I've owned my Forester almost a year now. It's not sexy but it's extremely practical. It's been an absolute pleasure to drive and own. I live in CO so it's been tested in snow, ice, mountains, dirt roads, etc. No problems. The 4 speed auto could be a big problem in mountain driving except the sport shift feature makes it into an easy to use manual transmission! I've averaged 26.1 MPG since owning it, much better than anticipated.
Outstanding AWD capability, plenty of interior room, great safety equipment, sport shift, and the handling and turn radius rock!
Add an adjustable passenger seat and better sound system.