My impressions so far at 5K miles is a mixed bag. The Forester XT is great for family trips with enough comfort and room for kids and stuff. The XT has good power and dynamic handling thanks in part to the AWD that sometimes makes things boring. The interior is nice with some good features and is comfortable and reasonably quite. The price is also reasonable.
But make no mistake about it, the 4sp auto is this cars big downfall that accounts for poor gas mileage (Im getting 17.7mpg mostly city) and jerky shifting.
The boxer turbo 4 is powerful and butter smooth, smoother than the Infiniti and Acura V6 I own/ed. Steering and handling work really well with the AWD system. Tight turning radius and backup camera makes maneuverability easy. Dual auto climate controls a strong air conditioner and the heated front seats are nice.
Good audio system with USB plug (no more $$ iPod, just a cheap thumb drive) or use Bluetooth for both cell and music. HID headlights are bright albeit not self-leveling or turning. Other nice touches are relining rear seats, ample cargo room, leather seats, large moon roof, comfortable seating, and good visibility.
This car is ready for bad weather.
Functional hood scoop is cool.
The transmission is responsible for the two biggest flaws in the XT, gas mileage (I avg 17.7mpg feathering the throttle most of the time) and jerky shifting. Just too few gears to get the mileage up or the spacing right to reduce the jerking.
The XT is the performance Forester and should come with a 5sp auto as found on econboxes likes CRVs, Civics, Mazda 3s, Kias, etc.
Also, theres a 1sec delay when you floor the throttle, like the ECM is thinking, hello.
These 3 shortcoming ruin the love for me.
Manual adj passenger seat and lack of LED side brake lights and interior lights seem out of step. No clean diesel option in the USA.