When Subaru offered me a 'deal' to get rid of MY02 Forester lemon, it was June of 04. The 05's were already on the dealers lot.
Offer was for an 04XS Premium and MY02, 9K.
For an 05XS Premium an MY02, 17K
To me at the time, the differences I saw were not worth the extra 8K:
Power driver seat (don't like it anyway, but others do)
Air Filtration Std (under $30 for that)
Drive by wire (from my wife's Highlander and being a grease monkey since the 60's, I wasn't to impressed with that either)
"NEW" 4EAT....Don't like Automatics or would consider one in this car unless due to physical needs I had to get one. So this didn't play into my decision.
Larger Auto-Climate controls, but unit acts the same, so large knobs didn't address any shortcomings.
Immobilizer available on the XT and LL Bean, but these were not my choices so this was a moot point.
Also they had the 04 available in Java Black (same color as MY90 Legacy LS was...I liked that car & color). 05 had Obsidian Black, not knocking it, but my preference was for the gold flake in the dark paint instead of the blue).
Needless to say from my signature, I went with the 04XS. Consistantly getting over 26 MPG in winter, over 30 in the summer...doing 26K a year. This Forester ranks 2nd or tied for 1st (with the 90 Legacy LS AWD wagon) in my favorite and most reliable Subaru.
98S, 2014 Impreza 5 dr Ltd (9 Subaru's since 1978, 7 were 5 sp) ILuvSubaru's