I wanted a AWD/4 Wheel Drive car. I had decided on the Kia Sportage. I liked the looks, features & great warranty. Wasn't so impressed with the mileage, or uncertain reliability record after being brought back after being off market a few years. I saw the reviews of the 2005 Forester here, and then saw Consumer Reports TOP RATED the Forester, and decided to look deeper. I was very pleasantly surprised! The start from stop, without the turbo, was as strong or more so than our Camry, which had originally moved me from the V-6's. Fit, finish and ride are super. I drove it from Palm Springs to Reno and loved it in the mountains. Averaged 26.5 combined, 1500 miles. I am completely pleased.
This baby is quiet! Pick-up is great. The A/C, in the 115* heat of Palm Springs, never lags. The sound system, with tweeters and woofer is excellent. The weatherband included in the radio are a real help. It takes corners & handles well in high winds. Easy to get in & out of. Good lighting overall.
Subaru is in the stone age as far as offering privacy glass on the rear and side windows. Cost me $200 to have it added to all but the front window. I'm a large guy & while comfortable, wish the drivers seat was an inch or two wider & deeper. Overall no big complaints.