All I needed was practical transportation. Something to get me from point a to point b safely and economcally. I tried the Scion xB, Mazda 3, Rabbit S 4 dr, and the Saturn Astra. I don't think you could go wrong with any of them. But, when you factored in what you can buy them for they were dealing on the Subaru plus you get AWD which was a huge selling point. The VW is supposed to be the gold standard at this price point, but the Subie was IMHO less plasticky. I needed the versatility of a hatchback, hence the 5 door. I must admit though the xB looked huge on the inside. But I got more car for the money.
AWD, handling, styling, nice dash layout/materials. Not everyone is driving one.
Heated seats, moonroof. A little higher quality seat material. Lower price on some accessories; like remote start, or ipod interface. The bulk of the cost is installation I'm sure. But Subaru provides installation instructions for all their accessories.