Mazda CX-7: Arriving Late 2006
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12th February, 2006
The all-new Mazda CX-7 will go on sale in November, making Australia the first market outside of North America to receive the crossover SUV with the soul of a sports car.
To be priced below $50,000, the CX-7 will compliment an updated Tribute range, which arrives in Mazda dealerships about mid year.
Apart from its stand-out Mazda styling, which remains faithful to the MX-Crossport concept that stars on the Mazda stand at this year’s Melbourne International Motor Show, the CX-7 is expected to introduce a number of firsts to its market segment.
Using a 2.3-litre direct injection (DISI) turbocharged engine, CX-7 will deliver plenty of power and torque, with the four-cylinder engine developing more than 170kW in Australian specification, while torque peaks at a substantial 350Nm at just 2,500rpm.
Connected to a six-speed automatic transmission with Activematic gear selection, the CX-7, which rides on 18 inch wheels, promises to match its strong performance with good fuel economy.
The crossover SUV’s impressive power and torque will drive Mazda’s Active Torque Split All Wheel Drive system that, like the CX-7’s direct injection engine, debuted last year on the high performance Mazda 6 MPS.
The CX-7’s safety credentials will be impressive with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), traction control and ABS anti-lock brakes part of the package. It will also come standard with dual front, front side and head protecting curtain airbags (six in total).
The Active Torque Split All Wheel Drive system uses a computer-controlled coupling integrated with the rear differential to deliver up to half the available torque to the rear wheels on demand.
Sensors monitor engine information, individual wheel speed, the ABS system, and the CX-7’s standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) to optimise torque distribution. Whether the driving conditions are dry and fast or slippery and moderately paced, exceptional handling is assured.
“The early arrival of the CX-7 to Australia is further evidence of the importance of this market to Mazda. Adding CX-7 alongside a significantly updated Tribute range gives Mazda, for the first time, two impressive entrants into the growing SUV market,” said Doug Dickson, managing director of Mazda Australia.
In 2005 Mazda sold a record 65,520 vehicles in Australia, achieving a 6.7 per cent market share.
CX-7 is a clean break from the fleet of traditional SUVs currently offered. It is engineered with Mazda’s trademark, “Soul of a Sportscar” and built entirely on Mazda-derived platform architecture.
Programme manager Shunsuke Kawasaki shows his confidence by stating, “There is no doubt this SUV reflects Zoom-Zoom. CX-7 skillfully blends sports car verve with SUV practicality. It is a vehicle that brings together performance and design like never before and this deviation from the crossover norm is inviting to look at, entertaining to drive, and fun to use.”
DISTINCTIVE AND SOPHISTICATED EXTERIOR
Chief designer, Iwao Koizumi, whose previous works include the successful MAZDA 6 and the 1995 RX-01 showcar, names the design theme, “advanced frontier”. CX-7 takes Mazda and its Zoom-Zoom image into an area it has never before ventured.
Notes Koizumi, “My idea for the CX-7 design was to combine dynamic movement, speedy shapes, and a bold presence in one passionate statement. Mazda has the sports car heritage to offer a crossover SUV with a strong and distinctive appearance.”
The 66-degree windshield angle featured here is sleeker than many sportscars, let alone SUVs. Distinct character lines run through the A-pillars and along the edges of the hood to the front fascia. A five-pointed grille and prominent front guards reveal a clear Mazda family identity.
The side profile sports an aggressively rising belt line, a curved roof and prominent wheel arches, producing Mazda’s unique signature. A tapered cabin rests securely on the lower body’s broad shoulders. From the rear, the detailed round motif tail lamp and large dual exhaust outlets also emphasise the Zoom-Zoom sportscar feature.
This distinctive overall exterior design is well balanced with the aerodynamics of the vehicle.
CX-7’s shape is aerodynamically efficient with best-in-class performance for coefficient of drag. Ribbed covers attached to the centre under-floor area are especially helpful in optimising aerodynamics.
While it provides outstanding aerodynamic performance, this exterior design does not compromise craftsmanship. Panel and component part-gaps are flush and tight. Wiper arms are configured to match the surrounding cowl design and minimise wind noise. Attention to detail makes this car what it is.
SPORTY AND HIGH QUALITY INTERIOR
An advanced and sporty image was pursued in designing the interior. The instrument panel consists of a unique ‘double-roof’ structure, in which a small ‘roof’ over the meter cluster is positioned just in front of a large ‘roof’ that extends across the entire instrument panel bringing together the driver and front passenger. To draw drivers inside, there’s a three-dial instrument cluster, a console supporting the shifter within close reach, three-spoke steering wheel and firmly contoured front bucket seats, all provided with a high quality feel.
A high level of craftsmanship completes the interior design. For example, for the leather trim, the steering wheel and shift knob are covered by high quality leather specially contoured for optimum tactile feel. The ventilation dials, the glove box door knob and the door armrests were all tuned to provide a high quality look and feel. Soft-trim graining was engineered for perfect colour match, minimal reflectivity and low gloss. Mazda’s attention to detail is visible upon first glance into the vehicle.
