I looked at a lot of cars before buying this. I got a great deal at $17,750. $1000 instant rebate for end of year, and another $250 below dealer invoice - negotiated for one of the last '06s. Plenty of power, handles great, AWD is great in snow and on bumpy roads. I always look forward to driving it. Unless you do serious 4 wheeling or tow a boat, an SUV is not only a waste of gas, but MUCH, MUCH less fun to drive. I'm so glad to have a car that will do anything I need it to, plus it's a blast to drive. If you don't need AWD the Mazda 5 and Matrix are comparable, but for AWD nothing compare to a Subie at the price point. It drives like a $40,000 Audi or BMW, but is MORE reliable.
AWD. Fun to drive. Quality/reliability. Styling. Balance of mpg and power. Balance of handling and ride. I replaced the stock radio with a Panasonic with iPod input and upgraded speakers for under $300.
Needs a light in the hatch and map lights. The passenger space is limited. I'm 5'11" and like a lot of room. I have it, but then there's not enough room for an adult to sit behind me. If you move the front seats a few notches forward and don't recline a lot an adult can fit in the backseat.