2021 Mazda CX-3, CX-30, or CX-5: Which Should You Get?

Mazda offers an extensive lineup that includes sedans, SUVs, hatchbacks, and sports cars. The 2021 Mazda CX-3 and CX-30 are both subcompact SUVs, while the slightly larger CX-5 is a compact SUV. The impressive crossover SUV lineup offers class-leading fuel economy, comfortable interiors, and seating for five.

With so many options, it can be hard to decide which model to get. We analyzed the data to help you determine which one will meet your needs so that you can confidently get behind the wheel of your favorite Mazda SUV.

Mazda CX-3

The 2021 Mazda CX-3 is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick+. A vast array of safety features, such as side-impact air curtains, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring, creates a safe environment for all occupants.

With a starting price of only $20,790, the Sport trim uses a Skyactiv-G 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine producing 148 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is 34 mpg on the highway.

If you want all-wheel drive and a little higher ride than a car, the five-passenger subcompact CX-3 is a perfect choice. Measuring 168.3 inches long, this crossover is ideal for pulling into tight parking spots and navigating narrow city streets. The downside of this small SUV is that backseat passengers will feel cramped with only 35 inches of legroom. The driver and front passenger will be a little more comfortable with an ample 41.7 inches of legroom.

Mazda CX-30

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 offers a little more space and a lot more power than the CX-3.

The newest addition to the Mazda SUV lineup provides a comfortable interior that surpasses other models. Ideal for family road trips, the CX-30 is the just-right “Goldilocks” option, fitting between the smaller CX-3 and larger CX-5.

But starting prices are considerably higher. For instance, the mid-range trim with a 2.5-liter turbocharged engine harnessing 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque starts at $30,050. Getting an EPA-estimated 22/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined, the AWD CX-30 provides a performance level not typically found in a crossover. 

There’s also plenty of room for passengers and cargo, with the CX-30 measuring 173 inches long. Though the front legroom is the same as in the CX-3, the rear passengers get 36.3 inches in the CX-30. The rear cargo space is ample at 20.2 cubic feet with the second row up.

 Mazda CX-5

MotorTrend suggests the Mazda CX-5 is “best suited for families.” Road trips are a breeze with a comfortable, upscale cabin and plenty of space for passengers and everything they want to bring along.

The largest among the automaker’s small SUVs, the CX-5 measures 179 inches long and offers 41 inches of legroom for front passengers and 39.6 inches of legroom in the rear, Mazda‘s website shows. Cargo volume with the rear seat up is 30.9 cubic feet and 59.6 cubic feet when folded down.

The entry-level Sport trim starts at $25,370, while the high-end Signature trim starts at $37,505.

In the base model, the four-cylinder engine produces 187 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. The dynamic pressure turbo engine in the Signature trim offers 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy ratings are 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway in the entry-level CX-5. 

Which model is right for you?


A Slight Change to the Suspension Makes the 2021 Mazda3 2.5 Turbo Hatchback Slightly Less Fun to Drive

Regarding safety, the Mazda CX-3 and CX-5 are IIHS Top Safety Pick+ recipients. The CX-30 didn’t get a perfect score because of its headlights but still secured the Top Safety Pick award.

Cost is always a deciding factor when determining which car is right for you. The CX-3 offers the lowest starting price but is the smallest of the three crossovers. So, if you’re looking for space, the CX-5 is the obvious choice.

Regardless of which model you choose, rest assured all Mazda SUVs are dependable and will provide years of adventures.