I have a 2000 Honda CRV, and it is the best car I've ever owned. I can't say enough about its reliability. I've owned it for 11 years (bought it used in 2004), and the only significant problem it's had was a radiator leak a few years ago. I've done the routine maintenance and changed the tires, and that's all it seems to need. It was our only vehicle until last year.
We car-shopped for small SUVs last year and had nearly decided on a Subaru, but were torn between the Forester and the Outback. I was leaning toward Outback; DH was leaning toward Forester. We drove the Toyota RAV4, but it felt small to us. We also drove a Toyota Venza, which we liked, but it wasn't right for us. We looked at VW Tiguans, but they seem small for the money. Given my first paragraph, it may be surprising that we didn't buy another CRV. Here's why: Visibility. They've redesigned it so the side windows toward the back are rather small. I didn't like the reduced visibility, and we took the CRV off our list. There are so many good things to say about the CRV -- but those rear windows are a problem, IMO.
On a lark, we decided to check out the Toyota Highlander, and ultimately, that's what we bought. Not a small SUV, but it will serve us well with a high schooler, his friends, and a lot of band equipment.
If a smaller SUV were the priority, I'd probably go with either the Subaru Forester or Outback. They're both great vehicles with some modest differences. The Toyota RAV4 would be another good choice.