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Comparison: 2021 Mazda CX-30 vs 2021 Subaru Crosstrek | Car Reviews

Even though these times vehicle segments are as nebulous as they’ve ever been, there are nevertheless some autos that deliver a distinct message as to their station in life, and which can be confidently categorized even if their companies attempt to blur the strains a minor.

For our functions below, we communicate of a vehicle section – a little just one – that I like to phone “compacts on stilts” (CoS) for the reason that, for all intents and functions, that’s what they are. They give the similar powertrain to the compact hatchbacks with which they share a popular platform, but they may possibly have a minor much more home inside and they generally have some specialised chassis bits and body cladding to assist them improved traverse rough terrain.

The section includes several designs, but the two dominant gamers are the Subaru Crosstrek and the Mazda CX-thirty. They depart the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross and Jeep Compass/Renegade driving in terms of gross sales the Crosstrek is in fact the optimum-providing Subaru in Canada, ahead even of the Impreza from which it is derived. Meanwhile, the Mazda3 Sport that shares its platform with the CX-thirty nevertheless outsells its newer sibling.

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As it happens, equally the CX-thirty and Crosstrek been given huge updates for 2021, so a head-to-head comparison is a pure alternative!

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

The Crosstrek bought the most significant improvements for 2021, notably with chassis and powertrain updates that make a world of big difference. In fact, this is a vehicle that Subaru is heading to want to get correct as it is these types of a huge seller for them. You guaranteed never want to alienate customers and supporters from your bread-and-butter designs.

For 2021, pricing commences at $23,795 for the Benefit trim, but you are heading to want to glance at the $29,995 Outside trim as that will get you two of the most significant incorporate-ons for 2021: a two.5L four-cylinder Boxer engine and the most current evolution of Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-push technique that now provides a two-phase X-Method off-highway technique.

Outside Digs
The Outside trim also will get the most significant stylistic transform. All Crosstreks get plastic cladding all-around the wheels and rocker panels (the crucial stylistic differentiator concerning them and the Impreza), but on the Outside, it is much more distinguished all-around the wheels and entrance bumpers. Darkish-grey 17-inch alloy wheels and exclusive Plasma Yellow Pearl paint are also offered with this trim. It is a incredibly interesting-wanting point and while several will lament the decline of the burnt orange shade from past calendar year, this new yellow is a superior alternative.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, badging

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, badging

Electricity to match
Of course, it is all perfectly and superior if a vehicle seems to be the portion, but can it stroll the stroll? This is particularly essential in the Crosstrek’s scenario for the reason that although it has been a huge seller for the brand name, its powertrain has been critiqued for remaining down on electric power. For 2021, that’s altered as the Outside trim will get the two.5L as opposed to the two.0L that used to be your only alternative (and nevertheless is at foundation).

The two.5L will make 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque, making it the next-most strong vehicle in the section, in accordance to Subaru. The most strong? The CX-30…

Depend on a much much more responsive takeoff thanks to the Outdoor’s CVT automated (your only selection reduced-spec designs get a handbook to commence). CVTs are inclined not to supply the most concerned push, but Subaru has tuned theirs to give virtual “shift points” to at least make it come to feel like gears are remaining altered, and the acceleration is great for this form of vehicle. It is not neck-snapping like a WRX, but there’s enough to make freeway driving completely relaxed and distress-totally free.

Speaking of distress-totally free, that’s also how you’ll probably come to feel when off-roading the Crosstrek. I had the chance to put it by its paces on a gnarly course commonly reserved for dust bikes and it designed shorter work of it, the great AWD technique and enhanced ride top allowing for a self-confident traverse of the several bumps and berms I was tackling.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, three-quarters rear

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, a few-quarters rear

A huge portion of that self esteem arrives from the new two-mode X-Method AWD technique. It provides a deep snow/mud mode to the terrain pick technique and also makes it possible for for a minor much more wheel slip so you can improved clamber up particular surfaces. Greater nevertheless is how the X-Mode2 also provides a hill-descent and -ascent technique so when lively, what you have primarily bought is off-highway cruise regulate so all you have to focus on are your steering inputs.

There’s also a handy supplementary Lcd exhibit atop the dash that can present the highway beneath and ahead of you if you are at these types of an angle that all you see by the windscreen is the blue sky above. It takes finding used to wanting at the exhibit in its place of by the windshield, but at the time you do, it proves to be a wonderful technique.

Interior upgrade
The Crosstrek Outside also provides inside updates like grey synthetic leather-based seating (a minor much too taxicab-esque for my liking) brightened by yellow piping and stitching to match the exterior. There’s also a massive central exhibit for the upgraded Starlink infotainment technique with Apple CarPlay and Android Car and the gauges get some interesting yellow highlights as perfectly.

