The Forester & Outback - What's the Difference?

  2016 Forester  2016 Outback

Compare the Subaru Outback And the Subaru Forester

They may seem like completely identical models, only one is a bit smaller, but the Subaru Forester and Subaru Outback aren't twins. These Subaru siblings have a lot in common, but they have their differences, too. Here are some points to consider if you are trying to pick between the pair for your expeditions around the greater Jackson, Ann Arbor, Brighton, and Adrian area.


  • Both vehicles offer all-wheel drive standard.
  • Daytime running lights offers visibility so others can be aware of your presence and both Subaru models offer this as a standard feature.
  • The Outback and Forester are both reliable vehicles that provide safety, plus great fuel economy with the former providing 33 mpg highway and the latter offering 32 mpg highway.
  • Each has a 2.5-liter H4 engine with 174 pound-feet of torque.



  • Passenger volume with the Forester comes in at 103.3 cubic feet versus the Outback's 108.1 cubic feet.
  • Cargo space for these two are also close, with the Forester offering 31.4 cubic feet and the Outback giving 35.5 cubic feet.
  • Both models feature a 6.2-inch multimedia display, Bluetooth, and adequate leg and headroom, but when you explore higher trim levels, the similarities dissipate, starting with an extra thousand dollars price difference.

Exterior & Engines

  • From first glance you notice the Outback appears bigger than the Forester and offers a broader backside.
  • For towing, you can expect to bring along a small boat or trailer with the Outback, which offers 2700 pounds of towing capacity. The Forester is rated at 1500 pounds, which could mean a popup camper or trailer.
  • If you are interested in the freedom of a manual transmission, the Forester is your pick.
  • There are more trim options with the Forester, making it easier to upgrade your experience with premium features.
  • Engine options for these models are similar, but performance is slightly different. The Outback offers 175 horsepower on the base engine and 256 horsepower on the 3.6R Limited trim. The Forester features 170 horsepower with the base level and 250 horsepower on its 2.0XT Premium and 2.0XT Touring trims.

Schedule a Test Drive

Dunning Subaru

3771 Jackson Rd
Directions Ann Arbor, MI 48103

  • Call or Text Sales: (734) 662-3444
  • Service: (734) 662-3444
  • Parts: (734) 662-3444

Overall, the choice is yours as to which of these models is the best fit for you and we hope we've helped you decide one way or the other. If you are still uncertain, a test drive may be the best tie breaker, but it also is important to remember what type of adventure you want to experience in these models. Since both offer all-wheel drive, the option to take your drive to unexpected places is there, so you, your family, your pack of dogs, and your friends could feel comfortable stretching out for the long haul.

The Outback is a great choice if you are searching for a versatile mid-size model that affords the space you desire, but if you want a lower starting price and slightly more passenger volume, the Forester is your best bet. Contact us today for a test drive and discover what each model can offer you.

Browse through all of our new and used Forester and Outback inventory, then stop by to drive one!

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