Shopped around a lot, but was won over by the Outback's push-button park brake (wife has physical issues with pull-ups), its interior refinement, its reputation for reliability, its snow-handling prowess (BIG plus). Dealer couldn't have been happier to give a great trade in value and shave 2,500 off MSRP. It has SUV abilities, but drives like a car, and does not jiggle like a tall SUV. We are an empty nest couple in our 60s, who live on a farm in PA, and we need the perfect blend of on-road manners with the guts to get up and down a challenging driveway. It is a relief to find such a vehicle after fighting the SUV wars for decades. Should've done this years ago.
Interior: perforated, heated leather seats; nice Harmon-Kardon sound; phone set up ease; push button parking brake! Wow! Exterior:puddle lamps are SOOOO cool; the 4 cylinder engine rocks: I got 32.7 MPG on a trip to Pittsburgh, and it then averaged out to 30 MPG after city driving (I have a light foot); HID headlights; I LOVE taking corners after years of worrying about them in an SUV; gas pedal has IMMEDIATE reaction, i. e., it's peppy! CVT coasts nicely after de-celerating, which does not happen in other CVTs.
Upper trim leather seats are WAY better than cloth seats at lower trim level: beware. 4cyl CVT is "audible," but it quiets down when warm and after cruising; it is actually cool to hear the engine, but if you're used to ultra quiet rides, be certain you are ready to change to this. It did not bother me, and I was spoiled.