PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Considering how much shame and buyers remorse "cash for clunkers"-era car buyers seemed to have about their hulking '90s and aughts sport utility vehicles, it's amazing that their current iterations have been so warmly embraced.
As crossovers continue to win hearts and minds with increasing cargo space and decreasing gas station stops, total SUV sales are up 14%, according to MotorIntelligence. By swapping out truck axles for car platforms, trimming fuel costs and giving U.S. drivers SUV space at a lower cost, the crossover emerged victorious from a recession that sent a whole lot of old-school SUVs to the scrapheap.
Crossover sales alone are up 13% this year from last year, while small SUV sales have jumped 20%. The crossover's 307,000 sales in the U.S. through April are even starting to challenge those of the venerable midsize sedan, which still holds the lead among vehicle categories with 311,00 vehicles sold.
Unfortunately, even crossovers can't be truthfully described as "cheap" automobiles. A $30,000 ceiling does a poor job of containing them and prices that regularly soar above it have kept even crossover sales tame.
There are still a whole lot of crossover SUVs out that limbo under that mark. With help from Kelley Blue Book, we found five examples of quality SUVs selling for less than $25,000. Among them are vehicles that have earned so much good will for staying relatively affordable that they've found a place among the Top 10 best-selling vehicles in the country:
10. 2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek
Starting price: $21,995
Remember when Subaru used to make wagons? Not the big, high-ground-clearance crossover SUVs with the Outback and Forester names on them now, but actual wagons?
So do many Subaru buyers, which is why this mini crossover has the look and feel of one with just slightly more elevation. As with all Subarus, the all-wheel drive is standard, but the 40 inches of driver headroom, the 43 inches of legroom and combined 52 cubic feet of cargo space with the seat down are all more SUV than Subaru wagon. Still, the standard multi-function display and rearview camera are nice perks for Subaru's smallest crossover, and those 33 miles per gallon on the highway are better than any wagon could manage.