I looked at several small SUVs, including the Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape, and Suzuki XL-7. The CR-V offers the most fun for the money, and the manual tranny is a blast to drive! It is quicker than my last car, a Ford Explorer V-8! It gives great mileage, is a cinch to park, and has as much room as the Explorer ever did (usable room, anyway). The interior cubbies are the best, I have room for Kleenex packets, loads of CDs, my parking deck gate card, and any other small items I ever have, all with its own place!
Interior space and storage, zippy engine, 27 mpg on the last trip, and an average of 24 mpg on my work commute.
Heated washer fluid jets, more lighted steering wheel controls, better placement of the sunroof switch...just niggles!