Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Mazda CX-7 performance isn’t exactly scintillating. In November 2009, Mazda dropped the turbocharged 2.3-litre petrol engine and replaced it with a 2.2-litre diesel engine with much improved fuel consumption of 38mpg. It’s not as powerful (173bhp) or as quick (0-62mph in 11.3 seconds) as the petrol was, but thanks to a decent amount of pulling power it does feel quick as the power starts from low-down and builds smoothly across the rev range. There’s no hint of clatter from the refined engine, only a sporty exhaust note.

Parkers recommends

The diesel is the only choice now in the CX-7 range and it’s a superb engine to have under the bonnet. Shame there’s no automatic gearbox option, however.

Various suspension tweaks, body reinforcements and steering settings mean the CX-7 handles deftly considering its size. The steering, while lacking the razor-sharp feel of a sports car, is lively enough to steer the car confidently on twisty roads, and gives drivers good feel for the road surface. The CX-7 has excellent composure when changing direction suddenly and good levels of grip when cornering hard - the gearchange is also satisfyingly short and precise.