I own one, it's my Wife's car, but I drove it to work today. I kind of love it... it's surprisingly quick, pretty nimble for as big as it is, ride is phenomenal, seats are comfy, and it has plenty of room. I doubt I'll ever fill the 19 cup holders, but I did find them all. So far we absolutely love it.
As far as the end of the flat six, this makes me sad... I owned a 3.0R outback sedan, and I loved it, but having driven the ascent for a while, I'm excited to see what that engine can do in a smaller and lighter chassis. AS far as swapping it into a crosstrek, that would probably be WAY too much fun. The torque is all there at 2000 RPM, in a vehicle that small, it seems to me it would be a rocket.