2010 Hyundai TucsonEnlarge Photo
Sometimes in life you find that while your responsibilities are growing, your income isn’t expanding at the same rate. For instance, the arrival of a new baby or the process of buying a home or budget cutbacks at work can all eat into your liquid assets. So what do you do if that baby you are buying the house for won’t fit in your old roadster?
When deciding on a new vehicle try to remember that babies need enough cargo room for strollers, diaper bags, and every shake-rattle toy ever invented. Oh yes, and you need room for the dog too. Since you only need a minivan once you pass the magic three children mark you decide on an SUV. But which SUV?
You don’t want one of those gas guzzling monster SUVs because who knows how expensive the black stuff will be in five years? And it would be nice if it was reliable and cost under $25,000. Is all of this too much to ask?
Well, it appears that a number of automakers know exactly what you are looking for and here is a list of five top SUV models under $25,000 that you must test drive. While you may still miss the old roadster, a few of these SUVs are so good that they manage to be fun to drive. Because sometimes the practical stuff just doesn’t cut it.
2010 Honda CR-V
(Starting at $21,545):(21 city/27 highway) The CR-V has more power for 2010 with a 180 horsepower 2.4 liter 4 cylinder coming as standard. The CR-V leads the field in build quality, spaciousness, cargo room and resale and is the no brainer choice at this price. The only drawback is that Honda has sold so many CR-Vs that you see them positively everywhere. That’s the price you pay for being the best.
2010 Hyundai Tucson
(Starting at $18,995):(22 city/30 highway) With a truly space-age looking interior design and an exterior that is full of shockingly angular curves, you are either going to love or hate the Tucson. Either way, the Tucson is a bargain yet still boasts a standard 176 horsepower four cylinder engine that can return 30 miles per gallon highway. And even if you go crazy with the options and trim levels it’s hard to price a Tucson over $25,000.
2010 Mitsubishi Outlander
(Starting at $20,840):(21 city/27 highway) This is the SUV for all those guys who had to ditch their EVO when they started a family. The steering feel, handling and even the engine note from the 168 horsepower 2.4 liter MIVEC engine is tuned for sportiness. Also, the Outlander is a fine value and all Mitsubishi models come with a 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty like Hyundai/Kia.
2010 Toyota RAV4
(Starting at $21,500):(22 city/28 highway) Powered by a plenty powerful 178 horsepower 4 cylinder, the current generation RAV4 has grown so much in size that it almost fits into the same category as the original Highlander. But extra space can be a boon for growing families and the RAV4 has always proved unfailingly reliable in quality surveys. There is, however, the RAV4’s girlie reputation to consider so if your husband ever plans on driving the SUV you may want to think twice.
2010 Nissan Rogue
(Starting at $20,780):(22 city/27 highway) The 2010 Nissan Rogue looks much like a mini-Murano and that is no bad thing. Powered by a 170 horsepower 4-cylinder engine, acceleration is adequate via Nissan’s CVT automatic transmission. The Rogue managed to shoot to the top of the class quality wise by winning the “J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Award” for its segment last year. One drawback is that it doesn’t have as much cargo room as some of its competition but the Rogue makes up for it in by being easy on the eyes. And who said it was easy being pretty?