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New Mazda CX-30 Vs The Segment Leader Subaru Crosstrek, Which Subcompact Is Best For You

The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek is the subcompact SUV segment leader but there is new competition. See how it compares with the new 2020 Mazda CX-30.

The second-generation Subaru Crosstrek is still the leader in the subcompact SUV segment but will it stay number one in sales? It competes against the Toyota C-HR, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Nissan Rogue Sport, and others. Now the Mazda CX-30 arrives to give shoppers another option. How does Crosstrek compare with the all-new 2020 Mazda CX-30?

The subcompact SUV category is growing and becoming more popular as shoppers move away from compact sedans and get behind the wheel of these popular hatchback models. They offer fuel-efficiency, utility, all-weather capability, and sporty handling. They make ideal vehicles for urban commuters and can be used for recreation on the weekends. They do a lot well. Which model is best for you?

2020 Mazda CX-30 has a lot to offer shoppers2020 Mazda CX-30 has a lot to offer shoppers

The new Mazda CX-30 could be the vehicle that gives the Subaru Crosstrek the best competition to date. It offers a stylish exterior, a premium interior, sporty driving dynamics, and available all-wheel-drive. It comes in four trim levels, base ($21,900), Select ($23,900), Preferred ($26,200), and Premium $28,200).

The big advantage the CX-30 has over Crosstrek is it comes with a more powerful 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine producing 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. The all-wheel-drive model gets an EPA estimated 25/32 city/highway and 27 combined mpg. It is also available in a two-wheel-drive configuration.

2020 Subaru Crosstrek offers extra grip with X-Mode2020 Subaru Crosstrek offers extra grip with X-Mode

The knock on the second-generation Crosstrek is the 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine only produces 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. Some say it’s underpowered and could use more power for pulling a mountain pass or carrying extra cargo to the trailhead. The Crosstrek gets an EPA estimated 27/33 city/highway and 29 combined mpg. The Crosstrek is the only subcompact SUV with standard all-wheel-drive.

The Mazda CX-30 offers one transmission, a 6-speed automatic with manual-shift and Sport modes, where the Crosstrek still offers a 6-speed manual gearbox and a Lineartronic CVT automatic with adaptive control and incline start assist. The big advantage Crosstrek has over the CX-30 is its standard X-Mode offering extra grip on low-friction surfaces. Crosstrek also comes with 8.7-inches of ground clearance vs 7.9-inches in the CX-30.

The Mazda CX-30 and Subaru Crosstrek are similar in size and cargo-carrying ability. Crosstrek has a little more overall passenger volume (100.9 cu-ft vs 94.1 cubes) and slightly more cargo volume (20.8 cu-ft vs 20.2 cubes in the CX-30). Crosstrek also offers a plug-in hybrid model and has an established resale track record.

Both subcompact SUV models come standard with a suite of driver safety aids and Crosstrek gets a 5 Star rating with the NHTSA and Top Safety Pick Plus from IIHS. The Mazda CX-30 has not been rated yet.


The 2020 Mazda CX-30 is a smart new entry in the subcompact SUV segment has a lot to offer urban shoppers. If you need more power, the CX-30 offers a compelling alternative for commuters and it has sporty driving dynamics. The 2020 Subaru Crosstrek still offers the most for urban-adventurers with active lifestyles looking for an all-wheel-drive model for off-road adventures and getting away from civilization.

You Might Also Like: What Sets The New Subaru Crosstrek Above All Other Subcompact SUVs

Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on FacebookTwitterInstagramSubaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

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Photo credit: Subaru USA, Mazda USA


Glenn (not verified)    January 16, 2020 - 12:59PM

There are conflicting reports of the CX-30 ground clearance floating about the web. Most reputable car websites, and Mazda USA themselves, report the ground clearance as 6.9 inches, not 7.9 inches! That is a lot different than 8.7 inches for the Crosstrek

Cygnus-X1 (not verified)    January 17, 2020 - 6:44PM

Test drove the Mazda CX-30 Premium and the vehicle is very solid with excellent driving dynamics. Interior is of excellent quality and very comfortable. The power advantage of the Mazda CX-30 over the Subaru Crosstrek alone is a more compelling reason to chose it. If you really need the higher ground clearance of the Subaru Crosstrek for off road trips, otherwise the Mazda CX-30 is probably a better choice.

Allan (not verified)    January 18, 2020 - 6:32AM

I'm not sure horsepower is really what I would review as the primary differentiator. Crosstrek has a unique style, standard all wheel drive and is incredibly well built. If consumers cared about horsepower Subaru wouldbonly sell WRX's but they sell everything they build as fast as they build them.

Matthew (not verified)    January 20, 2020 - 5:38PM

I'm waiting to find out what the seats down cargo capacity is. None of their photos show all-weather mats on the rear seatbacks either, so I'm not optimistic it'll match the Crosstrek's ability to, say, carry a couple bikes in the truck. I wish car makers shared the actual width/height dimensions of their seats-down trunks, that would be so helpful in knowing how cargo would fit.

Christopher Pratt (not verified)    January 30, 2020 - 1:37PM

In reply to by Matthew (not verified)

Having owned a CX-30 for two weeks and having a father in law that has a Crosstrek, I can definitely say the Crosstrek blows it away with cargo room. But, the CX-30 has much better acceleration, feels more nimble, and has a much more elegant look inside and out while the Crosstrek looks much more rugged. All that said, both are fantastic cars and you can't go wrong with either.

paul holterhaus (not verified)    August 18, 2020 - 11:23AM

Just traded My totally immaculate 3.6R outback for new XC30....The XC30 simply outclasses the outback......Better interior, sharper styling, Way more fun to drive, and doesn't have the CVT which Everyone hates, and also reduces the trade in allowance of all Subarus