Crossover & Midsize

Is the 2021 Subaru Outback Better Than the Forester?

Do you want the 2021 Subaru Outback or the 2021 Subaru Forester? Both of these Subaru models are pretty similar, but only one will be better at suiting your personal needs. The Subaru Outback and Forester have a few key differences to consider. 

The 2021 Subaru Forester vs. the 2021 Subaru Outback 

According to Torque News, one of the most significant differences between the Subaru Outback and Subaru Forester involves size. The Outback is a midsize crossover wagon, while the Forester is a compact SUV. 

The 2021 Subaru Outback parked near water
2021 Subaru Outback | Subaru

There are 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat of the Subaru Outback, with up to 75.7 cubic feet total. The Subaru Forester provides up to 31.1 cubic feet of cargo space with up to 74.3 cubic feet total. So, go with the Outback if you need a little more space. The Outback also provides a bit more passenger space. 

You can get started in the Outback for about $26,795, while the Forester begins at about $24,795. So, the Outback is $2,000 more before the destination fees, and dealership markups have been added. 

How do the Subaru Outback and Forester perform? 

The Subaru Outback and Forester have the same 2.5-liter four-cylinder standard engine that provides 182 hp and 176 lb-ft of torque. But the Outback has an optional 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. 

The Outback can tow up to 3,500 lbs with the turbo, but the Forester can only tow up to 1,500 lb. Edmunds noted that with the standard engine, the Outback could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds. 

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When Edmunds tested the 2021 Subaru Forester, it could reach 60 mph in about 9.3 seconds. The 2021 Subaru Outback has responsive steering a noticeable body roll. The ride is pretty smooth, but larger bumps send vibrations through the cabin. 

Despite being a little slower, the Forester seems to be a little sportier with more responsive steering, handling, and braking. It has a smooth ride over bumps, but wind noise enters the cabin at higher speeds. 

Both vehicles offer standard all-wheel drive and have an 8.7-inch ground clearance. They also have incredibly comfortable and supportive seats, but passengers have more room in the Outback. 

Subaru Forester and Outback features 

The 2021 Subaru Forester has a 6.5-inch display, but you can upgrade to a larger 8-inch unit. The 2021 Subaru Outback has two 7-inch displays and an optional 11.5-inch vertical display. But the Forester has better reviews for tech. 

The Outback seems to struggle with speed and has complicated menus. The voice recognition isn’t the best either. The Forester’s system is easy to use with attractive graphics, and the voice recognition system is improved. Both options come with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and multiple USB ports. 

2021 Subaru Forester parked in front of a mountain home
2021 Subaru Forester | Subaru

Even though the Subaru Outback is longer, both options get an EPA estimated 26 mpg in the city and up to 33 mpg on the highway. Both options come with standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and more. 

When it comes to deciding between the two, the Outback offers more space and more power for towing. However, the Forester may provide a better driving experience and has better tech. Both serve as comfortable, reliable options to consider in the Subaru lineup.