Feb 1 2010 Steve Orme
CX7 - simple option for snow confusion
A SHORT time ago one of my colleagues claimed we were to get more snow. This caused something of an over-reaction and I will continue to write this until the paramedics have finished.
I honestly think most people would currently rather see Amy Winehouse in charge of the NHS than face more snow.
So who's to blame? Well the Met Office, obviously, and councils for running out of grit. But let's be reasonable here. In the autumn they were told by a man with runny isobars that, because of global warming, Millets would not sell a single nylon parka this winter. Naturally they then ordered just enough salt for the canteen.
A little introspection would not go amiss either. There's something about snow that turns British driving into embarrassing 70s comedy. Traffic either limps along like a Harry Worth script or someone big in ladies pants causes a huge pile up by driving his company BMW to the music from Benny Hill.
Almost three million drivers crashed during the cold snap. Unlucky? Only in the Titanic sense.
Yes I accept that black ice is something else, forcing people from one Pennine village to cross the road on their hands and knees. And it wasn't even Saturday night.
Owning a 4x4 will not make you immune to the laws of physics but it will give an advantage.
Of course I understand that you really don't want trouble from the beardies but did you know they now do four-wheel drive in plain clothes?
Not in the dull sense. Far from it in the case of the Mazda CX-7, facelifted to look positively upmarket.
The Mazda's underpinnings have also been beefed up and noise levels reduced. And here's something else. Because, clearly, we are easily confused by such complications as winter there is only one, six-speed, hig spec, 2.2-litre turbodiesel version costing £26,340 with no options beyond metallic paint.
Inside we'll call it busy, in the case of the repeater controls on the steering wheel, very busy. Instruments are set deep and at night the intense back lighting should be visible to Elvis.
Roomy? Like Bin Laden's cave.
On the road the diesel engineis powerful but not particularly quick at 11.2 seconds to 62mph. It is, though, an excellent high-speed cruiser and the Caravan Club will love it. As indeed will those who enjoy a spirited drive. Handling is up there with the best. Cost wise 38mpg is reasonable with 199g/km of greenhouses keeping the tax down.
All this and some added value in that this is the first car with a Euro5-standard engine. It is just possibly the least polluting diesel in production. Does that give you a warm glow or is that the heated seats?
The permanent 4x4 system is well able to cope with tracks, fields and slipways.
So there you have it. Snow is no excuse for extreme violence or bad driving. But if we are likely to see more of it in future, as some say, it is a reason to think about a CX-7.