How much do you tow compared to everyday driving? If the strain on a small efficient SUV wouldn't be too great then that's how I'd go. You won't be able to find a diesel I don't think for any kind of reasonable price unless it has ALOT of miles on it, at which little small repairs may eat you up.
I know that if I towed only once a month or even twice a month on the weekend and it wasn't for more than 50 miles then I would go with something like an Equinox. The Ford Escape are nice vehicles too and I am pretty sure you can get them in a manual which would be great for towing. My brother in law has a Escape and he loves it.
Weber Spirit E-310, Weber Performer, Weber Smokey Joe, Mini-WSM, ECB Electric.