This is all great feedback so far, much appreciated!
Interesting note on the '14 Forester, I will look that one up.
Mr. Mad is just about to post some details on our test drive today. Off the cuff, it's really seems like a lot of car for the price. Definitely would be a lateral move from my CR-V... power and ride seem very similar. Of course there's a bit less cargo room, but that's not a deal breaker.
Despite the sexy black wheels, the heated seats and the comfy ride, I am leaning away from it because I found it too noisy at 70. I spend 2 hours a day commuting for work and find my current car to be noisy. I would really like upgrade in that area so I am back to the drawing board for now.
I should note that the XV has kick-butt braking and feels very nice to drive on narrow twisties. Relatively quiet at those speeds as well.
So, its a great little car, just a shame it's not more quiet on the highway, where I really crave it :(