Anyhoo, here's what I found:
My first stop was the Subaru dealer (this and all others along Stevens Creek Blvd). I drove a 2004 Impreza Outback WRX wagon, which was okay but not really that great. In the plus column: all-wheel drive, good front visibility, and, um, well, I liked the coler. In the minus column: not as much storage in the back as I thought there would be (it's really about the same as a sedan's trunk), poor visibility on the driver's side rear (support columns and headrest blocked my view), no support behind my knees in the driver's seat, and a loud interior (76dBs on the freeway). The sales guy was a dud, too, but dud in a good way: he didn't say much, didn't try to sell the car. *shrug* Overall, I was disappointed, because I really wanted to like the car -- Subarus came highly praised to me and I thought they looked sort of nice. But, for now, they're off my list.
Stop #2 was at a VW dealer. Handy that every car maker has a dealership somewhere along Steven's Creek Blvd. 8) I wanted to try out a Passat 1.8T and "Mark" was only too happy to oblige. The Passat's a nice car! Good handling, good visibility, very quiet inside (52dB idling, ~65dB city, 72dB freeway). The trunk was surprisingly large, and the seats fold down separately (left and right+center) to add even more room. The 1.8T is a 4-cylinder turbo, and has good acceleration once the turbo kicks in, but off the line or even at an even cruise the car hesitated a second or so to really start moving. On the whole, though, I liked the Passat, and the GLS is a nice trim level (leather, sunroof, but I could do without the wood accents). The one downside was that, like the Outback, I couldn't manage to adjust the seat to give support behind my knees. [That is: when sitting in the driver's seat, I'd like the seat to support my leg all the way to the back of my knee. Less, and it's fatiguing after several hours of straight driving.]
A promise to call "Mark" should I end up buying a Passat, and I was off te stop #3: Steven's Creek Honda. "Slava" showed me to a blue Accord EX sedan (4-door) with leather. Nice color, and nice car. I also briefly looked at the coupe, but there was not quite enough headroom for me to be happy. Well, I would have been happy, but no one taller than me would have been. Plus, I didn't care for the styling on the trunk. ... So, anyway, back to the 4-door. I liked this car the most of the three, although it's still close between the Passat and the Accord. The plus sides of the Accord: responsive and easy steering, good acceleration off the line and at freeway speeds, good visibility all around, lots of room in the back seat. Quiet, too, but not quite as quiet and the Passat: 58dB idle, 69dB city, 71-73dB freeway. Oh, the other nice thing: the front seats have motorized controls in, like, 8 different directions, and can be adjusted to have just the support I was looking for. So, this was a big plus. I also liked the dash layout better in the Accord than in the Passat: the Accord has the most important dial in the middle: the speedometer. 8)
So, anyway, I'm still undecided, and didn't buy anything, but I'm dropping the Outback from my list. All that's left is the Accord and the Passat, and I'm leaning toward the Accord (USENET discussions tell me that, if I can't tell or appreciate the difference, than I'd be happier with the Accord). Time to continue my mulling.