I like mwcten's suggestion of the Honda Fit.
In that same size class, you might try to find a Suzuki SX4, which was offered with all-wheel-drive. Suzuki no longer sells new car in North America, but they tend to be fun, efficient, and reliable. I'm not sure if the original ten-year powertrain warranty is still being honored.
The Mazda5 is a lot of fun for something with sliding doors and three roads of seats. Older ones often need suspension repairs, which usually aren't expensive. It did fail the small offset crash test, as did many models designed before this test was first conducted a few years ago.
The Honda CR-V is very popular, but isn't much fun to drive. The RAV4 might be a little more fun than the Fit.
The Subaru Forester can be more fun to drive than the Honda or Toyota, but then can get a bit expensive to maintain over 100,000 miles, and that's probably where they'd be given you budget.
The Ford Escape tends to be just okay in most areas, but reliability tends to be okay, and the price should be much lower than for a CR-V, RAV4, or Forester of the same age.