Seating & Cargo

Touring and Grand Touring trims have leather seats, which offer good lateral support but could use a bit more cushioning. Both trims also get a power driver's seat with an impressive range of travel in all directions. Alas, the steering wheel only tilts; the RAV4, Tiguan and uplevel Foresters offer tilt and telescoping adjustments.

One passenger noted that the short rear doors make the backseat a chore to enter, but headroom and legroom are excellent once you're there. The seat cushions angle upward, offering good thigh support, but the seatbacks don't recline, which is possible in many competitors.

The backseat folds in a 60/40-split, and save a ceiling-anchored middle seat belt, the setup is perfect. (The belt obscures visibility and interferes with luggage space in a way that belts anchored into the seatback don't.) Both sides are spring-loaded to fall on their own via release handles in the cargo area, and the resulting load floor is gap-free. Best of all, the outboard seat belts are mounted in the seats rather than the C-pillars, so they don't get caught behind the seatbacks as you return the seats upright. Very clever. All told, Mazda gets points for doing what it could with the limited space: The CX-7 has less cargo space than most of the pack, and it doesn't offer a fold-flat front passenger seat to accommodate long cargo, as some competitors with smaller cargo areas do.

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