Love my older Forester
I bought my 06 Forester over 2 years ago, trading in a newer Rav 4 for it. The older Foresters are smaller, closer to the ground, and handle better than the taller bulkier newer models. I got a standard transmission (which I had wanted to get back to), and found a Forester 'winter package' (heated seats and mirror defroster). The Forester out-performs the Rav at every point: pick up, control, handling in weather, braking, etc. It is much 'sportier' in the way it handles. The interior is very roomy. I am a musician and use the car to cart my equipment (including a double bass, amplifiers, stands etc.), which it handles with ease.