My family have been loyal Volvo owners for the last 12 years. Given Volvo's current lack of a value proposition we decided to expand our horizons before purchasing a car this year. My checkpoints for our decision were a. needed to be real AWD; b. must accommodate 2 6 ft+ boys comfortably in the back seats; and c. it need to fit our budget. Point A eliminated a bunch of vehicles very quickly. Point B narrowed the list down even further. After looking at Mercedes, Audi, Volvo, VW, Toyota and Nissan's offerings we went off to look at Subaru's offerings on a friends recommendation. We took a 60 minute test drive of the car and came back thrilled with the drive, the space and the value.
The car drive's superbly and has great road feel. Torque is excellent and acceleration is crisp and responsive. The finish is good, but a bit too plasticky. The real kicker is that it cost $15,000 less any "comparable" SUV on the market. The car is as safe as any other SUV out there.
First thing you need to get over is that the car sounds like a sewing machine when standing outside. After that, all is good. The interior is a B-, C at best. There is just too much plastic. If you don't get the nav system, the screen is basically useless and the bluetooth system is poor.