I did a great deal of research on mid-size SUV's and narrowed my choices to the 2003 CRV or the 2003 Forester. After 4 years and 45K of driving I think I may never buy anything but a Subaru again. The car handles any weather condition you can throw at it with ease. Snow, rain, ice, sub-zero temps. The car behaves well in any element. Most importantly though the car just runs well with no major mechanic or electrical problems to date. Certainly there are some minor, mostly aesthetic and comfort changes I would welcome. However this car has earned my trust and has been an excellent ambassador for the Subaru line-up. The best vehicle purchase I have ever made.
AWD, Boxer engine, great visibility throughout. Surpsingly roomy front. Lots of cargo space. Very responsive handling. Good safety record and outstanding reliability.
Interior feels a bit cheap. Cloth is thin and the seats aren't well padded. Better MPG would be welcome. ABS acts up a bit when braking over bumps. Noticeable road noise. The 'hill-holder' is the answer to a problem that didn't really exist and kicks in too frequently.