I LOVE my Forester! I put 15k miles a year on it, and I drive it hard! 5 speed and the engine pulls great. I had one problem, the headgasket, but it was covered under the service bulletin/warranty to 100k. I currently have 112k miles and this car is great. I really enjoy it. Reliable, fun, but maybe a little small for a family of four. Stereo/tape was lousy, I replaced it with an OEM 6-CD changer from a Subaru WRX for $100. MPG: if I drive hard (wide open throttle) I get 21.4, if I set cruise at the speed limit, 28.4. AWD uses more gas but is a blast to drive spirited! We miss our other Subaru (95 Legacy) and plan to purchase another when we can. I'm so glad I got this vehicle.
Strong engine, reliability, AWD is fun for cornering!