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MSRP Range: $23,750 - $28,000
Fuel Economy: 16 MPG city / 22 MPG highway

Zoomy crossover SUV competes with CR-V.

Introduction
The Mazda CX-7 fits neatly into the zoom-zoom mold: sporty but functional; roomy but svelte; snappy but comfortable. It has a surprisingly powerful, and fairly frugal, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with a state-of-the-art six-speed automatic transmission, motivating a sporty-looking and sporty-handling five-passenger vehicle that will haul nearly as much stuff as it does people.

The Mazda CX-7 offers seating for five people, decent cargo space, a comprehensive set of standard safety features and distinctive looks. We found it fun to drive, with responsive handling and good high-speed stability.

Mazda introduced the CX-7 for 2007 as a totally new crossover utility vehicle to compete against the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, among others. Crossovers, as they're called, have become the hottest segment in the auto industry. They combine the high seating position and cargo capacity of a truck-based sport utility vehicle with the agility, smoothness and fuel economy of a car. And many folks who find a minivan or station wagon just to ego-bruising seem okay with a crossover.

As the CX-7 was all-new for 2007, very little has changed for the 2008 model year. There has been some fiddling with the option list and, thanks to some reprogramming of the engine management, premium fuel is now recommended rather than required, so it will run on regular gas. The CX-7 still starts at less than $24,000 for the front-wheel-drive version. A well-equipped, nicely featured, all-wheel-drive model goes for less than $30,000; and the top model with every option box checked comes in just around $35,000. Though a bit pricier than the prime opposition, the CX-7 excels in ride and handling.

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