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There are many people who like the idea of driving a capable and versatile vehicle but don't necessarily need something that's too large. For these types of customers, crossovers and compact SUVs can be perfect. The good news is that there are many small crossovers/SUVs currently available, and the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek and Mazda CX-30 are two excellent choices.
Subaru and Mazda have concentrated on building stylish and high-quality vehicles. At the same time, they've kept their prices relatively low. This means that the Crosstrek and CX-30 are likely to have broad appeal. These two models are quite similar to each other, and this detailed comparison should help prospective buyers decide which one would be a better fit.
In the Subaru Crosstrek, the first two trims use 2.0-liter engines. One of these engines can deliver 152 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. An important note is that this 2.0-liter engine comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. However, if someone doesn't want a stick-shift, he/she can opt to get a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission.
The next two trims are powered by 2.5-liter engines. Since these are larger than the standard versions, they're able to generate more power. They come with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque. There is no option for a manual transmission with this engine; the only transmission offered is a Linearatronic continuously variable transmission.
There's a final type of powertrain that's available with the Subaru Crosstrek. It's a hybrid powertrain that uses an electric motor and a 2.0-liter engine. It comes with 148 horsepower, which is still a decent amount. If anyone plans on towing cargo with a Crosstrek, keep in mind that the hybrid has a towing capacity of 1,000 pounds. In comparison, all of the other trims can tow up to 1,5000 pounds.
There are two engine options for the Mazda CX-30, both of which are paired with six-speed electronically controlled sport automatic transmissions. The first is a 2.5-liter engine that can churn out 186 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. The other is a 2.5-liter engine with a turbocharger, and it's able to make up to 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. This is significantly more than what the Crosstrek can do, so this is likely going to be a point that performance-minded drivers will remember. Like the Crosstrek, the CX-30 should be able to tow up to 1,500 pounds, though customers should check with their dealerships to make sure their vehicles have all the right equipment.
With the lower trims of the CX-30, customers can choose to get either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD). The AWD system has off-road traction assist to give the Mazda better grip when the road or trail is particularly slippery. The higher trims of the CX-30 all come standard with turbo engines in addition to standard AWD. This can improve handling not only when it's snowy or icy but also when the vehicle is cornering or accelerating.
It's a little different with the Crosstrek, since every trim comes standard with all-wheel drive. Subaru's symmetrical AWD system keeps the vehicle balanced and gives it stability in a variety of conditions. X-MODE is an available feature that enhances traction even more. There's also an available Hill Descent Control program that can limit unintentional acceleration when traveling down steep hills. It seems as if the Subaru Crosstrek is the more durable and rugged of the two models, though the CX-30 can be the more spirited one, especially if it has the turbo engine.
Fuel efficiency is going to be another important factor when people are deciding between the Crosstrek and the CX-30. A Mazda CX-30 with front-wheel drive can earn an estimated 25 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway. If the vehicle has AWD or the advanced engine, its fuel efficiency drops slightly. The Subaru Crosstrek is in the same general range. The best that it can do with the 2.0-liter engine is 28 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway. If it has the 2.5-liter engine, it can achieve 27 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway.
The hybrid Crosstrek is at a completely different level, as it has an estimated combined fuel economy of 90 MPGe. Obviously, this is going to be the trim to pick if anyone is committed to reducing fuel consumption. The only potential issue is that this trim is available in limited quantities.
Many reviews of the CX-30 say that this SUV is a lot of fun to drive. It's definitely been built with a driver in mind, and it has sharp handling that anyone can appreciate. The Subaru Crosstrek isn't as athletic, but it's certainly a convenient and practical vehicle to drive on a regular basis
The dimensions of these two models are similar in some ways. The length of the Crosstrek is 176.5 inches, and it's not too wide nor is it too tall. It does, though, have a ground clearance of 8.7 inches. This can be useful when driving over uneven terrain. The length of the CX-30 is 173 inches, and it's a bit shorter and narrower than the Crosstrek is. It has a relatively high ground clearance, too, of eight inches.
After looking at those numbers, it makes sense that there's just a little more interior room in the Crosstrek than in the CX-30. For example, it has 20.8 cubic feet of space behind the seating area, compared with the 20.2 cubic feet of space in the CX-30. When the rear seats have been lowered, maximum cargo capacity is 55.3 cubic feet in the Subaru Crosstrek and only 45.2 cubic feet in the Mazda CX-30.
Second-row leg room in both models is slightly under 37 inches. This means the back seats in both vehicles aren't particularly large, nor are they incredibly cramped. They should be comfortable for a few passengers, even on longer trips. If three tall people are to sit in the back together, they might start to feel somewhat crowded after awhile.
