The 2021 Mazda CX-30 is one of those cars that can be considered an alternative to a variety of segments. It provides a higher seating position than compact hatchbacks like the Mazda3, with which it's nearly identical under the skin. It's smaller than bigger, pricier compact SUVs like Mazda's CX-5 or the Honda CR-V, yet it's also more spacious and refined than subcompact models like the Hyundai Kona. Meanwhile, its ritzy interior, sleek styling and budget-Porsche driving dynamics mean you can legitimately cross-shop it with luxury models like the Audi Q3, BMW X2 and Mercedes GLA.
Actually, not only can you cross-shop it with those, we think it's a much smarter purchase. The CX-30 was one of the most compelling new cars introduced last year, and it gets even better for 2021 thanks to the introduction of the new 2.5 Turbo model. It's still not vice free, though: The tech interface isn't ideal for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and we aren't alone in thinking that the huge plastic wheel arches look cheap rather than evoking some sort of Subaru-like off-road cred. Yet taken as a whole, this in-betweener alternative should make sense for a lot of buyers, no matter which type of car or SUV they initially started looking for.