The award-winning Mazda CX-7 continued to do relatively good work in the small-crossover segment in August, sitting in sort of a third tier of vehicles that includes the Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Compass and Kia Sportage - all of which, including the CX-7, scored between 4,100 and 4,400 sales last month. The vehicle’s growth rate has been strong as well, with August sales up 26.2 percent and year-to-date deliveries running 25.1 percent ahead of last year’s pace—making the CX-7 the fastest-growing vehicle in the Mazda lineup for both periods. But while the CX-7 has clawed out an impressive sales niche for itself, with its swoopy style and zoom-zoom driving dynamics, it’s still pretty much in the same place it was last year in the small-crossover sales hierarchy, since the other three vehicles mentioned above are enjoying double-digit sales increases, too.
Of course, the problem here is that the CX-7 doesn’t quite fit in with that trio, since it’s about 10 inches longer than each of them. Technically, I’d have to call the Mazda a compact crossover, at a bit over 184 inches, and put the Sportage, Tucson and Compass, all about 174 inches in length, into the subcompact crossover segment. But that’s just me, and because the crossover segments haven’t solidified the way the car categories have, customers cross-shop different-sized entries here in a way they don’t do with different-sized cars.
Thus, when folks start shopping for a sporty-ish, light-on-its-feet crossover at a Mazda store—which would seem like a good place to start—they find only the CX-7. And as zoomy as that may be, it doesn’t have the tight proportions of something like the Sportage, nor does it have the Kia’s ability to top 30 mpg. It’s a segment/niche/category that’s been crying out for a Mazda entry—and the automaker has both heard that call and answered it, debuting the unsurprisingly named 2013 Mazda CX-5 at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show.