The CX-7 has always been one of the more sporting, road-biased SUVs, and the latest one is no different. Like the Infiniti EX37, the Mazda puts considerable emphasis on handling, which means it’s firmly sprung and feels astonishingly light and agile for a reasonably big SUV. In 2010, the CX-7’s bodyshell was re-engineered for improved torsional rigidity and refinement, both of which helped contribute to its cross-country ability.

The ride quality over broken urban streets and pitter-patter rural B-roads is good if not exceptional, and any harshness is quickly and effectively damped. So what of the CX-7’s more conventional SUV attributes? Has Mazda combined fine on-road manners with serious off-road credentials? Not even close; in fact, Mazda suggests that CX-7 not be taken off road at all.

The CX-7 gets a keenness to change direction that betters most in the class