Questions for Subaru owners?

I have never owned a subaru, but I am seriously considering the purchase of one. Im looking at the legacy and outback mostly, but I am willing to consider any model. I will probably want to buy a used one, maybe something about 3 or 4 years old with less than 50,000 miles. I have some friends who own subaru's,... show more I have never owned a subaru, but I am seriously considering the purchase of one. Im looking at the legacy and outback mostly, but I am willing to consider any model. I will probably want to buy a used one, maybe something about 3 or 4 years old with less than 50,000 miles. I have some friends who own subaru's, and they all speak very highly of them. They say that they are very reliable, and that they perform very well driving on snow covered roads. I plan for this vehicle to be used mostly by my wife to travel back and forth to work. We live in an area that has many rural roads, many mountains, and at times, we do have quite a bit of snow.

What should I know before going shopping for one?
What advice would you give a friend who asked you this question?
She has had a vehicle with a manual transmission for a long time, and she is getting tired of shifting gears, so is the subaru automatic trans pretty durable, or should we "stick with the stick"?
Are the fuel mileage estimates given by the dealer fairly accurate or have you discovered a difference?
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