It is a much more playful inside than prior to and although just one does not obtain a compact hatch for its rear seat home, always, it is not bad in the back of the Crosstrek and it cleans the Mazda’s clock in that office. If you want to transport for a longer time items, the seats break up sixty/forty.

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, interior

2021 Subaru Crosstrek, inside

2021 Mazda CX-thirty GT Turbo

2021 Mazda CX-30 GT Turbo

2021 Mazda CX-thirty GT Turbo

What is it a name? Perfectly, in the Mazda’s scenario, very a great deal.

That nomenclature denotes the existence of Mazda’s two.5L turbocharged four-cylinder for the to start with time in the CX-thirty. This engine has proved alone in the more substantial CX-five and CX-9 crossovers and it does wonders for the push practical experience of the scaled-down CX-thirty.

Excellent turbo electric power
The engine will make 227 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque if you use common fuel, and 250 hp/320 lb-ft if you use 93 octane. Personally, I applaud Mazda for remaining clear about this. There’s much debate as to how much big difference an octane rating will make and Mazda just arrives out with it: “If you want much more electric power, use bigger octane fuel”. Accomplished, dusted, and appreciated.

If you do use 93, however, whoa do you come to feel it. Electricity delivery on throttle tip-in deals with a bit of lag but soon after that it is off to the races, the CX-thirty spiriting you down the highway at a proper tempo, a incredibly superior facsimile of how the very same powertrain feels in the Mazda3 Sport hatchback.

It was a wonderful go for Mazda to put this engine in the CX-thirty for the reason that it provides a layer of serious effectiveness and one more dimension to a vehicle that sits in just one of the much more hotly-disputed segments. There’s even a bit of an exhaust take note, which had I not by now sampled the Mazda3 with the very same powertrain, I would never ever had predicted.

Electricity is fed by a six-pace automated which may possibly look a minor old-faculty in comparison to the new(er)fangled CVTs located in the Subaru Crosstrek or the multi-ratio autos located in the likes of the Jeep Renegade, but Mazda has tuned the transmission and managed to get it nicely in-sync with the engine.

2021 Mazda CX-30 GT Turbo, three-quarters rear

2021 Mazda CX-thirty GT Turbo, a few-quarters rear

In fact, if you talk to Mazda – and I have – why they haven’t put a newer transmission inside, they’ll tell you that would damage driver involvement with the CX-thirty. Too several gears remaining shifted means much too several situations of electric power interruption, and in any scenario CVTs (which never in fact shuffle any gears at all), are inclined not to be all that concerned in any case. So the six-pace vehicle it is. As well as, there’s always the handbook mode if you want, with paddle shifters for an even much more complete-on influence for the reason that who desires to faucet a change lever back and forth to switch gears with an vehicle box?

Holding the rubber on the highway
Vehicles like the Crosstrek make much of the offroad-capacity their AWD technique provides, but I’m not so guaranteed that’s what CX-thirty customers would be all about. To me, the CX-thirty is the much more city vehicle of the two, the much more concerned push and so it is the traction and effectiveness the AWD technique provides that’s the serious take-house for me.

There’s no torque vectoring per se, but the brakes can be automatically used to assist rotate the CX-thirty by turns and it – like each and every other AWD Mazda – has a neat minor trick up its sleeve in addition. That is G-Vectoring Regulate As well as, which in fact uses throttle changes to get much more traction. Sounds backwards, but what happens is as before long as the technique senses some steering input, it subtly cuts down the throttle reaction to power the excess weight of the vehicle around the entrance axle. This smushes the tires much more firmly into the highway floor for a more substantial call patch and much more grip.

How aggressively the technique intervenes (however it is never ever so intense that you’ll actually observe it) is dependent on regardless of whether or not you have activated Sport mode, just one of two you can pick from, in addition to off-highway which performs with the AWD technique for improved traction in adverse disorders.

Of course, there’s a caveat below in that the CX-30’s AWD technique is a predictive just one, which means there’s always some electric power remaining despatched to all wheels so they can reply promptly when slip is detected. This will damage your gas economy a minor, but the peace of brain it provides is worth the sacrifice.

2021 Mazda CX-30 GT Turbo, profile

2021 Mazda CX-thirty GT Turbo, profile

Design and (some) substance
Place plainly, the CX-thirty is a wonderful-wanting vehicle. The extra plastic cladding all-around the wheels and on the rocker panels, dark rims selection, interesting Soul Red Crystal Metallic paint observed below are all incredibly pleasant touches that proceed to give the CX-thirty (and its Mazda3 siblings) some of the most effective styling in their segments.

