There are some notable differences, though, between the two: The newer Forester I had driven around Upper Cryogenica sits higher, more like an SUV, while the old '99 model is a lot closer to its "tall wagon" Outback roots. The low seat height and high roofline make for an almost bizarre amount of headroom, as C&D noted:
The Forester fits in this group like a silk slipper at a clogging match. Yes, it has the foul-weather agility of a full-time all-wheel-driver and the roofline towers over most cars'. But you sit down low, eyeball to eyeball with all the other auto pilots, with lots of air overhead, perfect for the chef who wants to dress and then drive to work. What we have here is a Subaru sedan with a backward choptop: Height was added.Of course, compared to the Zed Drei which has been my sole ride for the last decade, even the older Subie feels tall and wobbly, but so does my neighbor's Accord coupe.
The lower seating position and manual transmission make for an altogether more car-like driving experience than the newer Foresters, although all that car in the rearview is going to take some getting used to, considering I'm used to being able to just about reach back and pop the trunk latch by hand if the top's down.
Even on the sleazy department-store tires it's currently wearing, this thing is amazingly dogged on the skating rinks we have by way of side streets here in Broad Ripple right now. I'll bet on a good set of winter tires you could put it in first and putter up a frozen waterfall.
I'll be taking it for a highway shakedown cruise some time today, doing a lap around I-465, seeing how it does at freeway speeds for an hour or so straight. I think this is a prudent thing to do before taking a high-mileage vehicle on any roadtrips....