4. Hyundai Tuscon Sport AWD:
Redesigned for 2016, this is a much improved compact crossover with a handsome new look, more standard features, and enhanced overall refinement. Usefully larger than its predecessor, Tuscon gets new styling with a sharp edges and curves that put it among the more visually interesting vehicles in the class.
Our budget allows you to pass over the base SE model and its poky 2.0-liter 164-horsepower four-cylinder. Eco, Sport, and top-line Limiteds use a turbocharged 1.6-liter four with 175 horsepower and a generous 195 pound-feet of torque.
3. Honda CR-V EX:
Americans purchase more CR-Vs than any other crossover or SUV, and they get an eminently likeable compact with best-in-class fuel economy. Easy to park and maneuver yet with stretch-out room front and rear and plenty of cargo space, this five-seater is a model of design efficiency.
Road manners are more than competent but far from sporty. Steering is effortless, though numb-feeling, ride quality more controlled than cushy. The sole engine, a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, delivers sufficient acceleration while rating a pleasing 29 mpg city-highway combined.