Going & Stopping

You wouldn't believe how many shoppers out there think a V-6 is always superior to a four-cylinder engine, no matter what. I bet a lot of people will discount the CX-7 because it has a four-cylinder underneath its menacing hood. Hold on Ч this is a turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 244 horsepower and 258 pounds-feet of torque, and it can really move.

Not many SUVs Ч or crossovers, for that matter Ч truly act like cars. But the CX-7 lives up to its marketing, moving as sportingly as any midlevel, midsize sedan I've tested. Floor the accelerator and you'll shoot from the tollbooth with gusto and extreme control. My wife took over for me on a long road trip, and even she will admit a grin crossed her face as she passed some slowpokes in the center lane.

My only gripe with the powerplant is the six-speed automatic, and it's only a relevant gripe at highway speeds. When cruising, the transmission would pop down out of sixth gear far too soon, even when I didn't want to pass or accelerate. I would bet most drivers wouldn't notice this on routine commutes, and it didn't annoy me after I got used to the small threshold I was given.

Braking was carlike and quite firm. It offered reassuring feel for the size of the vehicle and the character of the handling.

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