We were fortunate enough to have some of the worst weather of the winter hit after we bought the car, and without it I don't think I would have as complete an opinion as I do now. Basically, this car will get you anywhere you want to go. It is built for adversity. It loves adversity! The big fog lamps, the rear window wiper with fluid, big windshield, ABS, and of course the all wheel drive have pushed through all the muck we have gotten this spring without question or complaint. It already saved me from one accident the day we bought it, and that was on slick wet roads. On the Volvo and other rear wheel drive cars, if you turn on a icy road the rear end keeps going in what is called over-steer (top). This can be quite fun in my experience, if you can control it. The Saturn and other front wheel drive cars lose traction on the steering wheels and so can't complete the turn in what is called under-steer (below). This is never fun. My time on ice in the Subaru was that green line on both examples. Just round the curve. The all-wheel drive always has power down on the road somewhere so you always have control of the car. The flat four engine produces a nice range of power on demand and gets you where you want to be when you want to be there. It doesn't have the WRX's turbo boost that throws you back in your seat however. Oh well, I don't need premium gas either.
That all said, it is not a luxury car. The cup holders are poorly thought out. One pops out directly above the center console and the other is quite small in the center arm rest. Stuff sometimes rattles inside and everything is plastic. The shocks are stiff and tall so you can feel every ta-tak ta-tak ta-tak of the road. The sound system was upgraded which is great, but they did not opt for keyless entry or alarm so to open all the doors you have to do it from inside the driver or passenger door. The layout for some of the controls is confusing. Why they made the cruse control and fog lights buttons in a place where you can not see them, right next to each other, and the same shape I will never know (see arrow).
But, none of that matters because the car is just so incredibly solid you really don't care about cosmetics. Everything is about the driving. Those hard shocks might get annoying but they keep you firmly on the road at all times and tell you exactly what is going on under the car. The throaty engine roars to life when asked, and settles down quietly for cruising. The visibility is fantastic thanks to the flat engine that allows for a very low hood making you feel like you are right on top of the road. The back end can haul tons of stuff, and the seats fold down to give you even more room. In short, it is exactly the car I wanted! Look for us in it for a long time to come.