Just let my '04 Volvo XC70 go off lease and picked up an '08 Forester and am very happy with the decision. Where I drove the Volvo, the Subaru I just drive; I'm much more in tune with the road, and quite happy with less mass to maneuver (especially parallel parking). My daughter drove it yesterday and commented "It's like driving a go cart!" My wife is on her second of two Foresters, so I knew what I was getting. Hers have been the base model; I am SO glad I spent the extra $1500 on the Premium package. She's already put dibs on the '08 when I move on in two years! It's a no nonsense, supremely competent runabout, with the carrying capacity of a small van.
Classic design, awd, size/shape, visibility, oversize side mirrors with flashers, seats, amazing sunroof, practicality, leather steering wheel,shifter,brake handle, stereo. Perhaps my favorite feature is the overall value, both at purchase and at resale. Love the reliability of Subies.
Make side curtain airbags, 4 wheel discs, and VDC standard at all levels. More room, esp. in back. Sounds like I'm describing the '09, doesn't it? Some more interesting color choices would be nice, also some more interesting alloy wheels either standard or options.