I have taken this car through snow, ice, gravel, loose sand and over logs (um, accidentally) and very little stops it. The heated mirrors and seats are very nice on snowy days. It's stable on curves, and much more so since I put good all-weather tires (Goodyear Assurance Triple Treds) on it. Gas mileage is decent for a larger vehicle. So far I have been keeping it regularly maintained and have had no problems with it, although I have heard that the head gasket problem is a design flaw that was fixed in later models. On icy, snowy days I have driven up steep hills past dozens of stranded and abandoned vehicles and it never lost a beat.
AWD system is great. Goes just about anywhere. ABS system has saved my butt. Lots of cargo space for dogs, equipment, etc. Gets you where you need to go safely and in reasonable comfort. Fog lights are a big help.
More horsepower (added in 2005), better sound system, some of the interior features like the cup holders are a little chintzy. Better fuel economy.