11 Differences Between Subaru Outback vs Forester 2021

difference between subaru forester and outback

One of the Top Japanese brands Subaru is an automotive company recognized for its focus on quality, reliability, and safety. And the rivalry between its two famous adventure vehicles, the Subaru Outback vs Forester, is world-famous. 

They look similar, but if you take a closer look you will find an impressive compact SUV and a spectacular mid-range SUV. The Outback is considered a midsize crossover because it is slightly longer than the Forester and has the traditional appearance of a pickup truck. 

Each of these vehicles offers you a host of similar amenities, including Subaru Symmetrical AWD, EyeSight driver assistance technology, and SUBARU STARLINK multimedia system with Apple CarPlay, and they share many of the same features as two-row SUVs, for example. 

It can be difficult to compare them, so we’re going to find differences between Subaru Forester and Outback and highlight the key differences between the two to help you answer the question of whether the Subaru Outback vs Forester is the right vehicle for you.

2021 Subaru Outback Overview

subaru outback vs forester

The Subaru Outback car has been redesigned from the ground up for the 2020 model year so Subaru has kept the changes to a minimum for this new generation. 

The Outback 2021 is equipped as standard with a rear-seat reminder system, a warning light, and a front passenger seat belt buzzer as well as adaptive cornering lights. 

All Outback models use a continuously variable automatic transmission that is linked to a permanent four-wheel-drive system. 

However, you can choose between two flat four-cylinder gasoline engines to power the setup. The base engine, a naturally aspirated 2.5 liter with 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque, is capable but not particularly competent. 

The Outback Pickup is one of the ideal SUVs for families who want economical SUVs, but who need more practicality than a sedan or a coupé.

2021 Subaru Outback Specifications

compare subaru forester and outback
  • MSRP: $26,945 – $39,945
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • MPG: 26 City / 33 Hwy
  • Horsepower: 181 to 260 hp
  • Capacity: 5 Seats
  • Drivetrain: Front Wheel Drive

2022 Subaru Forester Overview

subaru forester vs outback

Hop in and ride a 2022 Subaru Forester. It’s easy to see why the Forester is one of Subaru’s most popular SUVs year after year. 

Relatively small in size, the Forester still offers useful interior space. In nature, dirt roads and bad weather cause no consternation to Forester’s driver thanks to 8.7 inches of ground clearance and permanent all-wheel drive. 

Only one engine and transmission are offered here, with all equipment equipped with a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine with 182 hp and 176 lb.-ft. of torque. 

One of the most important aspects of such a vehicle is how well it can move things. Fortunately, the Forester doesn’t disappoint with up to 31.1 cubic feet of cargo space in the rear.

2022 Subaru Forester Specifications

difference between outback and forester
  • MSRP: $24,795 – $34,895
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • MPG: 26 City / 33 Hwy
  • Horsepower: 182
  • Capacity: 5 Seats
  • Drivetrain: Front Wheel Drive

Subaru Outback vs Forester Comparison- Which SUV Suit You Better?

The Subaru Outback 2021 and the Subaru Forester 2021 are popular SUVs for the family on the go. Both seats for five people offer state-of-the-art technology and can easily pull light loads.

The Outback and Five Person Forester may look similar on one screen when researched online, but there are key differences between these two all-terrain family crossovers. 

Here’s our breakdown of where the difference between Subaru forester and outback and where they share similarities.

1. Price

Subaru Forester’s base price starts at $ 25,845, including destination and delivery fee. The interior starts at $ 27,845, including mandatory Subaru fees. 

Forester’s Touring top gear costs $ 35,945. There are a total of five Forester trim levels, including Premium, Sport, Limited, and Touring. 

The Outback’s top gear called the Touring XT costs $ 40,995. There is currently seven interior trim with the Wilderness finish to be added to the list soon.

Suggestion For Reading: 9 Best Resale Value SUVs That You Should Buy in 2021

Subaru says the new Wilderness version will start at around $ 38,000. In the price segment, Subaru Forester offers you a better deal between Subaru outback vs forester prices.

Winner: Subaru Forester

2. Performance

Experience the greatest adventures of life with the Forester or Outback. Both have a 2.5-liter SUBARU BOXER engine, although the Outback also has an optional 2.4-liter SUBARU BOXER engine with a higher output. 

In addition, these SUVs are equipped as standard with symmetrical all-wheel drive, a drive train that uses all four wheels harmoniously to ensure a safer journey in less than ideal weather. 

The Outback has an optional additional motor that allows the Outback to take the lead in the Subaru Outback vs Forester.

Winner: Subaru Forester

3. Appearance

As close siblings in Subaru’s current lineup, you’ll find several common design elements between the 2021 Outback and the 2021 Forester. The sporty interior is closer to the ground. 

It has a lower roofline that is long and tapered. The Forester SUV is a larger model with a more powerful nose. On both models, some or all of the panels have LED lights, a hands-free tailgate, and raised roof rails. 

However, the Outback has a higher quality look and feel, probably because it competes with luxury cars and it gets higher points when we compare Subaru Forester and Outback. In addition, the superior interior fairings offer luxurious features and accommodations.

Winner: Subaru Forester

4. Towing Capacity

The new Subaru Forester 2021 lets you pull up to 1,500 pounds on all models, which is enough for a smaller trailer or boat. If you’re looking for a vehicle that can meet all of your Suffolk County towing needs, look for the Outback.

