5. Mazda CX-5 – MSRP from $21,395
Nobody can legitimately look at the CX-5 and says it’s an ugly vehicle, when it comes to the attractively-shaped exterior. If you like sharp handling, capable brakes and tight steering, the CX-5 is perhaps the best choice for an affordable SUV. The model comes with some practicality as well, thanks to the company’s SkyActiv technology that helps the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine consume as little fuel as possible. Of course, upgrading to the 2.5-liter engine bumps performance considerably, making the Mazda CX-5 much more of a “zoom-zoom” machine drivers likely are expecting. Just be prepared to endure an interior that is comfortable but not inspiring, but with any luck you will be driving and focusing on whipping through turns, instead of on the sea of drab plastics that surround you.