Difference Between Outback And Forester – Which One’s Right For You?

Difference Between Outback And Forester – Which One’s Right For You?

The Subaru Outback and the Subaru Forester have been serving drivers and families for many years. While there is a big difference between Outback and Forester, both of them often perform similar roles and purposes.

Often this involves taking families off-road with their gear and equipment to bring them closer to the outdoors.

That said, the Subaru Forester and the Outback does this in their own special way. Simply put, the Forester is built more like an SUV and the Outback has a more wagon design. Despite them having different designs, these two are also very similar in a lot of ways.

Many car buyers often compare different model cars. However, we understand those car buyers who are looking for a powerful car that can be great both on-road and off-road are also comparing the Subaru Forester and the Outback.

Let’s take a closer look at these two vehicles to find out their characteristics and hopefully help you make an informed choice on which is the one for you. For easier navigation throughout this post feel free to use our table of contents below.

Subaru Outback Vs Forester

Difference Between Outback And Forester – The Dimensions

From the onset, you will notice a significant difference between the outside of the two vehicles. The Subaru Outback is longer and wider than the Forester. That said, the Outback is much closer to the ground than the Subaru Forester.

Furthermore, the Subaru Outback is also heavier than the Forester.

Difference Between Outback And Forester – The Space

When it comes to internal space, it is the Forester that takes the win. Simply put, there is more room for passengers than in the Outback.

Furthermore, you get more frontal legroom in the Forester than you get with the Outback. That said both the Forester and the Outback have similar rear legroom.

As far as headroom and legroom, both the Subaru Forester and the Outback provide a decent amount of these.

The Forester also outperforms the Outback in terms of cargo space. This is both with the rear seats up and when the rear seats have been folded down.

Difference Between Outback And Forester – The Power

Outback vs Forester Power

Many buyers who are trying to choose between the Subaru Forester and the Subaru Outback, often don’t prioritize performance. But by finding out the acceleration of these two vehicles you can use the information to decide on which of the two is ideal for you.

Both the Outback and the Forester have a 2.5-liter flat-four engine. The Forester has a torque of 182hp and the Outback offers 176 pounds.

You don’t get a turbocharged engine with the Forester but you do get this with the Outback which delivers 244 hp. And 277-lb ft of torque.

The Forester limited can reach from 0-60 miles per hour in 8.3 seconds. The Outback can reach from 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds.

The turbocharged engine on the Outback will reach 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds.

Difference Between Outback And Forester – Fuel Efficiency

Thanks to the 2.5-liter engine, both the Subaru Forester and the Subaru Outback are more efficient. On the highway, they both average 29 miles per gallon.

The Subaru Outback with the turbocharged engine can average 26 miles per gallon.

Difference Between Outback And Forester – Comfort

When it comes to comfort levels and luxuriousness, the Outback outperforms the Subaru Forester. Thanks to its more recent redesign, the Outback features the optional 11.6-inch touch screen which is, in fact, larger than the 8-inch touch screen on the Subaru Forester.

You will also get front seats that are ventilated with the Outback. You don’t get this with the Subaru Forester.

Granted both the Subaru Forester and the Subaru Outback come with leather seats. That said, the Outback feels much more luxurious with its supple Nappa leather.

Difference Between Outback And Forester – Safety Features

When it comes to the safety features on the Subaru Forester and the Subaru Outback,  both score high marks on crash tests.

This is no surprise as Subaru cars are well known for their strong safety technologies. For instance, the Subaru Outback 2020 model was named Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The Forester 2019 model also earned the Top safety Pick+ Award.

Difference Between Outback And Forester – The Price

Gas Mileage Efficiency

The Subaru Forester is cheaper than the Subaru Outback. The Forester is priced at around $25,505 for the 2020 model. The Outback, on the other hand, can be up to $2000 more expensive for the base model.

When it comes to choosing between the Forester and the Outback, this decision will often come down to personal tastes, especially in the look of the vehicle.

Some people will prefer the SUV look while others prefer the look of the wagon offered by the Outback.

Other drivers looking for more power may opt for the turbocharged engine version of the Outback.

Subaru Outback Gas Mileage

Let’s take a look at the gas mileage of the 2023 Subaru Outback. Experts estimate that the standard Outback will offer 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway.

The turbocharged Outback will get a drop in efficiency and will offer 23 miles per gallon and 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

Subaru Outback Dimensions

Let’s take a look at the dimensions of the Subaru Outback 2022 model to get a good understanding of the vehicle.

The first thing that you will notice with the Outback’s interior is the sufficient space. The Outback has a passenger volume of 109 cubic feet.

The front headroom is at 40.1 inches while the rear headroom is at 3.1 inches.

Its front legroom is 42.8 inches while the rear legroom is 39.5 inches.

The front shoulder room of 58.1 inches and a rear shoulder room of 57.4 inches.

Subaru Outback Cargo Space

We will also take a look at the Subaru Outback cargo space of the 2022 model. This will often come in handy whenever you are taking a family road trip where you will also need to bring over some gear.

