Just bought this 04' Outback Limited as a leftover in 3/05. Got a super deal on it - apparently no one drives 5-speeds anymore. Subaru's are a super reliable and practical. I needed a car that was excellent in the snow but yet great on gas and roomy. I originally had a 2002 Nissan Sentra which was a great car but it was so light that it was all over the place in inclimate weather. I didn't feel like buying a 2nd car, like a little Nissan pickup. I've been a loyal Nissan customer since 1995, but the Subaru's make more sense to me. If you are considering one car that can really do it all check out any of the Subaru wagons, just not the Outbacks. The Standard Legacy wagons are probobly the best value.
Smooth transmission. Great handling, although I'm not a great fan of Bridgestone Potenza's!
Off the line Outbacks are not the quickest cars, however the are heavy. It could can use a few more horsepower. Just a minor improvement.