The 2013 Mazda CX-5 is on sale now. The compact crossover is a big model for Mazda, so big in fact that it is replacing two other Mazda models. It was already known that the ford-sourced Mazda Tribute was being discontinued, but now it has been confirmed that the Mazda CX-7 will be discontinued after 2012.
A Sub-Par Crossover
The CX-7, a mid-size crossover, has been a sub-par offering from Mazda since it debuted in 2007. It has received nowhere near the number of the accolades its larger sibling the Mazda CX-9 has received. The 2012 CX-7 offers a 244 horsepower turbo-charged four-cylinder engine with seating for five but offers poor fuel economy and below average cargo room. In fact, the CX-5 has more cargo room than the CX-7 and is rated at 35-highway with front-wheel drive compared to 24-mpg for the CX-7.
The CX-7’s fuel economy with the turbocharged engine and all-wheel drive (AWD) is rated at a poor 17-mpg city and 21-mpg highway. Even the much larger CX-9 AWD gets 22-mpg highway. For the 2010 model year, Mazda began offering its more fuel-efficient 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the CX-7. Models with this engine and front-wheel drive are rated at 20-mpg city and 27-mpg highway, which still lags nearly all its competitors. For example, the 2012 Chevy Equinox is rated at 32-mpg with front-wheel drive.
A Superior Successor
“CX-5 has a clearer competitive set, unlike CX-7, which was in the middle of two segments,”
– Mazda product communications specialist Beverly Braga
While the model offers a zoom-zoom driving experience and a sporty appearance, it otherwise has little practicality relative to its competitors. The model was a bit of a tweener lacking the panache and styling of a model like the Nissan Murano but lacking the fuel economy and cargo capacity of models like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The model’s curvy shape cut into it’s hauling abilities.
Thus, the arrival of the CX-5 is not really expanding Mazda’s SUV lineup. It’s more of a replacement, and a very good one at that. Mazda lacks a fuel-efficient V6 or turbocharged four-cylinder engine to allow the CX-7 to compete in the midsize five-passenger crossover class against models such as the aforementioned Murano and Ford Edge.
Mazda has stated that while the CX-7 will be discontinued and phased out at the end of the 2012 model year, the model will continue to be sold in overseas markets. The CX-7 is assembled in Hiroshima, Japan.
Fuel Efficient Engines are a Must
The death of the CX-7 in America is another example of the importance of fuel efficiency for automakers. The CX-7’s turbocharged four cylinder engine was similar to Acura’s turbocharged four found in the Acura RDX from 2007 to 2012. The 2013 RDX is being reborn ditching the inefficient turbo four and replacing it with a more efficient V6 engine.
New turbocharged four-cylinder engines such as what is seen in the Kia Sportage SX, Ford Explorer with EcoBoost, Land Rover Evoque, and forthcoming 2013 BMW X3 are much more fuel-efficient and are making an impact in the marketplace.
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