We've had small SUVs/CUVs since the first ones came onto the scene. This time it was between newest CR-V, Outlander, or Forester. Didn't like weird styling which sacrificed utility/visibility on new CR-V, couldn't find right color/options/price combo on Outlander, but we instantly loved the simple, stylish, and useful design of the new Forester. Even in "base" trim, has the features you need and many you'll want -- all at a great price. Peppier with manual shift, and improved in every way. Great interior room and visibility, nice style inside and out. More mainstream than ever, but better for it!
Simple, elegant style and controls, all safety features standard (VDC, traction control, all airbags, ABS, etc), great interior room and visibility, smooth ride, nice mainstream styling inside and out, best MPG and AWD in its class.
A few nits: would like adjustable rear seatbacks on base model and nicer standard steel wheels. Otherwise, near-perfect for its intended use and market.