2009 Scion xB

2009 Scion xB

Base price: $15,750 - $15,750
Mileage: 28 mpg Hwy, 22 mpg City

The tough, lovable Scion xB has become an even more viable SUV alternative with its recent redesign. There's more interior space and more useful cubbies in which to toss random stuff. It's also more enjoyable to drive day-to-day.

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2008 MINI Cooper Clubman

2008 MINI Cooper Clubman

Base price: $19,950
Mileage: 37 mpg Hwy, 28 mpg City

The Clubman is a preview of something even more interesting to come. BMW's Mini division is working on a true crossover SUV that should arrive in the next couple of years.

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2009 Toyota Matrix

2009 Toyota Matrix

Base price: $16,190 - $20,660
Mileage: 32 mpg Hwy, 26 mpg City

The Matrix got a makeover for the new model year. The new version gets a lower, sleeker look and a more powerful engine. It keeps its fold-down back seats for more cargo space and available all-wheel-drive.

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2008 Kia Rondo

2008 Kia Rondo

Base price: $16,395 - $20,195
Mileage: 26 mpg Hwy, 19 mpg City

The Rondo doesn't look like much, but there's an amazing amount of utility stuffed into that little potato-shaped body. You can even get a reasonable set of third-row seats, believe it or not.

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2009 Ford Escape Hybrid

2009 Ford Escape Hybrid

Base price: $27,445 - $29,215
Mileage: 30 mpg Hwy, 34 mpg City

The Ford Escape Hybrid is one SUV that really needs no alternative. With a fuel-efficient, four-cylinder engine and a Prius-like full-hybrid system, the Escape delivers small-car fuel economy with crossover SUV utility.

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2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid

2008 Saturn Vue Green Line Hybrid

Base price: $23,640 - $23,640
Mileage: 32 mpg Hwy, 24 mpg City

The Vue Green Line has only a "mild hybrid" system used in the Chevrolet Malibu and Saturn Aura hybrid sedans, but here it offers a 6 mpg fuel-economy boost, not just 2, as in the other vehicles.

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2008 Mazda5

2008 Mazda5

Base price: $17,995 - $22,515
Mileage: 28 mpg Hwy, 22 mpg City

The Mazda5 is a gem of a vehicle that's been sadly overlooked, perhaps because of its baby-van look. It's been upgraded for the 2008 model year to offer both better performance and fuel economy while also sharpening its looks a bit.

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2009 Subaru Forester

2009 Subaru Forester

Base price: $19,995 - $28,195
Mileage: 27 mpg Hwy, 20 mpg Cityb

The Forester has long been a favorite crossover SUV. It's had plenty of utility with real four-wheel-drive ruggedness. But past versions have suffered from a dowdy "grandpa's station wagon" design.

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