My wife has a Forester and I've had other Subarus in the past. My son still drives my old 94 Legacy. My new 09 Outback is the best car I've ever owned. I waited until Subaru's spring event with $2K rebate + 2.9% to buy. The Outback seems quieter and more powerful than my wife's 07 Forester, although both have the same 2.5 engine. The handling is very secure, and it's fun to drive with its tight steering. This car inspires confidence on the road. Varying my speed during the break-in period, I have managed to get 28.3 calculated mpg on my first two tanks. It will probably be better when I am not varying speed & I think that is very good fuel economy for an AWD vehicle.
The comfortable heated seats. The Outback has a nice combination of high ground clearance and low roof loading height - for ease of loading kayak. Other cars with high ground clearance are too tall. Controls are intuitive. Heated mirrors. Excellent headlights.
I would have preferred better tires than the Bridgestone Potenza 92A, but that will be easily solved at tire replacement time. It would be nice if a receiver hitch was either standard or factory option, since dealers want 550-575 to install as an accessory.