2014 Mitsubishi Outlander GT 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6A)
This is a lot of car for little money. Bells and whistles usually found on much more expensive cars/add on packages. Powerful but still fuel efficient V6 engine, sturdy frame, AWD, great ground clearance, high end features that really make a difference in safety and comfort (e.g. backup camera, dual zone AC, keyless entry and start). It will handle pretty much anything with ease, passengers, heavy cargo, towing, and challenging weather conditions or even off road. Fun to drive thanks to solid road feel, spacious interior, peppy engine and virtually no blind spots. After test driving Escape, Outback, Highlander and Pilot the Outlander feels like combining the best aspects of all of them.
Fuel efficient but plenty strong V6 engine. GVWR approaching that of much larger SUVs. Standard backup camera, dual zone and fully automatic AC, rain sensing wipers, all wheel drive, paddle shifters, automatic high power headlights, and keyless entry and engine start. 18" alloy tires for better road grip. Over 8" ground clearance. Super small turning radius. Very roomy inside, even at my 6'4". Unobtrusive placement of the 12V outlets. Proven reliability backed with 5-10 year warranties.
Seats folding is a bit more complicated but folded seats end up completely flat. Would prefer if iPhone/bluetooth doesn't start playing automatically. Premium fuel recommended but it, after reading manual & forums, appears not to be required.