The Outback offers 2,700 pounds of standard pull with up to 3,500 pounds of maximum tow, so you can take your boats, trailers, RVs, and more with you on the road. 

In terms of trailer load criteria, the interior is the best choice between the Subaru outback vs forester.

Winner: Subaru Outback

5. Handling

The Outback has a longer wheelbase, with a three-inch longer wheelbase than the Forester. The extension of the distance to the center ensures a smoother ride since the vehicle platform covers more square surfaces and therefore the potholes are less noticeable. 

Since the Forester has an SUV suspension, the axles are closer together and designed for a more robust vehicle. Hence Outback takes leads where we compare forester and outback.

Winner: Subaru Outback

6. Comfort

The outback achieves a high-quality feel while the forester can still feel economically planted. The Outback’s seats are Subaru’s best yet, with just the right amount of support in the right places and taut but supple Nappa leather on the top-end touring we tested. 

Other features the Outback lacks that the Forester lacks include ventilated seats, a hands-free power tailgate, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Again, the Outback is the winner in the Subaru Forester vs outback battle.

Winner: Subaru Outback

7. Technology

There are differences in the function that must be taken into account. For example, the Subaru Outback comes standard with dual-zone climate control, except for the entry-level model, which requires you to upgrade to one of the best Subaru Forester models to find this feature. 

A hands-free, self-closing power liftgate is available near the launch of the Subaru Outback range and is standard on the Outback Limited trim level. 

It’s a feature not yet available on the new Subaru Forester, which comes with a push-button power tailgate for just about any trim. In general, when it comes to technology terms this is mainly the difference between outback and forester.

Winner: Subaru Outback

8. Reliability

The Subaru Forester lives up to this reputation. According to RepairPal, it receives a reliability rating that is above the company average. 

The Forester took 21st place out of 26 compact SUVs and has average operating costs compared to all other vehicles. 

According to RepairPal, the Subaru Outback was ranked 10th out of 26 in the mid-size SUV category with average running costs. 

In the reliability category, the Outback beats the competition from the Subaru forester vs outback.

Winner: Subaru Outback

9. Safety

The security packages for these two vehicles are largely identical. Both models come standard with various driver assistance systems called EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. 

It has pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control with lane centering. Some features on both models have automatic reverse braking. 

All Outback and Forester equipment is equipped with a reversing camera that assists the driver when reversing. So in terms of safety, they both got the same score when we compare the Subaru forester vs Subaru outback.

Winner: Both

10. MPG

Forester and Outback are equally efficient with the 2.5-liter engine. According to EPA, Both offer 26/33/29 city/highway/station wagon mpg in this configuration. 

Both vehicles are only available with all-wheel drive. Choosing the turbocharged Outback will significantly reduce fuel consumption. 

This engine is rated to achieve 23/30/26 mpg. Both shared the same number of points in the MPG criteria and contested Subaru Forester versus outback equal matches.

Winner: Both

11. Final Verdict

Whether the new Subaru Forester versus Outback is the best ultimately depends on what you need and want from your next commercial vehicle. Now it is up to you which feature you like best on both vehicles. From our point of view, the Outback outperforms the Forester in several categories.

It’s more reliable, its interior is more exclusive, it has more impressive cabin technology, and it has more cargo space. 

In addition, the Outback offers more high-end amenities, especially with its high-quality equipment. 

Therefore, it will attract the attention of those with a more refined taste. After considering all factors, we will choose Outback as our winner in a match Subaru Forester versus outback.

Winner: Subaru Outback

Top FAQs About Subaru Forester vs Subaru Outback

Which is better between Subaru Outback or Forester?

While the Subaru Outback and Forester have similar characteristics. People who like to drive larger SUVs will likely lean towards the Forester, while those who want a slightly larger cabin will likely opt for the Outback.

There are many more factors to consider when upgrading, but the Outback has models with features that do what the Forester does. These include an optional turbo engine, a larger infotainment screen, and increased trailer load. So we can say that OPutback gives you a better ride than Forester.

Which is more comfortable, a Subaru forester versus an outback?

The Subaru Forester offers the driver more passenger volume, more headroom, and more front-seat legroom than the Outback.

The two vehicles have a very similar driving experience. We found that the less expensive fairings with the smaller tire diameters provided a quieter ride. This applies to both models.

Which is less expensive, the Subaru Forester vs Subaru outback?

While both the Outback and the Forester have a large price overlap, the Forester is around 10% cheaper than the Outback with similar features.

This price difference is because the Outback is larger and has a bit more standard equipment than the Forester.

Is the Forester bigger than the Outback?

The Subaru Outback is nearly two inches wider and eight inches longer, while the Forester is two inches taller.

They both have great views to the outside, and Forester does best with larger greenhouse windows. The Outback has 32.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the seats folded; Forester has 35.4 dice.

Final Thought 

The Subaru Outback has a lot to offer even at the end of its model generation. It has a more powerful engine than the Subaru Forester and is the perfect car for buyers who need utility vehicles but don’t like crossovers. 

We got our verdict after considering many factors, but now the ball is up to you to decide which Subaru you like best. What’s your preference between Subaru Forester vs outback?

Pawan K

Passionate automotive journalist who enjoys writing about the automobiles industry. I have covers every detail, from new vehicle reviews to the functionality of auto accessories, and everything that car enthusiasts want to know. I am Pennsylvania and loves to write. In my free time, I reads novels and explores new places.

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