What a nice choice to make
Either way, you can't lose.
I would make the choice depend on the interior options.
Is one of them a base wagon? Or a luxo model with leather and so on?
How many miles are on the car(s).
I would probably choose the H-4 05, it is the newer car, more safety-features (window-bags), better economics, better interior appearance...
Does the 04H6 get the 5speed sportshift or only 4 speed? It's a tough choice, do you want the extra power? I tend to think the 05 will have a higher value come trade in time simply because it will be an 05, but that could change too. You'll find performance is very good on the 05H4, not much below the H604, the character is probably more sporty with the H604 though.
Both are the base models, but very well equipped. The 6 cyl is the 4 spd automatic and the 05 has the sportshift auto. Amenity wise they are quite similar with a few more luxuries on the '05, just the normal stuff that is new to the '05s. Both are right about the same price. Only about a $100 difference as the '04 6 cyl. is priced at about $2500 under invoice! Both are "new" with the normal amount of new car mileage. The '05 seems to be the better choice from a looks, value, sportiness, luxury point of view. My wife likes the way that one looks!
I've thought about this many times actually but have never brought it to the board of course. Although because I have no desire for either of these cars (to buy or to want) I'm going to base my conclusion on the context of if I was going to be given one of these cars, which one would I take rather than which would I buy. Because I would buy neither, Blue Ridge perhaps you should think about it in the way I do seeing as both are similiarly priced. So which one would you take if you had your choice of one for free?
Although I love my car and the True Might it has displayed on many different occasions, honestly I would take a 2005 2.5i over it. Other than what has already been mentioned (unless I missed something) you have to consider that the ground clearance has been raised half an inch. Everything is just so much better on the 2005's, honestly you could give me the choice of a fully loaded 2004 VDC and a base 2005 2.5i and I'd still take the 2005. Call me crazy but even though the 2004's & all 2nd Gen OB's are great cars they are dinosaur designs compared to the 2005's.
...If you have, then I can't imagine why there is any comparison. The '04 DO have sweet deals on them right now, but that's to move inventory. They are indeed fabulous vehicles, but the changes and added amenties in the new models would make a really strong case for the '05s. It boils down to what you need and desire (oh, wait, that was their previous web site
My .02: It was only after seeing/driving the 05 OB XT that I even considered a Subie--the '04 and predecessors seem too much like merely gussied-up legacy wagons, without the substance of a purpose-built quasi-SUV (sorry '04 and earlier owners--but I'm coming from a Jeep-heavy history here---and I actually USED it as a Jeep.).
The '05 seems like a much more cohesive package--and as a prior poster said, have you seen the reviews? The reviewers LOVE this car now. I think it a no-brainer--'05 is the way to go. Last thought--if there is ANY way you can pony up for the turbo, DO IT. It is wayyyy too much fun--and with a, what, 80hp boost over the base, you will not regret it. Good luck-John
Boots - let no one say that you don't have an opinion! And I agree with it totally - 2.5i LTD is the ONLY Suby.......The SPORT shift AT is incredible - offers everything a stick does except the lag time off the line, slipping the clutch on an uphill start, sitting at a traffic light with your foot on the clutch and your eye on the light. AND there's no fuel penality for the AT. The 2.5i w/AT is a hands up winner !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!