America's fetish for crossovers has resulted in a market saturated with excellent choices as automakers are hustling to stay competitive in the segment. Although it came at the expense of passenger cars, the demand for versatile, high-riding, easy-to-drive vehicles has exploded over the last decade. Among the seemingly endless list of crossovers on the market, finding the best value for your money can be a challenge. We've narrowed our list of top crossovers under $25,000 that offer everything from head-turning design to a hybrid engine. This means shoppers on a budget won't have to make any sacrifices when it comes to space, performance, and style.
1. 2021 Mazda CX-30
Wedged between the subcompact CX-3 and the compact CX-5 in Mazda's crossover lineup, the CX-30 offers just the right amount of space for small families and so much more. The CX-30's attention-grabbing exterior was developed from Mazda's KODO (soul of motion) design language that blends the beauty of a coupe and the bold toughness of an SUV. The result is a more rugged and sporty crossover compared to the CX-3 and CX-5.
Inside, the Mazda CX-30 is designed around the occupants with a stylish cabin that seats 5 passengers comfortably. The higher roof height and increased legroom make for a better passenger experience in the second row than the smaller CX-3 can offer. Premium materials like genuine leather and the Mazda Connect infotainment system look like they belong in a much pricier vehicle. While the passengers enjoy the ride, the driver will be impressed by this crossover's nimble handling and punchy 186-horsepower SKYACTIV-G 4-cylinder base engine. New for 2021, is an optional turbocharged 2.5-liter engine for 250 horsepower, a game-changer in the segment.
2021 Mazda CX-30 Base MSRP: $21,900
2. 2021 Ford Escape
The 2021 Ford Escape ticks nearly every box on the list for crossover shoppers including ample cargo space, civilized driving manners, and improved styling and ergonomics. Emerging from a redesign for 2020 is one of the best compact crossovers on the market when it comes to the driving experience, style, technology, and comfort. The new exterior of the Ford Escape is clean and attractive without being overstyled. We'd even compare it to the Porsche Macan, but with a price that's much easier to swallow.
Drivers will find an airy and spacious cabin as they climb inside the 2021 Ford Escape. The crossover's increased proportions allow for more hip room and shoulder room in the front as well as ample legroom and headroom in the second row. The Escape offers a comfortable and balanced driving experience with one of the most engaging rides we've seen from a hybrid model. In addition to the efficient 200-horsepower hybrid with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and electric motor, the Escape can be had with a range of powertrains including the base turbo three for 181 horsepower and a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder for 250 horsepower.
2021 Ford Escape Base MSRP: $24,885
3. 2021 Hyundai Tucson
Although the upcoming 2022 Hyundai Tucson promises to offer more dramatic styling and additional powertrain options, the current Tucson holds its own as the brand's best-seller. Crossover shoppers flock to the Tucson thanks to its smooth ride, user-friendly interior and tech, and excellent safety scores. The Tucson's modern exterior and the open layout in the cabin mean there are no sacrifices to be made, and the budget-friendly price tag is just icing on the cake.
The interior of the 2021 Hyundai Tuscon marries quality materials with an open and spacious layout. Its ergonomics are excellent with comfortable seats that feature just the right amount of cushioning and bolstering. The rear seats have ample legroom, even for taller adults. The Tucson's infotainment system is easy to read and very user-friendly with perfectly positioned controls. On the road, the Tucson provides a smooth and balanced ride with competent acceleration from the available 181-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder.
2021 Hyundai Tucson Base MSRP: $23,700