We have a baby now so we needed something more versatile than our previous car ('02 BMW 325i) but just as sporty and fun to drive. The Subaru Outback delivers in every way. It's a great looking wagon inside and out, the build quality is solid and in 2.5 XT form, it's more powerful than our old BMW. I couldn't ask for more. The Outback is smooth and powerful and feels like a much more expensive car. It's very quiet and low-revving, I barely go over 4,000 RPM. There's plenty of room in the rear for a baby-stroller, groceries, luggage, golf clubs, etc. In our old sedan that was a major issue. The 5 speed manual is responsive and crisp. The 2.5 XT Limited is the best Outback available, period.
Very powerful yet retains above-average gas mileage. Very roomy and functional in the cargo department. Moonroof is huge, open the interior slide, it's like you're in a convertible. Aux input for an iPod in the center console, Harman Kardon audio. 5 Speed. Crash test scores. Reliable. Subaru AWD.
More storage space inside the cabin. Takes premium fuel (ouch) but still worth the trade-off IMO. The steering wheel audio controls (up-down) do not cycle through presets, they only go up and down the tuner. Donut spare tire. Child seat should mount center rear. No nav unless you get auto trans.