I purchased this car used in September '09 with approximately 41,000 miles. Since then I've driven 10,000 miles in different conditions, including ice and mud, and I've found this to be a solid and reliable vehicle. It has the four cylinder engine. I get 23 to 24 mpg with 50% highway and 50% in town. I admit that I'm not an aggressive driver. Most others would probably get a lower gas mileage reading. The suspension is very much like an SUV when traveling off-road or over rough pavement. The all wheel drive gives a secure feeling when the roads are slick. I can see why Subarus are popular in northern states.
I like the simplistic design of dashboard (stereo, air conditioning, etc.), the long travel suspension, all wheel drive and the ability to fold the rear seats into a deck that is completely flat.
Much of the improvements that I can think of have been made to the later models. For instance, I wish I could lay one side of the rear seat flat. I cannot due to the lower seat cushion being a solid piece.