Crossover & Midsize

The 2020 Subaru Forester Is a Cheap SUV If You Don’t Want a Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is one of the brand’s most popular vehicles, and unlike other wagons, it has stood the test of time as a segment favorite. But the expensive wagon may not be the ideal choice for every buyer. Luckily for buyers, however, the Outback’s best features can be found in another Subaru vehicle. Here’s why the cheaper 2020 Subaru Forester SUV is the best choice for Outback naysayers.

The 2020 Subaru Forester: a lot of SUV for less

According to U.S. News, the 2020 Subaru Forester is “a well-rounded compact SUV.” It receives a decent overall score of 7.8/10, landing it in the middle of compact and crossover SUV rankings. But the Forester’s starting price, as well as what buyers get for the price, make it a tremendous value for the segment.

Prices for the Forester start around $24,000 and can increase to around $34,000 for top-tier models. The Forester’s starting price is not considered the lowest in its class but is extremely competitive, especially when considering what that price includes. 

Unlike other crossover and compact SUVs, the 2020 Subaru Forester comes with a variety of standard features that make it a “better value.” For instance, the Forester’s standard all-wheel-drive system often costs buyers thousands of dollars in other SUVs. The 2020 Forester also comes with a class-leading 76.1 cubic-feet of cargo space, great fuel economy ratings, and a slew of standard tech and safety features.

All-new Forester models come standard with Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver-assist features, including pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, lane departure prevention, and adaptive cruise control. Rear-seat reminders and a rearview camera also come standard.

While the Subaru Forester’s overall score doesn’t take it to the top of its segment, its tremendous overall value helped earn it a place as a Finalist for both U.S. News’ “2020 Best Compact SUV for the Money” and “2020 Best Compact SUV for Families” awards.

The 2020 Subaru Outback: the premier wagon

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The 2020 Subaru Outback is considered to be the “more luxurious” option over the Forester, but that comes with a price. Base prices of the Outback start at around $26,000 but can hit nearly $40,000 in higher trims.

According to U.S. News, the Subaru Outback’s recent redesign has only enhanced its already-impressive nature, making it one of the best wagons in the segment. For this reason, U.S. News experts give the 2020 Subaru Outback an overall score of 8.0/10 and the No. 2 spot among all 2020 wagons. 

The Subaru Outback boasts good reliability and safety ratings, as well as tremendous off-roading capabilities for the class. Its cargo space is competitive for the class, but it’s still smaller than the Forester’s, at 75.7 cubic feet.

Why the Forester is the best alternative to the Subaru Outback

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The Subaru Outback receives better ratings than the Subaru Forester but is much more expensive. It is also important to note that while the Outback ranks higher in its segment than the Forester, the crossover and compact SUV segment is much more competitive than the wagon segment, with many more rivals to compete against.

According to an analysis by U.S. News, “the 2020 Subaru Forester shares many of the Outback’s best features, like cavernous cargo space and room for tall adults in both rows of seating. It also has all of the same advanced safety features.”

In addition to a cheaper starting price and larger cargo space, the Forester is generally more appealing to a broader range of drivers. The Outback’s wagon design is preferable more to buyers who enjoy the wagon design or prefer an off-road-capable vehicle. But for buyers seeking the space, fuel economy, and practicality offered from an SUV, the 2020 Subaru Forester is the better and more affordable option.