High ground clearance, but not a tall car. All-wheel drive has help me out so much these 8 years. With great traction for going or stopping, I can not praise it enough. Though, with all-wheel drive, the gas mileage suffers.
We bought this car used in 2010 with 17,000 miles on it. It was a great car until it hit about 70,000 when it started having regular repair issues that really shouldn't happen. I fully expect to do maintenance on any vehicle for parts that wear out, but these problems are something different entirely. First it was the head gasket problem that most of these have, that came to just under $2,000 for repair (known issue that should have been covered by Subaru). Over the last three years I had problems with the ground wire in the radio that I had "fixed" three different times until it went out entirely and I had to have the radio head unit replaced for $500. The wires in the rear lift gate began breaking about a year ago causing my tail lights to go out. This is apparently a common issue as well and is very dangerous (no tail lights at night) and should have been recalled. That was $400 to replace. My catalytic converter is going out now and apparently it has been recalled in some states, but not in mine so it's going to cost me another $1,000. I also have problems in the passenger airbag light/switch that the dealership is telling me will be another $350 to fix. A little research on the internet tells me that it is bad soldering on a circuit board (another common enough problem that it can be found on youtube).
Like I said, I gladly pay for regular maintenance and parts on a vehicle but these things are not "normal" problems and seem to be regular occurrences on Subarus. Tack on to this substantially decreased winter mileage (I expect some, but not 15%-18%), and I can't see myself purchasing another Subaru. Sure, you can probably pass them on to your children when you upgrade to a new one (just like the commercials show), but you're going to spend a lot of money to keep it that long and you'll be saddling them with something that appears to require regular, expensive repairs.
I had the 2008 2.5i. This vehicle has a lot of good - the engine seems to have more power, the continuous shifting makes for a smoother ride and better acceleration. On the "just ok" is the control screen. It's big, it catches dust and glares, the weather is useless for me because I don't live in a select city. Why would I use the navigation when I have my phone with all the addresses and a voice that talked me through the directions? The two data points that I do hunt for (literally) are the time and outside temperature. These are small and tucked at the bottom of the screen.
I started with the good, to be fair.. However, there are two things I hate (hate) about the car. Unfortunately, they are in your face, all the time. #1: wind noise, wind, wind, wind. It sounds as though the window isn't closed so you are constantly trying to close the windows. #2: the rear gate is sllllooooowwwwwwww to open and close. I am constantly standing by the gate , waiting for it to open or close. I hate that too. Really hate it.
After getting tired of my '99 Legacy Outback and it's constant overheating, (to be fair it has 256k miles on it) I decided I wanted a new car. I researched a lot in the 10-15k range. I chose the Outback again for the awd/mpg/style/room/reliability. It has everything you need. It is more comfortable than my '99 even though it's a base model. (Even comes with seat heaters!) I was able to get this car with 41,000 miles on it back in November. So far I've put 11,000 on it and it still runs excellent!
I've taken it on dirt, up steep roads and gravel and it does it all. Last time I recorded just highway miles I got 28mpg! However, I usually average 24.
Obviously it's the seat warmers.... Hah!
I really like that the rear seats fold down flat.
The ground clearance is really nice too!
Don't know what the newer models are like, but the interior dash area, like the radio buttons and such seem really cheap.