trol.

On the in­side the soft-roader has higher qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, Blue­tooth com­pat­i­bil­ity and a new de­sign for the gauges in­clud­ing black­out me­ters with three-di­men­sional di­als and a small colour dis­play unit at the top of the in­stru­ment panel.

The re­vised CX-7 is due to come to lo­cal show­rooms in the sec­ond half of the year.

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