It’s a common complaint: These hot-selling subcompact crossovers are just small hatchbacks with plastic trim and higher prices. Just take a look at the sales-leading Subaru Crosstrek and the critically acclaimed Mazda CX-30. The Crosstrek doesn’t even change the Subaru Impreza hatchback’s body or interior — just dresses it up and lifts it a few inches higher off the ground. And the CX-30 isn’t much further removed from the Mazda3 hatchback. Both hatchbacks even join their crossover counterparts in offering all-wheel drive.
Still, if you’re drawn to these vehicles, you’ll find that they’re two very different types of raised hatchbacks. Not only do they adopt entirely different aesthetics, but one of them also wins out when it comes to substance. We tested both these subcompact crossovers to break down which one is best in different ways, so you can decide which little SUV is best for you — and name our own overall winner.