ZOOM-ZOOM WITH ROOM
Using the innovative MX-Crossport concept shown at the 2005 Detroit Motor Show for inspiration, the chief designer mapped out the CX-7 with ample space for five occupants. The rear seat not only carries three passengers in comfort, it also splits and folds 60:40 to increase cargo capacity and versatility.
To venture far beyond normal utility expectations, CX-7 has a cargo floor that is significantly longer than competitive models at approximately 1,780 mm with a flat load surface and a lip to prevent luggage from sliding forward. With the rear seats in use, the cargo length is an impressive 990 mm and can accommodate three full-size golf bags. Rear seatback releases are located in the side of the cargo area for easy fold down from the rear. One side of the reversible luggage area board is made of plastic, enabling the owner to carry soiled items without staining the carpet.
Thorough research aimed at determining what personal possessions CX-7 owners are most likely to carry resulted in glove box, floor console, and door pocket designs that accommodate life’s paraphernalia. For example, the lockable centre console can swallow a compact laptop computer and space is provided for coins and sunglasses. Front door pockets are handy locations for beverage bottles. Two cup holders in the centre console offer a stable place to carry large containers without interfering with shift lever operation. A pocket attached to the front seatback is ideal for maps and brochures.
BALANCE OF AMPLE POWER AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE - MZR 2.3L DISI TURBO ENGINE
The heart of every Mazda is its spirited powertrain and the CX-7’s 2.3-litre, direct injection turbocharged engine has been engineered to deliver high performance at all speeds, along with low exhaust emissions and excellent fuel economy.
Key elements of the new-generation engine are aluminium block and head construction with forged internal components — crankshaft and connecting rods — for long-lasting durability. Balance shafts curb noise and vibration. A large air-to-air intercooler and direct fuel injection cool temperature inside the cylinder. Shifting petrol’s change in state from liquid to vapor from the intake manifold to the cylinder provides the substantial cooling effect. The low charge temperature permits use of high compression ratio — 9.5:1 — which boosts low and mid-range torque by approximately 10 percent over conventional turbo engines.
A notable change from the Mazda 6 MPS engine is a new turbocharger. The refined area of the turbine inlet port enhances throttle response at low rpm and diminishes boost lag. When the driver nudges the throttle, acceleration is reminiscent of a much larger displacement engine, one approaching twice the size of the 2.3-litre MZR engine, but without the extra weight that hampers agility and the extra consumption that boosts emissions and operating costs.
The MZR 2.3 DISI turbo engine’s torque peaks at a low 2,500 rpm when 350 Nm of torque is available. It is tuned so that muscular feel begins at 2,000 rpm, and maintains at least 99-percent of the maximum torque all the way to 5,000 rpm, where peak horsepower is delivered.
Low exhaust emissions are achieved by connecting the catalytic converter directly to the turbocharger to shorten the time required for the catalyst to become effective.
CRAFTY CHASSIS WITH MAZDA SPORTSCAR DNA
A light, stiff unibody provides the sound foundation for CX-7’s smooth ride and agile handling. Computer-Aided-Engineering analysis was used to optimise this structure, delivering high torsional and bending rigidity with minimal weight.
In front, a perimeter frame mounted to the unibody through six rubber isolators supports the powertrain, the engine-speed-sensitive rack-and-pinion power steering and a low friction MacPherson strut suspension system. The multilink rear suspension consists of one trailing arm and two lateral locating members per side. To minimise cargo-compartment intrusion, the rear spring is positioned between the lower lateral member and the cross member that anchors rear chassis hardware to the unibody. The damper is located between the wheel hub and the unibody to provide excellent motion control with minimal friction. Coil springs and anti-roll bars are an integral part of both suspension systems. P235/60R18 tyres mounted on stylish aluminium wheels are standard.
CX-7’s four-wheel ventilated disc brake system integrates the Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Traction Control System (TCS), and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) functions. It also collaborates with the Active Torque Split All-Wheel Drive to prevent wheel spin on slippery surfaces.
CX-7’s rigid unibody uses the Mazda Advanced Impact energy Distribution and Absorption System to realise high levels of collision safety and helps to protect occupants in various accident situations, including front, side and rear impacts. The body’s frame sections are large in size and as straight as possible, high-strength steel is used where it’s effective, and subframe connections help absorb collision energy. Stamping the side frame from a single tailored blank minimises centre pillar deformation during a side impact.
The fuel tank is surrounded by substantial members to guard against leakage in a major rear collision.
Six air bags are standard. A special sensor anticipates a roll-over and inflates the side-curtain air bags early to guard against injury, maintaining inflation for approximately six seconds helps keep limbs out of harm’s way. Front occupant restraints have pretensioner and load-limiter mechanisms to maximise their effectiveness.
This information reflects preliminary specifications and was correct at the time of publication and is subject to change without notice.
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