2005 Subaru Forester X AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 5M)
Had a 2000 Forester and replaced it with the 2005 after looking at CRV, RAV4 and Sportage. Though few visible changes, I can see great improvements over the 2000 model in mileage, acceleration and interior trim. This is my third Subaru and they can't be beat for cold climates.
AWD, and you can still get a real stick shift. Great choice to trim levels and performance options. Strong owner community to tap into for information.
Radio controls on the steering wheel would be great.