There are more than two-dozen crossovers priced under $25,000, but only a quarter of them make more than 200 horsepower. While mileage numbers are a huge shopping feature for many buyers, we don’t know a lot of people willing to sacrifice horsepower in spite of trying to stick to a budget. If you need space, performance and value, here are six new crossovers that offer all three.
2010 Dodge Journey
Completely new for 2009, the 2010 Dodge Journey midsize crossover does the typical crossover mix of car and SUV, emphasizing bold, Dodge-truck styling plus interior flexibility. Available in rear- and all-wheel drive, Journey offers two engine choices: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6. In SXT guise, the Journey comes with the 235-hp six-cylinder and an MSRP of $23,790. Storage galore and built-in child booster and "presenter" seats make the Journey a very family- and kid-friendly vehicle. Stadium seating provides better views for second- and (available) third-row passengers. Learn more.
2010 Dodge Nitro
With aggressive styling that suits its name, the Dodge Nitro rolls into 2010 pretty much unchanged from ’09, while still offering a decent amount of power, room, and a super-functional, flexible interior. The version that warms our hearts is the Nitro Heat, with its 210-hp, 3.7-liter V6 priced at $21,590 in rear-wheel-drive mode and $23,250 in 4WD. A new, fuel-saving feature has been added this model year that cuts fuel to the engine when decelerating. The Nitro seats five. Just some of the standard features are 20-inch wheels, tinted windows, full power accessories, A/C, six-speaker audio with CD, keyless entry, and a reclining rear seat. Learn more.
2010 Jeep Liberty
In the Jeep tradition of off-road capability, the 2010 Liberty is available with two different 4x4 systems, a comfortable interior, advanced safety features, and an optional industry-exclusive Sky Slider full-open roof that gives a whole new meaning to enjoying the great outdoors. All Liberty models are powered by a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 210 horsepower and 235 lb.-ft. of torque. Liberty “Sport” in rear-wheel drive starts at $23,255, and $24,865 in four-wheel drive. Standard equipment for Sport models includes 16-inch wheels, keyless entry, tilt steering, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, CD with six speakers, an auxiliary audio jack, A/C, satellite radio and heated mirrors. Learn more.
2010 Mitsubishi Outlander
Barely making the cut with an MSRP of $24,990, Mitsubishi’s 2010 Outlander XLS is powered by a 230-hp, 3.0-liter V6 mated to a six-speed automatic with manual-shift capability. Nicely redesigned this model year, the Outlander’s new front mesh grille gives it a seriously aggressive look. XLS models get 18-inch wheels to finish the look. New LCD gauges grace the interior, which includes a soft-touch upper instrument panel, nicely finished door trim, three rows of seating, and a handy flip-down tailgate that can support up to 440 pounds. Voice-activated Bluetooth, “Fuse” hands-free link, automatic climate control, a six-disc CD changer, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and turn-signal mirrors round out the XLS trim. Learn more.
2010 Toyota RAV4
Toyota’s small but mighty RAV4 with its 3.5-liter V6 is a very fun-to-drive crossover that in Base form starts at $23,710. You can pay more for one with the smaller four-cylinder and more upscale amenities or you can step up slightly to the Sport version with the V6 for $25,305 and still closely stick to budget. The 269-hp V6 provides exceptional performance and the ride is both smooth and taut. Loaded to the nines with people and stuff, it easily pulls away from the pack even on an uphill grade. The interior is comfortable, with lots of storage compartments and plenty of leg- and elbowroom for everyone. An available third-row seat is perfect for kids. Learn more.
2010 Volkswagen Tiguan
Not only is the Volkswagen Tiguan the only small crossover with European roots, it’s the only one in this category that doesn’t get its 200 horsepower from a V6. Powered by an inline turbocharged four-cylinder, the Tiguan S starts at $23,200. All-new for 2009, the 2010 Tiguan is a little lacking in cargo capacity, but it more than makes up for it with its road-going finesse and upscale interior. Also available in SE, Wolfsburg Edition and SEL trims, the Tiguan S comes standard with 16-inch wheels, full power, keyless entry, A/C, cruise control, eight-way (manually) adjustable front seats and an eight-speaker CD audio system. Learn more.
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