In 2024, the least expensive option at most new car dealerships will be a subcompact SUV. But inexpensive no longer means cheap. Today’s smallest SUVs come with in-car technology like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, high-tech safety features like automatic emergency braking, and even personality – something they lacked just a few years ago.

The 2024 Mazda CX-30 and Hyundai Venue have very different personalities. But each could be the right new car for you.

Let’s see how they compare.

2024 Mazda CX-30

Among mainstream automakers, Mazda is known as the sporty one. That’s never more true than at this price level. Where most rivals focus on value and cuteness, the Mazda CX-30 wants the driver to have fun. Mazda’s G-Vectoring system gives it handling like nothing else in its class, and it’s the rare subcompact SUV that comes with a choice of two engines. But it’s near the top of the class in price, starting at $26,370 (including a $1,375 destination fee).

Mazda CX-30 Highlights

Standard all-wheel drive (AWD): In this price range, virtually every manufacturer builds front-wheel-drive subcompact SUVs. Some let you add all-wheel-drive (AWD), but it adds to the sticker price. The CX-30 is one of a tiny handful with standard AWD. If you live where heavy winters affect your driving, the added grip of AWD could factor into your decision. Hyundai doesn’t offer it on the Venue.

Premium cabin Even Mazda’s smallest and least expensive SUV carries a premium persona. Mazda has a knack for making cabins that look and feel a cut above, and the CX-30 is further proof of that.

Two engine choices – strong and stronger: Most affordable subcompact SUVs get by with around 120 horsepower – plenty for your daily needs but nothing to get your pulse racing. The Venue’s 121 is par for the course. The CX-30 gets a much healthier 191-horsepower engine in most trim levels. A turbocharged engine that gets 227 horsepower with regular gasoline and 250 with premium is available at higher trims.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Mazda CX-30 models for sale near you.

2024 Hyundai Venue

2024 Hyundai Venue in green at the waterfront.

In recent years, automakers have trimmed affordable cars from their lineups. If you still love the virtues of a reliable, low-cost car, you’ll find few options on 2024 sales lots. But the 2024 Hyundai Venue has you covered. It offers modern tech features but carries one of the lowest price tags in the class and the longest warranty available this year. Starting at $21,135 (including the $1,335 destination fee), it’s one of the most wallet-friendly buys available this year.

Hyundai Venue Highlights

Fantastic value: The Venue isn’t just a little less expensive. It’s so much cheaper that you can buy the top-of-the-line version for less than you’d spend on the base model Mazda. The most well-equipped 2024 Venue, the Venue Limited, costs $24,385 delivered and includes heated, leatherette-upholstered front seats, wireless phone charging, and collision avoidance assist with pedestrian and bicyclist detection. The least expensive CX-30 costs nearly $2,000 more.

The best warranty available: No car for sale in 2024 beats Hyundai’s warranty offer. A 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty mean your new Venue may protect you from major repair costs in 2034.

Lowest cost of ownership: We haven’t finished the calculations for the 2024 edition of our 5-Year Cost to Own Awards yet. But the Venue took home the award in the subcompact SUV class in 2023. And in 2022. And in 2021. And in 2020. A low price, long warranty, and good fuel economy make the Venue easy on your wallet for years.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Hyundai Venue models for sale near you.


Front- and second-row passengers get roughly similar space in these two. Otherwise, they have little in common.


The Mazda CX-30 is pricey for its class. But the added cost gets you a car that defies expectations about inexpensive, subcompact SUVs. It’s fun to drive, comes with the peace of mind of AWD at no added cost, and even lets you spec a 250-horsepower engine. There’s nothing else like it in this segment.

Hyundai takes a completely different approach to the Venue. There’s nothing wrong with the way it drives. But it won’t give you race car vibes. Instead, it does its best work in your bank balance. A low price (even well-equipped), solid fuel economy, and the industry’s best warranty make it one of the best values on the road today.

Some drivers will find the Mazda’s undeniable fun factor worth the added cost. But if you don’t think of yourself as a driving enthusiast, the Venue’s practical nature might make it the right choice.


2024 Mazda CX-30 2024 Hyundai Venue
Starting Price $26,370 $21,135
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter 4-cylinder 1.6-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower 191 hp @ 6,000 rpm 121 hp @ 6,300 rpm
Torque 186 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 113 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic CVT
Fuel Economy 26 city/33 hwy/29 combined mpg 29 city/33 hwy/31 combined mpg
Also Available Turbocharged 4-cylinder N/A
Basic Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 10 years/100,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety 5 stars 4 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 104.4 inches 99.2 inches
Overall Length 173.0 inches 159.1 inches
Width 70.7 inches 69.7 inches
Height 61.7 inches 61.6 inches
Turning Diameter 37.3 feet 33.2 feet
Headroom, Front 38.1 inches 39.4 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.3 inches 38.6 inches
Legroom, Front 41.7 inches 41.3 inches
Legroom, Rear 36.3 inches 34.3 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 55.6 inches 53.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 53.6 inches 53.7 inches
Cargo Volume 20.2/45.2 cubic feet 18.7/31.9 cubic feet

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