One thing that you will notice with the Subaru Outback is that it offers cargo space that is sufficient for your camping gear including tents sleeping bags and even coolers.

The Subaru Outback has a trunk volume of 32.5 cubic feet as well as a max cargo volume of 75.7 cubic feet. To put this into perspective you can easily fit a medium-sized dog crate. The bit that is not all.

You can fold the rear seats to create even more additional space of 75.7 cubic feet. And whenever you need even more room to carry your canoe, kayak, or your mountain bike, you can use the standard roof rails on the roof of your Outback.

Subaru Outback Ground Clearance

 Ground Clearance

If there is one thing that most car salesmen and car owners agree on it’s the importance of ground clearance. But how important is it?

First off, the ground clearance measures the height between the ground to the lowest part of your Subaru Outback. The larger the ground clearance, the safer the bottom of your vehicle is from scratches and damage from uneven terrain and bumps.

The Subaru Outback has impressive ground clearance means of off-road driving as well as supporting a heavy load.

The Subaru Outback has a ground clearance of 8.7 inches. Granted it is not as high as some trucks such as the Toyota Tacoma. However, for a wagon, this is quite impressive. This will allow you to access the remote parts that often have the most adventure.

8.7 inches has been the standard ground clearance for Subaru Outback models since 2010. Couple this with the Yokohama all-terrain tires and you are ready to explore the backcountry.

But all that said, one of the main features that make the Subaru Outback such an impressive vehicle is its ability to drive smoothly on flat and smooth roads as well.

Subaru Forester Cargo Space

The Subaru Forester has proven to be a great and reliable off-road driver for many outdoor enthusiasts. Part of the reason behind its performance is its large cargo space.

The Subaru Forester 2022 model has a max cargo volume of 28.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats. Behind the first row of seats, the Forester has 74.2 cubic feet of cargo volume.

This amount of cargo space allows you to pack goods for a weekend getaway including camping equipment and gear.

Secondly, thanks to the wideness of the trunk opening, you can load much longer loads. That said if there is stuff that just will not fit inside the Forester such as a kayak, skis, or bikes, you can easily fasten these on the standard roof rails. You also have extra loading options with the integrated tie-down points.

Subaru Forester Ground Clearance

Another feature that contributes to the offroad abilities of the Subaru Forester is its ground clearance.

The Subaru Forester gives you the option of the 4 trims and the Wilderness trim.

The 4 trims provide you with up to 8.7 inches of ground clearance. On the other hand, the Wilderness trim allows for up to 9.2 inches of ground clearance.

With the Wilderness trim, you can cover some of the rockiest terrains without having to worry about the bottom of the vehicle being damaged.

The rest of the trims which include the Forster, Premium, Sport, and Limited will offer 8.7 inches of ground clearance.

Subaru Forester Years To Avoid

Years To Avoid

The Subaru Forester was introduced in 1997. And granted while it was a hit among car lovers, as it sat neatly somewhere in between the Legacy and the Impreza, the Forester still came with a couple of issues.

The First-Generation Subaru Forester 1998-2001 (And How It Differs From The Outback)

Subaru Forester models that came before 2001 have one major issue: they came with a weak head gasket. Perhaps being the first generation it is to be expected that things could have been better.

This caused leaks at about 50,000 miles. Compared to other car models, this might not sound like a huge issue but it was such as common problem that you may just want to avoid the Subaru Forester first generation.

Subaru Forester 2003

The Subaru Forester 2003 model came with some of the more basic and fixable issues. These include door seals getting broken and noise from the window seal. The good thing is that it was a more reliable model compared to the first generation.

Often drivers would find that the best remedy for the issue was to change the entire door. This is because trying to fix the issue otherwise would affect the power window making it hard to lower and raise the windows.

The other major issue was the failure of the power bags to deploy as well as the turning on of the airbag light. This is a problem that was seen when the vehicle reached 60,000 miles,

Other issues included head gasket damage, engine failure, and misfiring when accelerating.

Subaru Forester 2010

This model of the Forester often had head gasket damage, engine failure as well as damage to other internal components such as blowing up of the turbo engine and cold starting, and diesel filter warning.

The majority of these issues would start showing at around the 91,000-mile mark. Other issues included the breaking of the hatch, and collapsing of the seat which in this case you would need to fix the new engine.

Subaru Forester 2011

Some of the more common issues with the Subaru Forester 2011 included the engine failing, oil consumption that is too excessive, leaking of engine oil, and burning smell of the engine oil.

Sadly this was the beginning of oil issues that only became far worse in the 2014 Forester model.

Subaru Forester 2014

The 2014 Subaru Forester is just one of those Foresters you might want to stay clear off. It came with plenty of issues such as suspension issues, gearbox issues, excessive consumption of oil, engine failure, and issues with the vehicle’s electrical system.

The cost of fixing most suspension issues that occurred around the 50,000-mile mark was around $1200.

Speaking of suspension issues, the major one was broken coils.

When it comes to the transmission, the Subaru Forester 2014 included a broken clutch, stalling in park as well as the car rolling backward when parked. the best professionals to deal with such issues were those who had already become accustomed to the Subaru Forester 2014 model.

