Combing through the options in the compact sport-utility vehicle market can keep you busy for a while. One thing that stands out is that there are many good options, even at the less-expensive end of the new vehicle market.

The 2024 Mazda CX-30 and 2024 Nissan Kicks represent two ends of the spectrum, but both are viable options for many buyers. Let’s take a closer look at these two SUVs.

2024 Mazda CX-30

The 2024 CX-30 is a standout machine in the subcompact SUV group. It’s stylish, offers excellent performance and capability, and has a tech-laden interior where all of the buttons and knobs are seemingly in just the right spot.

Our test driver echoes these sentiments about the CX-30. It’s powered by a 191-horsepower 4-cylinder that already provides ample power, while standard all-wheel drive (AWD) ensures you can get anywhere you want to go and have some fun doing it. AWD is unavailable on the Kicks. There aren’t many complaints about the CX-30. Pricing starts at $26,370, including the destination charge.

Mazda CX-30 Highlights

Big power: The CX-30’s base powerplant is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 191 hp. If you want a little more go for the go-pedal; the turbocharged version of that engine is available, pushing the ponies up to 250. This noticeable difference brings an element of performance to the CX-30 that the competition is hard-pressed to match.

Options, options, options: The CX-30 can be outfitted with various grades that move it from a starting price of just over $26K to around $38k. The significant upgrade for the engine is the turbo, as mentioned above. Still, it also adds varying levels of safety and comfort technologies and appearance packages to allow you to get the vehicle you want.

Safety First: In this car, you will be one of the small guys on the road, and that 5-Star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) offers some peace of mind. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarding the CX-30 its highest scores doesn’t hurt either.

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

2024 Nissan Kicks

2024 Nissan Kicks in blue with clouds in the background.

The Nissan Kicks has been kicking around since 2018 and got a refresh in 2021. It shows how important great design is because it still looks fresh and up-to-date.

Unlike the CX-30, the Kicks is a starter vehicle, with its pricing starting at $22,440, including destination. But you get a fair bit for your money with Nissan’s most affordable SUV. First and foremost, it’s just about the largest vehicle in the segment. It also comes standard with a lot of safety and convenience tech that buyers in this segment crave but can’t always get — a big bonus for the Kicks.

Nissan Kicks Highlights

Affordability: The Kicks starts at about $22K and comes in just three trim levels: the S, SV, and SR. The top trim starts at just $25k, providing a lot of bang for the buck.

Fewer fuel stoppages: One of the reasons buyers shop in this segment is fuel economy. This is a nice perk regardless of the price of gas. So getting 36 mpg on the highway — the segment’s best number — is hard to ignore.

Plenty of room: You’re unlikely to use the Kicks on your family vacation if there are more than four of you, but compared to the competition in this group, it’s bigger than most. Since most of our time spent in a vehicle is just short errands or heading out to dinner or a child’s event, the Kicks can handle almost any kind of duty around town.

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


They both compete in the subcompact SUV class. They have good fuel economy and are reasonably roomy with appealing exterior styling.


While they’re in the same class, they’re not the same type of machines. You can choose how you want the highly customizable CX-30 to work for you, whereas the Kicks is slower but more efficient and affordable. There’s also the big difference between AWD being standard on the Mazda and unavailable on the Nissan, which could make or break your decision.

2024 Mazda CX-30 2024 Nissan Kicks
Starting Price $26,370 $22,440
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 1.6-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower 191 hp @ 6,000 rpm 122 hp @ 6,300 rpm
Torque 186 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 114 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic/AWD CVT/FWD
Fuel Economy 26 city/33 highway/29 combined mpg 31 city/36 highway/33 combined
Also Available 250 hp turbo 4-cylinder
Basic Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety 5 stars 4 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 104.4 inches 103.1 inches
Overall Length 173.0 inches 169.1 inches
Width 70.7 inches 69.3 inches
Height 61.7 inches 63.3 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 34.1 feet
Headroom, Front 37.8 inches 40.4 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.3 inches 38.5 inches
Legroom, Front 41.7 inches 43.7 inches
Legroom, Rear 36.3 inches 33.4 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 55.6 inches 53.0 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 53.6 inches 53.2 inches
Cargo Volume 20.2 cubic feet 25.3 cubic feet

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