The Subaru Forester is one of the best Vehicles that I have ever owned. We bought our first Forester in Sept 1997 a new 98 model. In October we went to Maine to visit friends, We had a very comfortable trip from PA. It snowed 8" and the Forester was a pleasure to drive in snow. I drive 65 miles each way to work and since 1997 our Forester got me there every day. That Forester now has 195,000 miles on it and when we decided we needed new car for my 130 mile commute there was no thinking about it - off we went to our Subaru dealer and drove home with a new 2.5XS. The original Forester is the L version and now it takes my wife on her daily commute of 5 miles. It feels good in the snow she says.
50:50 AWD always with manual transmission. In snow there is no waiting for the front wheels to slip before the back wheels come into play.
I wish the 2005 Forester had the feature that the 1998 has where you remove the key from the ignition and in overhead interior light comes on and goes out after you shut the door. That is extreamly nice on the cold inclement nights when you need to gather your belongings before you open the door.