The Subaru Forester VS The Outback

For many Lake Forester drivers a Subaru SUV is the only SUV for them. Why? Because a Subaru SUV is ready for adventures big and small with safe and reliable performance that is built for the long road ahead. With so many reasons to love a Subaru, it can be difficult for Tustin drivers to choose between the Subaru Outback and Forester. These are two of the oldest and most popular models in the Subaru family and are seemingly the same SUV.

Both the Subaru SUVs come standard with STARLINK multimedia, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, and EyeSight Driver Assist Technology. However, there are a couple of difference between the two SUVs that may sway you towards the Outback over the Forester. Or vis-versa. For example, the Subaru Outback offers standard raised roof rails with integrated crossbars that fold out when needed. The Forester is available with raised roof rails that do not feature the integrated crossbars.


The Subaru Forester and Outback are ready to take the road less traveled as well as running around town. The Forester is powered by a revised 2.5L four-cylinder BOXER engine with 182 horsepower, Auto Start-Stop technology, and a seven-speed Lineartronic® Continuously Variable Transmission.

The Outback has two BOXER engines to choose from. A 2.5L four-cylinder with 175 horsepower or a 3.6L six-cylinder BOXER with 256 horsepower, both of which are paired with a six-speed Lineartronic® Continuously Variable Transmission. Both the Forester and Outback feature X-Mode with Hill Descent Control in addition to standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The Outback has X-Mode standard on every model while the Forester features X-Mode on every model except the base.

Fuel Efficiency & Towing:

  • 2.5L four-cylinder: 25 city, 32 highway mpg
  • 3.6L six-cylinder: 20 city, 27 highway mpg
  • Fuel Tank: 18.5 gallons
  • Max Towing: 2,700 lbs.
  • 2.5L four-cylinder: 26 city, 33 highway
  • Fuel Tank: 16.6 gallons
  • Max Towing: 1,500 lbs.


The Outback and Forester look about the same size from the outside. The Subaru Outback is a midsize wagon SUV while the Forester is a compact SUV. The Outback is a longer and slightly wider SUV with a wheel base of 108.1 inches compared to the Foresters 105.1 wheel base.

The Forester is taller than the Outback by 2 inches giving the Forester more interior headroom. Both Subaru SUVs have 8.7 inches of ground clearance. The biggest differences in size between the two Subaru models is their interior space.

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  • Headroom Front/Rear: 38.3/38.9 inches
  • Legroom Front/Rear: 42.9/38.1 inches
  • Total Passenger Space: 104.5 cubic feet
  • Cargo Room: 35.5 cubic feet
  • Maximum Cargo Room: 73.3 cubic feet
  • Headroom Front/Rear: 40.2/37.7 inches
  • Legroom Front/Rear: 43.3/39.4 inches
  • Total Passenger Space: 107.8 cubic feet
  • Cargo Room: 33.0 cubic feet
  • Maximum Cargo Room: 70.9 cubic feet

At the end of the day there is no wrong choice getting behind the wheel of either the Subaru Outback or Forester. To fully experience everything the new Forester and Outback have to offer make your way down to Irvine Subaru for a test drive. We are a short drive from Laguna Niguel and are proud to serve drivers from all over Orange County find the perfect Subaru SUV for them.

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