I have put 125,000 miles on this vehicle with very few problems. Like any machine it must be maintained properly. With the proper maintenance I have found this Subie to be bulletproof.
This car will haul anything I can stuff into it, pull way more weight than recommended with a trailer, and laugh at the snowy roads we get here in the midwest. There are many storage compartments and with the back seats down quite a bit of room.
It handles well, the steering feel is excellent, but it is a little slow off the line. Once it gets up to 20 mph acceleration is decent. The clutch shudders on occasion, but that might be my fault.
As stated earlier, the cup holders are practically worthless and the clock gave out. I have never had a clock fail before.
The car is not perfect, but what it does, it does well.
So, if you are looking for an all-weather vehicle that sports above average handling, gets 28 mpg highway and won't leave you in the lurch I would heartily recommend a Forester.
I would say the Subie's main competition is a RAV 4 and a CR-V. These are fine vehicles, but do not offer the same performance. They are not full-time AWD and you must break traction with the front wheels before power is sent to the rear. The Forester has a 50/50 power split normally and the power can be sent either way depending on wheel spin. I find this to be a superior system, though you pay for it in fuel efficiency and acceleration.