After exhaustive test drives and visits to a variety of dealerships, two small suvs stood out. The new Ravs are nice, especially the 6 cylinder, but the 2009 Subie XT was the ticket. Had to drive over 100 miles to get the color (sage green) we wanted. This car is fun-fun to drive. It will go fast, like changing lanes and passing 18 wheelers in a less than 3 seconds. Our 2002 Rav could only try. Fit/finish is up to the toyota standards and thats good. But the ergonomics are much better. All around visibility is great. Tight U-turner.
It has power to spare. 224 hp in such a small package is crazy. Handling is very nimble. You've got to keep the steering wheel aimed the right direction as you can often go faster than expected. The brakes (4 discs) also do a good job of slowing you down. Rear seating is great but only for two.
Mileage is just okay. Were getting 22-23 miles per gallon. Premium is no big deal since gas is $3.90 for regular and $4.00 for premium. On the tech side, there should be a button to switch to FWD from AWD instead of manually pulling/putting in a fuse (required when using the smaller spare tire).