These days, technology is going to play a key role in helping people decide which vehicles would be best for them. The teams at the Subaru and Mazda companies are both very aware of this, of course, and with the Crosstrek and CX-30, they've incorporated many high-tech components.
The base model of the Subaru Crosstrek has a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. All of the other trims have SiriusXM to expand the entertainment choices for drivers, and they also have Wi-Fi capability. The higher trims have eight-inch touchscreens, and customers would have the option to integrated a navigation program into the more advanced infotainment systems.
Another available add-on is a Harman Kardon premium sound system. It enhances the quality of the audio with a 432-watt amplifier and eight speakers. Otherwise, the Crosstrek would either have four or six speakers, depending on the exact trim.
An eight-speaker audio system is standard on the CX-30. Other standard components are Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Pandora radio integration, and an 8.8-inch screen. On several of the more premium trims, there is navigation, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link, and Bose sound systems that have 12 speakers.
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Keeping people safe is always going to be a priority. Years ago, the most people would hope for would have been anti-lock brakes and three-point seatbelts. Now, having a rearview camera is very widespread, and more and more vehicles like the Crosstrek and CX-30 are being built with driver-assist technology.
Subaru calls its safety package EyeSight Drier Assist Technology. It consists of pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control. This safety package is standard on three out of the five trims; on the first two trims, it's available but not standard. Also standard on select trims is reverse automatic braking, which prevents drivers from backing into objects by accident, as well as blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. Automatic high beams are an additional feature found on some of the Crosstreks, and they can be useful when driving in more rural areas at night.
Mazda has put in a lot of advanced systems into the CX-30, too. Every trim has adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, driver attention alert, lane keep assist, and automatic emergency braking. This is actually much more impressive than what the entry-level trim of the Crosstrek can do. All of the CX-30 trims, with the exception of the base model, have blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. The higher trims have adaptive front lighting, which allows the headlights to adjust their angle to better illuminate the roads. Finally, the top-level trim of the Mazda has a 360-degree camera, rear automatic braking, and parking sensors in the front and rear.
Which Has the Best Value?
Determining "value" is a bit subjective, but looking at the prices of all of the trims can help people decide which model makes more sense from a financial standpoint. The Subaru Crosstrek starts at $22,245, and this is almost the same price as the CX-30 2.5 S, which costs $22,050.
The next few trims of Crosstrek are the Premium ($23,295), Sport ($26,495), and Limited ($27,995). The Crosstrek Hybrid costs $35,345. This is a large price increase that may give people some hesitation about the hybrid model. Remember that the Sport and Limited have the 2.5-liter engines instead of the 2.0-liter ones. The Limited has nice features, like leather upholstery, the larger touchscreen, and LED fog lights. It doesn't have a standard moonroof, though one is available on many of the trims.
With the CX-30, there are many more trims to consider. In addition to the base model, the Select ($24,050), Preferred ($26,450), and Premium ($28,700) are the trims that use the standard 2.5-liter engines. The Select and Preferred have leatherette seats, with the Premium having leather. Heated front seats and a power moonroof become standard at the Preferred level, and the Premium has navigation and a power liftgate.
The 2.5 Turbo ($30,050), 2.5 Turbo Premium ($32,450), and 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus ($34,050) all have turbo engines. This is a main reason why these models are going to be attractive. Sure, they are more expensive than the others, but their prices are justified. Not only do they have the better performance specifications, but they also have the more advanced safety and technology packages. On top of this, the top two trims have leather upholstery and heated steering wheels.
Which is Better?
Both of these models have many advantages. It's a big deal that the Subaru Crosstrek comes standard with all-wheel drive, and it's great that Subaru has put in a touchscreen and smartphone compatibility into every one of the Crosstrek trims. Additionally, the Crosstrek is the larger vehicle. It has a larger cabin, and it's going to be more practical if someone needs a good amount of storage space.
While the Crosstrek has five available trims, the CX-30 has seven. When taking these top trims into consideration, the CX-30 has the more impressive list of features. It has several trims that have more luxurious components in their cabins, such as moonroofs, power lift gates, and leather upholstery. Notably, many trims come standard with navigation and 12-speaker sound systems, and the top trim has a 360-degree camera. These are simply not part of the Crosstrek's offerings.
However, the CX-30 has more trims that are on the more expensive side. People who want all of those refined features and the more responsive engines will have to be prepared to pay for them.
Potential customers will have to decide how much they value size, if they prefer the more durable Crosstrek or the more exciting CX-30, and whether the extra features in the CX-30 are worth the additional cost.