As a current owner of a 2016 Subaru Impreza (Same as the CrossTrek, but lower ground clearance), I can very much recommend the CrossTrek. It sounds like he has an actual need for the extra ground clearance and rugged nature of the CrossTrek, and our Subaru is an absolutel delight to drive. It is my wife's primary car that I bought for her and our two young children. I bought it for safety, durability, reliability, and also how well it drives. It's very manueverable, and agile. The CVT transmission, like all of them, leaves a bit to be desired, but it's quite good for a CVT. The CrossTrek is available with a manual transmission, and, if he's interested at all in driving a manual, I highly recommend it.
The Mazda CX-5 would be my second recommendation. It has a good engine, durability, good fuel economy, and has good space. I don't feel like it's quite as agile as the Subaru, but it's close enough to not make much difference. Safety however, goes to the Subaru. The Mazda will be fine, but Subaru is arguable the safest car manufacturer in the world these days, which is one of the main reasons why I continue to buy Subarus for my family. The Rav4 is never a bad choice. It's comfortable, reliable, and has a good 4WD system. Subaru has the best AWD system, and Toyota has the best 4WD system, in my opinion at least. My wife owned a 99 Rav4 for nearly 15 years, and loved it. It was just too small for us, as the back seat space wouldn't even comfortably hold our children. The Toyota Prius I have never been a fan of. They get good fuel economy, and are generally reliable, but I've seen too many excessively high repair costs and heard too many nightmares to be able to recommend it as an automotive professional. Some will disagree, and that is to each his own, but I don't recommend it. Best of luck and happy hunting!