This has got to be one of the most underrated cars out there, It's practicality is useful for almost situation a driver wants(except racing) unless turbo'd. It was my best friend in 20cm of snow and its AWD never let me down.
I purchased this car back in 2002 and never regretted it. I spent quite a bit of time researching various cars before getting my Outback Sport and am pretty happy with the car and its overall performance after having it for more than 3 years and driving 32k miles. It's my third car and second Subaru. Very reliable and nice car. Fast acceleration (on manual transmission) and very solid driving on snow (tested in Tahoe area). Probably has the best performance/price ratio of all AWDs on the market.
AWD, lots of standard features.
Fuel consumption is too high (21-25 miles/gallon).
I totaled my '99, but it saved my life. I had reservations about another one because it was VERY noisy, the shift linkage was awful and the clutch worked best parked. There were a lot of ignition problems, and the rear brakes were drums. But having two dogs, always had manual transmission, and not wanting to be sitting high off of the ground left me few choices. I ended up with a 2003 with 18,500 miles on it for $13,800. I love it! Subaru addressed every issue but the rear brakes (sigh). It is quiet, no hood scoop, more power, and the best shift linkage I have driven yet. It feels like a Legacy.
Shift linkage, solid feel, and quality.
Rear discs, come on, this is the 21st Century, I know you have them, they are on the other Impreza models!
Subarus are tough, easy to work on,
and fun to drive. Not the biggest car
inside, but for a single commuter or a
small family it is fine. The AWD is
great when it is needed, but otherwise
sucks up a bit of power. The car is a
perfect blend of utility and
performance, and is a great value.
AWD, flat four power, torque, and
sound, ease of maintenance
Stereo, cupholders (you could count
them on half a hand if you were a
Muppet), and paint.