Since they don't want the Forester, I'm guessing they don't want any other Subaru, either.
A max of $21,500 for a new CUV rules out the Forester's segment anyway, much less an Outback.
Your best bets are one segment smaller. Check out the Honda CR-V (most room), Mazda CX-3 (probably the best handling, but the smallest rear windows), and Chevrolet Trax (torquiest engine, most proven reliability record since not a new design this year) to see how well you can see out of them, among other things.
The Honda and Mazda haven't yet been crash tested, but should do well. The Chevrolet has good scores in all of the crash tests. While we don't have reliability stats for the Trax, we do have them for the closely related Buick Encore, which has required very few repairs.