I bought this as a "micro SUV" -- the 2006 RAV4 had only an automatic and was $4000 more. Handling is great; the Impreza moves confidently through snow and heavy rains on hilly roads. With a roof rack, transport capacity is terrific. With some planning, and multiple trips, I can move most the loads that a pickup can take. I tow a 1500 pound camper (towing capacity is 2400 lbs -- largest in this group). The one drawback is lower MPG. I am getting mid 20s. My previous car was a 96 Saturn sedan, which was getting in the mid 30s, but did not have the power, or handling in snow.