Subaru Forester 2015

This model has a lot of fuel efficiency issues, faulty interior accessories, and issues with the engine and the transmissions.

Some of the engine issues with the Subaru Forester 2015 model included engine failure as well as engine reluctance. There were a lot of engine oil issues. this model also had Bluetooth connectivity issues as well as problems with speech recognition.

Of course, these issues do not directly affect the driving capabilities of the Subaru Forester. That said, the issue could have been fixed simply by replacing the old radio with a new radio.

The transmission, as well as the engine, had several issues as well. One of these was surging of the vehicle at low speeds.

Subaru Forester 2017

This model also had engine problems including engine stalling. There was also engine failure and electrical systems failure. That said, the Subaru Forester 2017 had fewer issues compared to the earlier models.

The engine battery was also weak and drivers often reported failure with the navigation and the radio.

Subaru Outback Years To Avoid

Compared to the Subaru Forester, the Subaru Outback has proven to be one of the most reliable cars for both offroad and on-road driving.

That said there is one exception to this rule and it’s advisable to avoid this model of the Subaru Outback if you are in the market for a good Subaru Outback. It is the 2013 model.

Subaru Outback 2013 Issues (And How It Differs From The Forester)

Oil is just one of those things that are a critical part of the vehicle. It allows the different moving parts of the engine to work as expected while reducing friction.

Secondly, the engine oil also plays a role in reducing the engine temperature.

One of the main issues with the 2013 Subaru Outback is a failure of the pistons which resulted in gas in the chamber through which oil would leak through.

This, therefore, means that drivers found themselves having to change the oil more frequently.

Best Years For The Subaru Outback

The best years for the Subaru Outback were the 2005 model to the 2009 model. During this time Subaru focused a lot on making the Outback have a great performance.

It is also during these years that Subaru introduced the 2.5-liter 250 horsepower engine. But that’s not all, Subaru also introduced the XT turbocharged engine.

Subaru Outback Weight


The Subaru Outback weighs between 3634-3937 pounds. This is the curb weight that depends on the model trims. For instance, the Subaru Outback standard model will weigh 3634 pounds.

The Subaru Outback only edition XT weighs 3915 pounds. The Subaru Outback limited XT has a curb weight of 3926 pounds.

The heaviest of the Subaru Outback trims is the Touring XT. This one weighs 3937 pounds. Having the abilities of an SUV yet not being as heavy as the most large-sized SUV, the Subaru Outback is less likely to get stuck on wet ground as the weight doesn’t contribute to its sinking.

Subaru Outback Cost

You can expect to pay as much as $28,320 for a Subaru Outback 2022 model.  With the Outback Wilderness, this price rises to $37,195.

If you of for the Subaru Outback Touring XT, then you will need to chuck out $40,145.

Frequently Asked Questions On The Difference Between Outback And Forester

What Is The Difference Between A Subaru Outback And Forester

The Subaru Outback is considered a midsized crossover. It is longer and wider than the Subaru Forester which is considered a compact crossover. The Subaru Outback has the design and build of a wagon. On the other hand, the Forester has a more SUV look. The Subaru Outback will typically cost more than the Forester by about $2,000.

Is Subaru A Good Car

Simply put, the Subaru is a good car. A consumer report study was done back in 2021 and compared 28 car models in the United States. The study showed that the Subaru had a score of 7 out of 28 in predicted reliability. This puts the Subaru cars in the top 25% of most reliable car brands in the United States.

How Long Do Subarus Last

Subarus are often known to be practical, affordable vehicles with good offroad capabilities. On average, a Subaru is expected to last at least 200,000 miles. This can be equated to around 13 years. One thing that is for sure with Subarus is that they are reliable cars and Subaru car owners love their cars.

How Long Is A Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is a medium-sized crossover. One of its distinguishing features is that it has a wagon design which also means it’s quite long. The Subaru Outback is 191.3 inches long or 15.9 feet long.

How Long Is A Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester has a compact SUV design. The Forester is often 182.87 inches long. While the Subaru Forester is a large car, it is a compact crossover, unlike the Subaru Outback which is considered a medium-sized crossover.

Is A Subaru Outback An SUV

The Subaru Outback is not an SUV. It is more of a wagon. That said the Subaru Outback does feature the cargo-carrying capabilities and utilities of an SUV. The 2021 Subaru Outback for instance has the highest crash scores even of any SUV.

Where Are Subaru Foresters Made

All Subaru Foresters are made at the Yajima plant that is located in Gunma in Japan. Note that Subaru Foresters that are in the United States are not built in the States. The Yajima plant contains over 3000 employees and has continuously been in operation since 1969.

How Much Can A Subaru Forester Tow

The Subaru Forester regardless of whether it is a premium model, trim model, Forester model, limited or touring has a maximum tow capacity of 1500lbs.

Do Subarus Hold Their Value

Subaru cars are good at holding their value and are a popular choice with drivers looking to achieve a good value once they are ready to sell their vehicles. Subaru vehicles are therefore a good investment and will give you a great bang for your buck.

leave your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *