The Jeep Cherokee is much more like a crossover than like a Jeep, but that's fine; I test-drove the Patriot, too, and it's a little too boxy Jeep for my tastes. (Drove a friend's Wrangler a couple weeks ago, and loved it, but it gets awful mileage.)
The Ford Fusion and Chrysler 200 come in AWD models now, which I hadn't realized. The Chrysler 200 isn't bad at all, but ends up pricier than I'd like. I can't afford another Audi, and I could get a stripped-down Audi for as much as a 200 costs, making it a non-starter.
The Subaru Crosstrek seems similar to the Cherokee and the Nissan Rogue, in that it's a solid crossover that drives more like a car than an SUV. Very plausible option. The Outback isn't bad, and has decent lease offers, but I don't love driving it.
The Nissan Rogue and Rogue Select seem like really good contenders. The Rogue is all new for 2014, but the previous model did so well that they're actually still selling it as the "Rogue Select." The newer model has better rear visibility and updated electronics. The older model is $100 or so a month cheaper in a lease!
So, I'm probably going with the Rogue Select. It's going to be $269/month, which is less than half what I've been spending. (I committed to my last 39-month lease two months before I learned I was being laid off. Much easier to afford back then.) I could probably still manage with the leases of most of the others I've been looking at, which all end up in the $350-400 range, but that extra $100+ a month will go a long way toward eliminating the rest of my credit card debt.
I considered buying, too, but I think I'm going to go with a lease partly out of habit, and partly to keep the monthly expense down and the commitment short. Maybe in a few years I'll be in a position to afford something better. Maybe in a few years I'll have realized I don't want a crossover!
I also considered buying an ordinary sedan and getting snow tires for the winters, but I really have grown accustomed to the AWD. I do have neighbors here on my hill who have regular cars, but there are a lot with Subarus or SUVs or other AWD options. There's a reason Subarus and Audis and SUVs are big in this town.