Bought our '09 last year for our family we have now just started. We brought our son home in February. At 18 months he's still too small for forward facing. His rear-facing seat is on the passenger side so I can reach him if needed. Yes the passenger front seat is moved forward a very little bit - and his is a full size seat - but even at 6'-4" I can still sit in that seat without issue.
The -'09 models ARE smaller. They do NOT have the cargo room. That is true.
HOWEVER, I went to great lengths to find a 09 in good condition (certified) because the pre-10 models are driver's cars far more than the '10+ models. Whenever I get a loaner on mine I get a new Outback. Very comfortable. Reminds me of my wife's Volvo wagon.
If you are purely looking for function/volume/family hauling, the newer models are a good choice. If you enjoy driving, the pre-10 models allow manual transmissions and have a feeling of sportiness the new models do not. Aside from the volume/cargo space (which is very nice and notably larger) I see no benefits to the newer models.
But, I've been kicking the idea around of selling my beloved '09 XT to turn my hobby into a small business. My replacement would likely be a Jeep TJ (smaller, prior model) and have no doubt it'd work for our family. I loathe packing heavily, bringing everything but the kitchen sink, and enjoy traveling lightly. If that's not you, you may not feel as comfortable with the smaller '09's size.