Exterior

There is no understating the looks of the CX-7; it's a bold design statement all around. Onlookers are confronted with a menacing face and blacked-out grille, all pulled together by a very, very large Mazda emblem. The front wheels are topped by exaggerated fenders that remind me of Mazda's RX-8 sports car. They also force the eye down the CX-7's side profile to the tapered rear windows, which narrow considerably at the rear. While that effect is great for exterior design, I found that this eye-catching element actually detracted from the driving experience. More on that later.

Even from behind, the CX-7 shines, with frosted plastic taillights that exhibit an expensive air. Large 17-inch wheels add to the muscular look, as does the low ride height, which also allows for easy access for passengers and cargo.

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