What is a SUV that can get the mileage of a car? The Honda CR-V is the answer. If you're not a lead foot, gas mileage is always in the 20s and can be up to and in excess of 30. An SUV where you can get sunroof, leather, and everything save for the navi under $25k. Drives and handles nice for a SUV. Wish the leather was more plush but this is probably better for long term drives and for your back. Center console is nice. As is three power outlets. Plenty of storage compartments. Can't go wrong with this car. It is consistently a value holder and a reliability champ! Two wheel drive is all you need unless you live in a ski resort or next to the Great Lakes.
Interior is refined as can be. Gas mileage can REALLY impress you at times. Trip computer with fuel info. Good engine. Stock wheels are good as is the radio (just needs more wattage/power). Did I mention the interior? The front end.
A option to include the 3.5 V6. Automatic air (came the year after). Power seat (once again, came in '08). Beef up the sound system, like the 350 watt one with a subwoofer that came with the 2006 Civic. Separate fuel economy from the odometer.