If reliability is a top priority, then among the domestic brands the 2012 and up Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain are probably your best bets. The Cherokee started out well but has been getting worse, and the current Escape has been and remains iffy. With the GM products you will need the 2013 and up 3.6-liter V6 if you want strong acceleration, and then mpg is among the lowest for a compact SUV. Strengths are a lot of rear legroom and a smooth, quiet ride.
A 2013-2014 Ford Edge might also work. The basic design dates to the 2007 model year, and the Edge will be entirely redesigned for 2015. So the Edge doesn't drive as well as more recently designed competitors. But aside from the 2011-2012 (first years of MyFord Touch) it has had good reliability scores. Deals could be very good on left over new 2014s. Marginal fuel economy, though.
The Forester could be the best all-around compact SUV, especially if you also want quick acceleration. Or, for more of a wagon shape, the Outback. Or, for a sedan, the Legacy. With any of the Subarus the latest versions drive better and are significantly more fuel efficient, but they'll be over your $25,000 limit. We also have reports of oil consumption problem with the 2011-2013 Forester, 2012-2013 Impreza, and 2013 Legacy Outback. So those are a bit of a risk.
The Mazda CX-5 also stacks up very well. But if you feel you'd need (or at least want) the turbo engine in the Subaru, then the engines in this Mazda and in the Honda CR-V won't be sufficient.
It sounds like you don't need the additional size of the Highlander, though fuel economy with the V6 should be about the same as the Equinox / Terrain and Edge. Toyota did offer the smaller RAV4 with the same V6 through the 2012 model year.
Finally, Nissan offers the Murano midsize crossover. From 2009 on these have been reliable. Not everyone is a fan of the feel of the CVT transmission.