I love this ride! You are pretty much getting a higher end sports car for under $30k. Takes corners very well, even with a case full of stuff on the racks, but still smooth over rougher roads. With the turbo and sport shift you can get around the slow driver on the two lane roads very quickly. Interior is tasteful, nothing gaudy inside. Lower profile and sleeker look than the Outback but still have the AWD. The ability to make some "simple" mods to maximize that boxer engine.
My wife had a Subaru WRX but when we had a child, she needed something bigger. The WRX was fun to drive, safe, and reliable so naturally looked at another Subaru. We knew we wanted a wagon with a manual gearbox. We also wanted better fuel economy, lower insurance rates, and something that does not take premium fuel. The Legacy 2.5i wagon manual proved perfect. My wife misses the WRX but once the Legacy had about 2000 miles on it, the engine loosened up nicely and works well with the manual gearbox. Yes, a little more power would be nice but 25 mpg around town and 30+ mpg on the highway is fantastic.
4 years and 75,400 miles and it's still a blast to drive. Very reliable except wheel bearing issues on both the front and rear passenger side wheels. Extended warranty actually paid off. (Had a costly transmission fiasco with prior Volvo all wheel Cross Country) Broke even this time. Combines practicality and style, costs less than an Honda Accord, handles better than VW Passat and offers the all wheel drive of an Audi A4 wagon which costs $15,000 more. I bought a Harley Davidson Nightrod with the savings. The long wagon roof line and additional interior space provides versatility for carrying gear for family vacations and outdoor adventures. Decent MPG range of 23 town & 30 on highway.
We're a couple with one toddler. We replaced our '97 Volvo 850 Wagon 131K with the Subaru wagon. Our criteria are: (long term over 100K miles) reliability, safety, affordability, fuel efficiency, economics, and aesthetics. We examined the Passat, Mazda 6, Volvo V50, Toyota Matrix, and Subaru Forester. The Passat failed on reliability not to mention costly maintenance in the long term. Mazda 6 did not satisfy our needs for driving in New England snow and ice. Volvo V50 would send our hard earn money to the bank, and failed on crash safety. The Matrix felt like toy car for young adults. My wife did not like the Forester 'cause it's an SUV, but I like it. So our final choice was the Legacy.
This is a very high performance wagon with outstanding road holding characteristics. The turbocharged engine provides excellent power and is well matched with the 5-speed automatic transmission. The sport shift and manual features of the transmission are very useful on winding roads or grades because you can hold the gear you want without the automatic shifting mid-corner or when you lift your foot. The suspension has considerable travel and soaks up road irregularities quite well although I would prefer a little more roll resistance. The car is very quite with minimal wind noise and very little road noise despite the 17 inch wheels.