OK, So I wanted ONE car to replace my three: MR2, Miata, & F250 4x4... Was looking at many options in the Small SUV market including the Forester [like driving in a fish bowl and under powered w/o Turbo] and with a very limited budget [darned economy] I was very lucky to find mine [priced low because it had 169k miles on the clock] 1. The power is 'very adequate' even surprising at times. The trade-off is a few MPG and having to buy Premium fuel, but annually for me this only amounts to $150, and no Timing Belt worries or Head Gasket problems with the H6! 2. It handles better than an SUV, but no MR2. 3. I've moved a ton of bricks [with trailer] about as much as the F250 could w/ trailer.
Great Power, when needed, reasonable fuel economy with careful driving. Surprising hauling, towing capacity with great brakes and decent handling. LL Bean offers plenty of amenities and overall for me a great compromise between sports car and heavy hauler.
Passenger Side Sun Visor dislodges inside rear view mirror. Stupid cup holders I understand improved in newer models. Heated seat switches too easily, accidentally turned "On" A manual 5 or 6 speed transmission would be nice.
I am looking at a 2002 Subaru Outback Limited with 160,000 and a 5spd manual trans. It is listed for $5500. I am curious to how many miles you now have and your experience with your car. I am concerned about the 4cylinder engine....