Crossover & Midsize

5 Cheap 2021 Crossovers That Are Actually Worth Your Time

As the crossover segment grows in the U.S. market, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a great cheap 2021 crossover. Consumers demand more tech, safety features, and fuel-efficient engines than ever before. As a result, manufacturers have to be quite clever as to how they build these tiny crossovers. Today we’ll be looking at five cheap 2021 models that you’ll actually want to buy.

2021 Hyundai Venue – $18,750

Starting off this list of cheap 2021 crossovers is the Hyundai Venue. This is because even the base model offers a great set of important features. For starters, you get a 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine developing 121 hp. While that certainly isn’t Ferrari fast, it will get you an average fuel-consumption rating of 31 mpg.

Aside from being one of the cheapest 2021 crossovers, the Venue offers forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and driver attention warnings as standard. You even get wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity via the standard eight-inch touchscreen in terms of tech. The only downside is that the Venue is offered exclusively with front-wheel drive.

2021 Nissan Kicks – $19,070 (estimated)

An image of the 2021 Nissan Kicks in-studio showing its new design cues.
2021 Nissan Kicks | Nissan

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Out of all the cheap 2021 crossovers we’re looking at, the Nissan Kicks is the newest. As a result, we don’t have exact pricing for this small crossover. However, based on the model’s previous starting price, chances are it will remain below the $20,000 mark. Like the Hyundai Venue, the 2021 Nissan Kicks offers a wide variety of standard options.

Like most other cheap 2021 crossovers, you get a small engine under the hood. In this case, it’s a 1.6-liter four-cylinder developing 122 hp and 114 lb-ft, says Nissan. Additionally, you get a standard seven-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. The Kicks shines thanks to its inclusion of Nissan’s 360 shield system. This includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert, to name a few.

2021 Hyundai Kona – $20,400

Cheap 2021 crossovers: A blue Hyundai Kona Hybrid sits in a driveway lined with palm trees.
2020 Hyundai Kona Hybrid | Hyundai Motors

While the Hyundai Venue is at the top of this list of cheap 2021 crossovers, it is worth mentioning the Kona. As you’d expect, the slight premium over the Venue gives the Kona some slight advantages. For example, its 2.0-liter engine offers more power at 147 hp. Despite this, the Kona still offers an average fuel consumption rating of 30 mpg. Unfortunately, you don’t get an eight-inch screen as standard as the Venue. Instead, it is only available in higher trim levels.

Like the Venue, the Kona offers forward collision-avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, and driver attention warning. While there are more safety features available for the model, they are reserved for higher trim levels. While the Venue is only offered with front-wheel drive, you can have a Kona with all-wheel drive, a major dealbreaker for some buyers.

2021 Mazda CX-3 – $20,640

The Mazda CX-3 is a safe, dependable, and modern subcompact crossover developed by Mazda to be their entry-level model.
Mazda CX-3 | Getty Images

The Mazda CX-3 is by far the oldest model in this list of cheap 2021 crossovers. Despite this, it remains a worthy contender. As standard, you get a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine developing 148-hp. This output makes it the most powerful crossover on this list. Despite this, you still get a fuel consumption rating of 34 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in the city.

As you’d expect from any of these cheap 2021 crossovers, the Mazda CX-3 offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility from its standard seven-inch infotainment screen. As far as safety features go, the CX-3 is also one of the most loaded. This tiny crossover includes blind-spot monitoring, smart city brake support with pedestrian detection, smart brake control with collision warning, radar cruise control, lane departure warning, and rear-cross traffic alert.

2021 Kia Seltos – $21,990

The 2021 Kia Seltos is one of the best cheap 2021 crossovers pictured here in a city.
2021 Kia Seltos | Kia

While the Kia Seltos is by far the most expensive option in our list of cheap 2021 crossovers, it offers a compelling list of standard features. It won’t surprise you to learn that the Seltos comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine developing 146 hp. However, unlike all of the other offerings, the Seltos is available with all-wheel drive as standard. Despite this, the powerful Seltos still delivers an estimated fuel-consumption average of 31 mpg.

Like the Venue, the Seltos offers a standard eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. If you want tech features, you’ll want to opt for the S trim level for $21,990, which offers forward collision avoidance, driver attention warning, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and lane following assist. It is worth noting that you can’t get these standard safety systems on the all-wheel-drive LX trim for $21,990.

Which should you buy?

Out of this list of cheap 2021 crossovers, it is hard to pick an outright winner. This is because not only are these contenders great in their own way, they are also almost identical in specs. As a result, you’ll have to base your decision largely on aesthetics and brand familiarity. However, the Hyundai Venue stands out as it keeps up with almost all of these crossovers while starting well below $19,000.