when you say lift, what exactly are you talking about? A body lift or just increasing the ground clearance a bit? You can bump up the ground clearance with some taller tires pretty easily, or a set of taller springs.
I really like the Outback platform but I own one so I'm a bit biased. Good friend owns a Forester and he really likes it, it's a toss up.
There are more things you can do to an Outback in regards to "farkling" it, tires, springs, racks, performance upgrades, etc. but that's mainly because they've been around longer than the Forester.
Are there any Subaru mechanics or shops in Prescott?
There are some things about working on them that make it nice to have an experienced wrench around.
Personally, I like the slightly older versions of the Outback styling wise, the newest ones are kinda ugly to me, can't put my finger on it exactly but they are. I'd be looking for a 2005+ Outback if I were in the market for a replacement for my 96.
There's a pretty good online forum dedicated to the Outback, it's called subaruoutbackforum.org. Good resource and there's also some info on the other Subaru vehicles including the Forester on there as well.
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that means what everything is about...
William Stafford 1914-1993