In addition to the further ride top, the CX-thirty will get a taller roofline, ostensibly for much more cargo and passenger space inside, however it is the cargo home that gains most. The entrance seat is great, but the back seat is much too cramped even for typical-sized older people to sit comfortably – particularly in terms of headroom, which is moment — so this is not a vehicle to take into account if you are preparing on moving a few or 4 older people all-around consistently.

Up entrance, space is much more generous head- and legroom are great, the seating place is tall enough for a superior watch outwards (however the bottom seat cushion is canted back much more than I’d like) and the controls tumble nicely in your palms. As well as, Mazda is aware of a point or two about inside create quality and these times, their prime trims – like the GT – are finding properly deluxe interiors concluded in prime-quality elements.

The CX-thirty is also just one of the only Mazdas in Canada to obtain the brand’s most current infotainment tech and although it is not all that flashy to glance at, it is strong and has equally Apple CarPlay and Android Car assistance. No wi-fi charging, however, which is a pity.

See also: 2021 Mazda CX-thirty Critique: Roomier But A lot less Dynamic Than the 3

See also: 2021 Mazda CX-thirty Turbo Initially Push : Threat and Reward

2021 Mazda CX-30 / 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, front

2021 Mazda CX-thirty / 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, entrance

Edge Subaru Crosstrek

Two elements different the Subaru from the Mazda – it has the much more strong AWD technique with that wonderful X-mode element and it has much more home inside, particularly in the back seat and trunk. The Crosstrek is somewhat much more gas-efficient.

Edge Mazda CX-thirty

The Mazda’s huge activity participate in below is its huge electric power, plain and straightforward. There was a time not much too long ago the place 300+ lb-ft of torque was reserved for only the hottest of incredibly hot hatches but Mazda has turned that on its ear with the CX-thirty Turbo. Considerably regard also equally to the Mazda’s exterior styling and the quality of its inside in shape and finish.


Even though there is a minor much more home on the Crosstrek’s back seat – at least it feels like there is – these two are likewise sized, give identical ride heights and so they equally give a identical level of simplicity-of-use all-around town and when parking. Not to mention they’re equally primarily lifted compact hatchbacks, as described.


Even though these two are the prime canine in a little spinoff of a more substantial section, the much more you push them, the much more you comprehend they are in fact very divergent in their attitudes. The Subaru is – real to sort – the outdoorsperson’s vehicle. It is improved for off-highway backcountry outings outings – it just is. The Mazda is much more the urbanite’s vehicle, much much more on-highway than off.

It boils down to which way of life you want to espouse, as possibly just one of these is a wonderful alternative in the section.

2021 Mazda CX-30 / 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, profile

2021 Mazda CX-thirty / 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, profile

2021 Subaru Crosstrek

We like

Amazing off-highway chops
Outside trim a wonderful sweet location in the lineup

We like less

Marginally low-priced-emotion inside bits
CVT transmission a bit of a drag

2021 Mazda CX-thirty

We like

Powerful turbo motor
Great seems to be
Perfectly-crafted inside

We like less

Cramped back seat
Adding turbo electric power brings value of entry above $35,000

2021 Subaru Crosstrek / 2021 Mazda CX-30, three-quarters rear

2021 Subaru Crosstrek / 2021 Mazda CX-thirty, a few-quarters rear


  2021 Mazda CX-thirty 2021 Subaru Crosstrek
  Transmission six-sp vehicle CVT
  Rouage AWD AWD
  Gasoline consumption (metropolis) 10.5L/a hundred km 8.8L/a hundred km
  Gasoline consumption (high) seven.9L/a hundred km seven.0L/a hundred km
  Type Gasoline Gasoline
  Output a hundred and fifty five hp 152 hp
  Torque 150 lb-ft one hundred forty five lb-ft
  Cylinders four four
  Displacement two.0L two.0L
  Type Gasoline Gasoline
  Output 186 hp 182 hp
  Torque 186 lb-ft 176 lb-ft
  Cylinders four four
  Displacement two.5L two.5L
  Type Gasoline  
  Output 227 hp  
  Torque 320 lb-ft  
  Cylinders four  
  Displacement two.L turbo  
  Cargo space 572 l – 1,280 l 588 l – 1,565 l
  Gasoline tank 51 l sixty three l
  Towing ability n/a n/a
  Size 4395 mm 4465 mm
  Width 2040 mm 1800 mm
  Peak 1568 mm (1580 w/ antenna) 1615 mm
  Wheelbase 2652 mm 2665 mm
  Guarantee five yr/unlimited km five yr/a hundred,000 km
  Pricing (as examined) $36,081 $29,995


2021 Mazda CX-30 / 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, rear

2021 Mazda CX-thirty / 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, rear