The Seventh Sister
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Sonoma County, CA
Car Year: 2004
Car Model: Forester XT Premium
Welcome! AWD will benefit you not only in wet weather, but also on perfectly dry roads, so regardless of location the Forester will be a good choice that you won't regret!
As far as repair costs are concerned, I think labor rates are similar throughout the industry, regardless of marque. Parts however can be slightly more costly for the Subies. This is because Subaru is still a niche manufacturer and their market is much smaller than the market for Honda, Toyota, or any domestic brand.
On the other hand, Subarus have an excellent reputation for reliability (this is what brought me to Subarus in the first place), so you will find that you won't have to spend NEARLY as much money on repairs, even if you keep your Subie for many years. Given that you keep on top of routine maintenance, of course!
Also, a lot of the maintenance items are easy enough to DIY, for example oil changes. You can save quite a bit of money that way and it won't have any effect your warranty.
One thing to be aware of with AWD cars, however, is the tire issue. If you happen to get a blow-out, you can't just replace one tire and call it a day, or the AWD system will suffer damage. It's a must to replace the full set, unless you can get the tire repaired.