Quicker from a standing start than our previous WRX's and our '05 Legacy 2.5 GT turbo. No serious turbo lag felt in the XT, as well as being stronger through the gears. Doesn't handle as well as the WRX's, but it is a lot more comfortable and versatile, especially on a long trip or bumpy gravel roads. Mileage of 24-25 mpg in mixed driving with generous use of the turbo is excellent for such a high performance vehicle. A trip with 4 people on board through mountains (6,000 to 10,000 ft) did not diminish its performance/fun factor. Not as cute as the V8 Mustang we had, but feels just as fast and a lot better handling (safer) in inclement weather. Actually fun to drive in the rain.
Turbo, gearing, versatility. It's a smile generator! It's appearance may not impress posers, but the driving experience impresses me.
A sixth gear for even more economy, but don't change the ratios of gears 1-5 so that the performance is not hurt. We drove the 2006 XT. It was slightly quieter, but it has revised ratios in its 5 speed manual and isn't quite as quick. That, plus the new 'styling' is why we searched around for a 2005.