The Legacy GT was really for my wife or the family car. So something safe to get from point A to B. All weather capability should not be too much concern. She wanted an A4 1.8TQ but with sunroof, quattro, sport suspension, tiptronic, CD player, it came to about $28K...probably more. Then we limited ourselves to just above $20K. We looked at:
1) Maxima SE - too large. Didn't feel and ride sporty. V6 engine is great but doesn't seem the gear ratio was nicely matched for the auto tranny. And my wife didn't like the looks.
2) 2000 2.5RS - She liked the handling and the feel. Kind of small rear room, she didn't want the large fog lights and the non functional hood scoop. Ok..forget it.
3) 2001 Protege ES - Hmm.. not bad for the price. They were offering $2000 cash back or 0% financing. Handles pretty well too. Great gas mileage but then in the long run...kinda small.
4) 2002 New VW Passat 1.8T. Lots of air bags. Smooth 1.8L turbo. A little on the luxury side. Where she works, it's better to have a more practical car. Doesn't corner as well according to her.
So we went back to drive the Legacy GT again and it just gave her that grin when she stood on the gas pedal. Mid-size family car, independent suspension with AWD. Nice enough to drive daily and nice enough to perform on the weekend auto-x.