The leaves are starting to turn, and soon, the weather will turn with them. In some places, it will turn downright nasty. Remember those three foot snow drifts last winter? Remember the car you couldn't get out of them? If you live on the East Coast, or in parts of the mountain west, you do. And if you're looking at a new car, the memory might be worth revisiting. All-wheel drive isn't a bad idea.
But in 2010, with the recession on our minds, do we really want to go back to the overstuffed, oversized, overpriced SUVs we all wanted in the '90s?
You don't have to. There are a number of well-built, comfortable SUVs that can crawl their way through a snowstorm with decent AWD systems without draining your retirement. Here are five midsize SUVs we like, all available in the low- to mid-20s.
2011 Kia Sorento SXEnlarge Photo
The newly-redesigned Sorento is, somewhat surprisingly, one of the best vehicles in its segment. It has great passenger and cargo space, a folding third-row seat, and some amenities (like Bluetooth and satellite radio) that will cost you extra on many midsize SUVs are standard on the Kia. One tip we don't usually give -- step up to the V-6. The four-cylinder is a bit weak, and the V-6 is so fuel-efficient that you don't trade away much economy by adding power.