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Hi, Im a recent graduate who found his first job and is happily living life as a member of society. My scion tC has lived its life to the fullest, I loved it while I had it, but it has to go. It has 140k miles on it and I feel I'm due for a new car. After constant struggle between this and that, black or white blah blah blah, I came to the conclusion that I wanted a compact-SUV or a crossover as they are referred to sometimes. I have been doing research for about a month using kbb, NADA, youtube reviews, edmunds and consumer reports. Note, I am not rich and I am looking for a car in the 25,000 range give or take. I would highly prefer a manual transmission, however im flexible. My lifestyle: I commute to work and sometimes on the weekend I like to go to Mexico ( I live in San Diego). This means I need the car to be able to handle Mexican roads (they're not bad, but they have their rough patches). I really like camping and rock-climbing, however I've never gotten into it (outdoorsy things) due to lack of time and money. I do have my own climbing gear now that I have a job, and hopefully soon I'll be stacking up on camping gear, if I like my first couple of trips. I am possibly purchasing my car in January or February. This is no easy task and thats why I'm starting my research early, I want to make the best decision and have no buyer's remorse. My original List with the reason for dropping: - Honda CRV - Do not like the design, feels like a mom's car. Boring overall - Mazda CX-5 - Same as above, mom car. However I am aware this one has one of the best features packaged into it. - Jeep Patriot - Possible contender, however after I learned about the renegade, I decided to drop this one out. - Jeep Renegade - Finalist - Kia Soul - Finalist - Mini Countryman - Finalist - Subaru Forester - Design is mediocre (mom-ish looking car). Interior feels outdated - Nissan Juke - I dont like the design at all - Toyota Rav4 - doesnt seem like anything special, nothing really caught my attention. So my finalist are the Mini Countryman (I am still debating whether to get the S or the base). the renegade and the kia soul (this being my cheaper alternative if whatever goes wrong with my credit). Things that I am really looking for are (IN ORDER): - Reliability - MPG - Modern features (Bluetooth, maybe iOS/Android compatibility) - Coolness, Radicalness and Awesomeness - Fun/enjoyable/comfortable to ride. (I'd like to road trip on this) - Cost-to-own. I have been researching these 3 cars intensely, however (like everything) people give them great and terrible ratings and reviews. So I am kind of at a confusing crossroad. I would appreciate your opinions on these 3 cars, or if you have a really strong argument for any of the previously listed (even something not listed that I overlooked) please advise. NOTE: I am an engineer, so keep that in mind when giving your opinion, as much as I welcome points of view, I'd rather have them with something to back them up.