After test driving just about every wagon made and a lot of SUVs and sedans, I came to the conclusion that the Outback XT is the best all-around wagon (and perhaps car) on the market. Turbo is peppy with only slight turbo lag; the 5 speed is a must-have for anyone who enjoys driving and reduces the turbo lag a lot. Interior fit and finish is great; nothing comes close unless you're willing to pay another $10K. I haven't needed the AWD yet, but trust Subaru's reputation and rally experience is worth something. Unfortunately, I had a freakish power- steering pump failure at 600 mile odometer reading (high-pitched squeal from the bearing). Dealer was great fixing it quickly under warranty.
5 speed Manual - other manufacturers seem to forget that some people like to DRIVE their cars. Sunroof is HUGE; perforated leather seats give it a high- end look. Great handling - corners much better than the high stance would suggest. Hold on to your seat when the turbo kicks in.
Gas mileage hasn't been great . . .but I have a lead foot and the car isn't broken in yet. An extra inch or two of backseat legroom would help. I'm going to assume the steering pump failure was a statistical anomaly! Simply a great car.
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