Cheapest All-Wheel Drive SUV On Sale Today


  • The Mazda CX-30 is the most affordable SUV on the market with standard all-wheel drive, standing out among other hatchback-like SUVs.
  • The CX-30’s intelligent all-wheel drive system adjusts power distribution for improved stability, traction, and off-road capability.
  • With a range of trims and tech features, the CX-30 offers competitive pricing and a more premium feel compared to other subcompact SUVs.



The surge in popularity of SUVs and crossovers in recent years can be attributed, in part, to their elevated ride height and comfortable driving experience. Many of the available crossovers share a platform with compact sedans and hatchbacks, which are predominantly designed as front-wheel drive vehicles. Consequently, most of these crossover SUVs carry over the front-wheel drive configuration with optional all-wheel drive at an added cost or reserved for higher-trim models.

If you’re in the market for a brand-new SUV that comes with an all-wheel drive system right from the factory, all at an exceptional value. In such a scenario, the Mazda CX-30 stands out as the most affordable SUV, that offers standard all-wheel drive in a sea of enhanced hatchbacks posing as SUVs.

The sub-compact Mazda SUV is a stunner given that it’s built on the same underpinnings as the Mazda 3 hatchback, a vehicle that is one of the best-unscaled luxury hatchbacks on the market today. With winter fast approaching, here is why you should shop for the 2024 Mazda CX-30, the most affordable, all-wheel drive SUV on the market today.

We’ve sourced information from Mazda, and to put this feature together on the cheapest AWD SUV on sale today.

Related:10 Best Family Friendly Sub-Compact SUVs

The Mazda CX-30 Is Fitted With AWD As Standard

CX-30 in red color

While there are other sub-compact SUVs with all-wheel drive available, the Mazda CX-30 stands out as a particularly attractive choice. In contrast to many of its rivals such as the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Kia Seltos, and Hyundai Kona, which typically do not include all-wheel drive as a standard feature in their base models, you will be hard-pressed to find a small SUV under $25,000 that can match the capabilities of Mazda’s i-ACTIV AWD unit.

The CX-30’s on-demand all-wheel drive system is intelligently controlled by Mazda software that monitors wheel speed and adjusts accordingly by applying breaks to any wheel that loses traction while feeding power to the wheels with the most grip. This stability-controlled traction system is initiated through a dedicated traction program button that puts the CX-30 into offroad mode.

The CX-30 software proactively monitors road conditions and adjusts power distribution between the front and rear wheels as needed. Power from the engine predominantly goes to the front wheels in an on-demand system unless the vehicle software programming detects slippage from the front wheels before more power is distributed evenly across all four wheels to restore traction. Whereas a full-time AWD system always sends power and torque to all the drive wheels regardless of slippage.

With the CX-30 offering all-wheel drive at no added cost, this leaves room for buyers to spend their money elsewhere by offering eight unique trims to pick from, namely:

CX-30 2.5 S


CX-30 2.5 S Select Sport


CX-30 2.5 S Preferred


CX-30 2.5 S Carbon Edition


CX-30 2.5 S Premium


CX-30 2.5 Carbon Turbo


CX-30 2.5 Turbo Premium


CX-30 2.5 Turbo Premium Plus


Engine power is not the main concern of this class of SUV due to its lightweight nature, but it is an important factor of consideration. The CX-30 naturally aspirated 2.5 liter inline-four engine pushes out a respectable 191 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque and boasts a zero – 60mph acceleration of 8.1 seconds all while managing a 29mpg combined fuel rating.

2024 Mazda CX-30 2.5 S AWD Specification


2.5 Liter Inline-4 engine


191hp @ 6,000 rpm


186 pound-feet @ 4,000 rpm


SKYACTIV Drive 6- Speed Automatic

Drive Configuration

All-wheel drive (AWD)

Fuel Economy

26mpg city, 33mpg highway & 29mpg combined

Starting MSRP


(Source: Mazda)

If faster acceleration is a necessary criterion for you, Mazda reserves a turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine for the Carbon Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus trims capable of pushing 227 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque and propelling the CX-30 from 0-60mph in just 5.8 seconds as tested by Car and Driver.

