Last year’s class champion only just misses out to the all-round excellence of the BMW 5 Series. Even so, it takes the Editor’s Choice Award.
The CX-7 has been set up for firm, sporty handling, and it shows. There’s little roll when cornering and plenty of grip. In the lane-change test the Mazda was firmly in control of the caravan right up until the final high-speed run, when the tourer began to push and shove at the back of the car slightly.
For an outfit with a combined weight of well over three tonnes, stopping from 30mph in just 10 metres was very impressive. The brakes aren’t just powerful – they’re easy to apply smoothly, too. The handbrake needed a firm pull before holding the outfit still on the 1-in-6 slope. There were no dramas coping with the steep gradient in first gear or reverse provided the driver used plenty of revs.
Inside, there’s enough space for five to get comfortable, although we couldn’t find room for all of our holiday luggage. You’d also need to empty the boot to get the jack out.
The Mazda drinks fuel quicker than most rivals (37.7mpg, according to official figures), but that must be weighed against the keen list price and generous standard equipment.