With the arrival of the new diesel model, the Mazda CX-7 can now fulfil its promise.

This car is a world better than the previous petrol-powered version. Not only is it far more economical (37.7mpg, according to official figures), but the power delivery is better suited to towing, with strong pull from 2000rpm which keeps on building.

Our acceleration runs were hampered by a strong headwind in one direction. In reality, the CX-7 is much quicker than the recorded time of 18.4 seconds. Our judges described the Mazda’s acceleration as ‘very strong’, ‘excellent’ and ‘lively’.

The Mazda stopped even better than it went, needing just 10 metres to come to a halt from 30mph. When less dramatic deceleration was needed the brakes were easy to apply smoothly.

The Mazda was just as impressive in our stability tests. It was well behaved at 60mph and beyond in a straight line, which should make for relaxed towing on the motorway. If you need to take avoiding action in a hurry and don’t have room to brake, the Mazda will be on your side. It felt secure at all speeds through the emergency lane-change test.

The price tag is the wrong side of £26,000, but the long list of standard equipment is some compensation. Satellite navigation, a 6-CD changer, electrically adjustable leather seats, climate control and a rear-view camera are standard fit.

Our practicality judge was pleased to find the parking camera and managed to fit the full load of holiday luggage in the boot. However, the handbook warned against using the space-saver spare wheel when towing, and further points were lost for the absence of a Trailer Stability Programme to help the driver deal with a snake.

These reservations are soon at the back of your mind once the van has been unhitched, because the CX-7 is such good fun to drive.

Other cars in this category

Honda CR-V

2.2 iDTEC EX auto


Mazda CX-7

2.2 D Sport Tech


Suzuki Grand Vitara

1.9 DDiS SZ5

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