Benefits Of All-Wheel Drive (AWD) In SUVs

2023 CX-30 studio

When you’re in the market for an SUV, a wise decision would be to opt for a vehicle that includes all-wheel drive as standard, otherwise consider paying a little extra for a trim level that offers AWD for the numerous advantages that come with having power delivered to all four wheels, including.

  • Improved stability on slippery surfaces such as snow, slush, and sand.
  • Increased safety by maintaining stability and keeping drivers from losing control of the vehicle in sketchy conditions.
  • Enhances traction and grip to help claw drivers out of rough and uneven surfaces when driving off the beaten path or offroad.
  • Increases vehicle versatility by adapting to a wide range of driving scenarios from the urban streets and shopping malls to taking the family out to the countryside cabin.

Related:10 Best Small SUVs Of 2023, Ranked

The Mazda CX-30 Is Bold Package Inside And Out

Red Mazda CX-30

The exterior of the CX-30 is an embodiment of the brand’s “Kodo” design language characterized by a chrome-sided large front grille and a sharp squinty pair of headlights. Unsurprisingly, the CX-30 design is nearly identical to the Mazda 3 hatchback, the vehicle upon which this subcompact SUV is based on. The large rear hump, rear fascia down to the dual-tipped exhaust bares a strong resemblance to the hatchback cousin.

On the outside, the easiest way of differentiating the base 2.5 S CX-30 from other trim options is by the comically small 16-inch alloy wheels. A step-up to the 2.5 S Select Sports increases the wheel size to 18 inches giving the car a much-needed muscular stance and adds a few other exterior touches such as aluminum roof rails, ceramic metallic paint, and heated black side mirrors.

A High-Quality Tech-Laden Interior

The CX-30 caters adequately to buyer not looking to break the bank but want the best and latest tech in their SUV. The CX-30 features an 10.25-inch infotainment display with Apple Carplay and Android Auto as standard along with a six-speaker audio system. If music is essential to you, a 12-speaker premium Bose audio is available on higher trim models or as an optional extra.

Mazda has not skipped on the safety essentials, equipping the CX-30 with blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, cross-traffic alert, and driver attention alert among other road safety driver aids that help mitigate preventable collisions on the road. The most important piece of safety tech on the CX-30 many might not realize is the awesome i-ACTIV AWD with Off-road Traction Assist.

A List Of The Mazda CX-30’s Safety And Tech Features

  • Forward collision mitigation
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Adaptive cruise control system
  • Drowsy driver monitor
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration
  • Mobile 911 automatic emergency notification
  • Mazda Connected Services
  • 8.8-inch infotainment display
  • 6-speaker audio system with Mazda Harmonic Acoustics

Related: 10 Best Small SUVs Under $30,000

Competitive Pricing In A Crowded Small SUV Segment

Mazda cx-30

While the Mazda CX-30 is not the lowest entry-priced small SUV on the market, the CX-30 does offer what other cheaper alternatives can only dream of in its base 2.5 S-trim. Priced from $24,995, the base CX-30 is nearly $1,400 cheaper than the Chevrolet Trailblazer LS trim configured with all-wheel drive. This price however matches that of the Subaru Crosstrek base trim. The CX-30 does offer a more premium feel than the Crosstrek, although both come equipped with all-wheel drive.

The top three cheapest SUVs in the sub-compact class as the Hyundai Venue, Chevrolet Trax, and the Nissan Kicks. Although all three vehicles have a starting price below $22,000, neither offers an all-wheel drive configuration nor the level of interior refinement of the upscale CX-30. In hindsight, the CX-30 punches above its weight and can be compared to the Hyundai Tucson and the Ford Escape not in terms of interior and exterior dimensions, but more in terms of value for money.

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