I recently purchased a 2012 Subaru Impreza Premium with a 5 speed manual.
This is the second Subaru I have owned.
I had a 2002 WRX for 10+ years and I was sold on Subaru vehicles ever since.
The build quality (100% Japan), reliability, handling and overall performance make these vehicles a "no brainer" in my mind.
I did a ton of research prior to selecting my new Impreza.
I read numerous reviews both positive and negative.
I take what I read on the internet with a "grain of salt."
It took some time to locate and test drive an Impreza with a manual transmission.
I was sold from the moment I placed the vehicle in 1st gear and hit the accelerator!
Simple, non-complex, utilitarian interior.
Fun to drive factor - responsive and live handling.
The Impreza keeps you connected to the road.
Too many new cars today are so underwhelming to the driving experience.
Fuel economy (29.1 MPG) in stop and go type travel (I cannot wait to see what this baby does on the highway).
I'll bet that the 5 speed manual beats the fuel economy of the CVT provided you leverage short shifting ability and drive economically.
The stock sound system is amazing when connected to an iPOD.
I read reviews knocking the stereo system.
Those reviewers must not have plugged in an iPOD - they missed out.
Offer option packages separately rather than having to purchase in combination.
Agreed, the manual tranny is nice, and fun to boot. I went with the CVT, but might have opted for the manual if I could have found it with the other goodies I wanted. The interior is comfortable and relaxing, can't ask for more than that. And it's fun to drive, as you say!