To date we have raved about the quality of the Mazda and the vehicles they produced post 2004. Unfortunately The Mazda 7 seems to be the achilles heal of Mazda production. The first of the CX7s to be released shared the same mechanical reliability as the Proton Jumbuck.
The bulk of the problems seem to surround the petrol 2.3 engine fitted to the early models, 2006 – 2009. The timing chains are known to stretch. This fault gives symptoms ranging from rattling noises on start up, petrol engine sounding like diesels, all the way through to chains stretching to the point of complete failure, valves hitting pistons and proverbial Mazda engines coming to dismal endings.
An unnamed source within our Mazda contacts feels that this fault is less about a poorly designed vehicle and more just the age of the vehicle. However, further research suggests this is not the case. The early model CX7 from about 2009-2012 seem to have been made with some very common faults. In fact when faced with the conundrum of which is a better choice, owning a CX7 or boarding the Cost Concordia on January 13 2012, I’d opt for a good quality life jacket.
The CX7 seemed to improve as time went on, yet some faults remain. The more recent models having the basic faults of chewing through tyres quicker than a 17 year old in his dads Holden Commodore and high fuel consumption.
Other issues that earn the early model CX7 the title of “The Automotive Equivalent to Ted Bundy” include frequent turbo failure (often affiliated with oil starvation issues), sludge build up in the engines which has led to premature bearing failure and major engine failure.
They are also commonly known for air conditioning compressor failures which from what we have experienced is yet to be rectified by the manufacturer.
Whilst information retrieved from keyboard warriors on internet forums is always taken with a grain of salt, we have come across a consistent link between the common issue of sludge in the engine and consumers leaving service intervals for longer than six months. Whilst most vehicles will forgive you for occasionally missing a service or pushing service frequency out to 12 months, it would seem the CX7 will not tolerate it. If you happen to own one of these we strongly recommend six month servicing no matter how many kilometres its done.
Overall the CX7 is a bit average the early models built between 2006-2009 should be avoided at all costs. The newer models seem to be more reliable however the test of time will show if they are the same. In 2012 the CX7 stopped being produced in favour of the better looking and far more reliable CX5.