2012 Toyota RAV4Enlarge Photo
2012 Toyota RAV4
Slotting somewhere between a compact and a mid-size crossover, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 is also one of the few in the compact segment to offer a third row (although the option costs $800 extra in the base model). And that third row is really only kid-friendly, so families requiring fully-functional and adult-accommodating seating in a third row would be better served looking at a mid-size crossover or SUV with three-row seating.
In a review by TheCarConnection, editors give the 2012 Toyota RAV4 an overall 7 (out of 10) rating, saying the base 179-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is “smooth, responsive, and has enough power to keep most drivers happy.” The RAV4 also “handles surprisingly well, yet its ride is by no means harsh.” With a net price of $23,460 ($22,650 base plus $810 destination charge), the compact crossover is an affordable good choice for small families.
2012 Chevrolet EquinoxEnlarge Photo
2012 Chevrolet Equinox LS
With a full redesign just two years ago, the 2012 Chevrolet Equinox still looks fresh, and, according to this review in TheCarConnection, it takes on the perennial best-selling Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 due to its “handling and fuel economy that are about on-par with a mid-size sedan, plus a taller body that brings more space and versatility.”
On the higher-end of the compact crossovers under $25,000, the base 2012 Chevy Equinox nets out at $24,260 ($23,450 base plus $810 destination charge). The fuel-efficient (EPA-rated 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway) 182-horsepower 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Ditto its corporate sibling, the 2012 GMC Terrain SLE-1, upfitted a bit more but also costing about two grand more with a net price of $26,290.