Richard, the dashboard has a finite amount of space. Location of the hazard button is low priority, so it gets put low and "out of the way". It's a somewhat understandable (if frustrating) design choice.
I have a bigger problem with changing the "standard" location of common controls. The PT Cruiser design team made a conscious choice to simplify wiring. Commendable. Removing wiring harnesses from a door is always a good choice, except when controls that have ALWAYS been on the door get moved. The PT Cruiser has its window controls mounted right in the middle of the dashboard.
Granted, it's a central location for both front seat occupants. However, this is not a good design choice for a car that is frequently used in rental car fleets. Every first-time renter who is not a PT Cruiser owner fumbles around for a minute looking for the window buttons.
Yes, it does take time to adapt. The emergency flasher will probably always be an issue with my large hands. I do remember the first time it rained while driving the Subaru. I almost had to pull over to search for the windshield wiper control. The Ford Escort was on the left hand steering column lever and the Subaru had it on the right side and it operated differently. I have adapted. I haven't hit the seat warmer in awhile either. But that emergency button...
Richard, you have discovered one of the conumdrums of modern automobile design. We just replaced a ten year old minivan. The transmission went and we decided that the cost of fixing that coupled with the mileage on the van made a replacement the prudent thing to do. This was for my wife. So, while we didn't have quite the leap you did, there is quite a difference. We also had two cars from the same manufacturer from the same year. The controls were not exactly the same, but they were similar. Now they are very different. We have not run into quite the issues you have, but it does take some adjustment. There always seems to be something in a place you don't expect, or want it. You would think that with all the ergonomics research that has been done that you new Subaru would be better laid out.
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