She has decided to retire her '97 Jeep Cherokee, which she bought new, at 260000 miles. It has not failed her in any significant way, she just decided to cap any future repairs. We test drove a 6-manual base model last night, the only one available to take out, accompanied by a pleasant mid-20's salesman whose family has owned 12 Subarus. What Subaru did he drive? You guessed it, WRX. He knew a great deal about the Forrester, and of course started his "pitch" with the enviable AWD system, and how Subaru builds the car from that system on up, and not the other way around (Honda, Toyota etc.) I found the 6-speed a touch notchy and rubbery in feel, but it was a revelation to her, coming from the long throw stiff clutch Cherokee. Beggars can't be choosers when it comes to manual transmissions in mainstream cars, though, especially SUV's. I'll take one while I can. It drove like a car. The ride was supple and controlled, the steering accurate but lacking in road feel. Acceleration was modest, likewise nvh. Fit and finish was very good. The Forrester is still made in Japan. Quite amazing the safety features and amenities that come standard these days, even on a base model. 7-airbags, stability control, hill assist, power windows and doorlocks, security. The Jeep had none of that, and drove like a bucket 'o bolts. We are interested in the next model up, the Premium, which comes with an all weather package (heated seats and outdoor mirrors, frost free wipers?) as well as a large panoramic sunroof and reclineable rear seats (a few inches). Quick question because I'll be calling the salesman back today, what is the consensus on doc fees? This dealer is charging $359 for those and another $75 for, "other"? They are discounting $947 off the $25,445.00 retail price, but I'd like to at least double that.