Ride & Handling

Impressively, Mazda continues to make good on its zoom-zoom marketing tagline. Just about every one of its models, with the possible exception of the Escape clone Tribute, is among the most engaging to drive in its respective segment. The CX-7 is no different: The heavy steering wheel takes a bit more effort to turn, but it isn't overly stiff in parking lots. It transmits precise inputs on curvy roads, and on the highway it's evenly weighted when pointed straight ahead. Body roll is minimal, and the chassis sticks to the road over bumpy corners more than I'd expect in an SUV. I found myself throwing the CX-7 around with carlike abandon at times, and though understeer is prevalent at the limits, it sticks to its course pretty well.

Like nearly all crossovers, the CX-7 uses a four-wheel-independent suspension. The wheels hit bumps with little noise or reverberation, and road and wind noise on the highway remains relatively low. Ambient noise, however, seems high; on the highway, trucks passing in the next lane can drown out your music — unless you're listening to U2's "Achtung Baby," in which case it'll probably all blend together. (Cue the hate mail.)

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