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Subaru Forester vs Subaru Outback: The Best Subaru’s Crossovers

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Dec 29, 2017
Subaru Forester vs Subaru Outback The Best Subaru’s Crossovers

2017 Forester Vs. 2017 Outback: Which One Suits You The Best?

Subaru is known for its hardcore performance of boxer engines, generally called flat engines. It has also gained reputation by producing rocky vehicles like the blue racing monster Subaru WRX STI and golden feet WRX models including the legendary Subaru Forester and Outback models. The boxer engines are the speciality of Subaru and the use of these flat engines is not limited to Subaru vehicles but the makes like Porsche are also using these engines in their luxury vehicles. Porsche Boxter comes with a boxer engine.

The automaker has an excellent line of fuel efficient vehicle including hatchbacks, crossovers, saloons and wagons. Majority of the vehicles design and developed by Subaru are all wheel drive or using the Subaru’s special symmetrical all wheel driving system. People love the five seats wagons and saloons or even large crossovers these days which are fuel efficient and has larger capacities to carry their families and the luggage at the same time. Subaru has two options in this field and both of them are ultra-best and fuel efficient, developed on the capable enough platform with sufficient cargo space and other features. But both them have different segments to target with a similar body type. It does not matter that which offers more technology and features but the only thing matters is, what suits you best. We have lined up both models head to head here to explain, what they offer and to help you out in selecting the one suits you best out of these two vehicles.


In today’s automotive market and mobility needs, compact SUVs are the type of vehicles that are gaining importance in the world and eating the big chunk out of the sales pie of overall vehicle sales across the globe. The main reason is of their versatile and flexible use in a family’s life.

Subaru lines up its attack field with two vehicles, where a Subaru Forester compact SUV and a Subaru Outback traditional wagon are available in the market. The all new Subaru Forester is a relatively low on pricing table as compared to the Subaru Outback. Both vehicles are popular in their class. Apart from the popularity of these models, Subaru Outback still sells great then the Forester models. It is a competitive model in SUV segment with two rows of seats and all-wheel drive system with two types of engines, a six pot and a four pot engine.

The outback is offered in the sixth generation and is based on the Legacy saloon model. It offers a raised ride and wagon layout. It has long shared its design and technology DNA with long admired Subaru Impreza. This Impreza based platform helps the Outback model to keep the costs down and it has an improved overall outlook and performance in all those areas where Impreza was suffering in the past.

Head to Head Vehicle Specifications

Subaru Forester 2017 specifications

Name: Subaru Forester 2.5i 4AT (171hp)

Engine Size: 2498cc 2.5 litre

Number of cylinders: 4 cylinders Boxer Engine

Power Rating:

126 KW @ 5800 RPM

171 HP @ 5800 RPM

169 BHP @ 5800 RPM


173 lb-ft @ 4100 RPM

235 Nm @ 4100 RPM

Fuel: Petrol

Fuel Delivery System: MultiPoint Injection

Carbon Emissions: 202g/km

0-62 MPH (0-100 KPH): 10.2 seconds

Top Speed: 115 mph OR 185 km/h

Fuel Economy Specifications:

City: 18.8 mpg US OR 12.5 L/100Km

Motorway: 31.4 mpg US OR 7.5 L/100Km

Average: 25.3 mpg US OR 9.3 L/100Km

Drive Configuration: All Wheel Drive


4-Speed Automatic

LENGTH: 176.6 in OR 4486 mm

WIDTH: 68.3 in OR 1735 mm

HEIGHT: 62.6 in OR 1590 mm

Boot Cargo Capacity: 15.9 cuFT OR 450 L

Prices Starting From: £22,395

Subaru Outback 2017 specifications

Name: Subaru Outback 2.5i AWD CVT (175 HP)

Engine Size: 2457cc 2.5 litre

Number of cylinders: 4 cylinders Boxer Engine

Power Rating:

129 KW @ 5600 RPM

175 HP @ 5600 RPM

173 BHP @ 5600 RPM


173 lb-ft @ 4100 RPM

235 Nm @ 4100 RPM

Fuel: Petrol

Fuel Delivery System: Multipoint Injection

Carbon Emissions: 175g/km

0-62 MPH (0-100 KPH): 9.9 seconds

Top Speed: 123 mph OR 198 km/h

Fuel Economy Specifications:

CITY: 23.3 mpg US OR 10.1 L/100Km

Motorway: 33.1 mpg US OR 7.1 /100Km

Average: 30.9 mpg US OR 7.6 L/100Km

Drive Configuration: All Wheel Drive


Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)

LENGTH: 188.6 in OR 4790 mm

WIDTH: 71.7 in OR 1821 mm

HEIGHT: 63.2 in OR 1605 mm

Boot Cargo Capacity: 18.6 cuFT OR 527 L

Prices Starting From: £25,645

Fuel Economy

Winner: Outback (Details Below)

We have decided to mention the fuel economy ahead of all other features where performance, safety features and reliability things don’t mean anything when you have excellent fuel economy on hand. According to our head to head comparison of both vehicles, Subaru Outback wins the game in the fuel economy and delivers the best performance on the go.

The 2.5-Litre four-cylinder engine returns 25 miles per gallon in city traffic, 32 miles per gallon on the motorway and 28 miles per gallon on average. These figures are considered as the best stats when it comes to the vehicle of a Subaru Outback size. When moving up to the model line of an engine size of 3.6-Litre, a flat six-cylinder power unit, fuel economy reduce to a little down to 20 miles per gallon in city traffic, 27 miles per gallon on the motorway cruising and on average 25 miles per gallon. Not bad at all, isn’t it?

On the other hand, Subaru Forester, the smart Compact SUV, comes with a turbocharged performance and it has a flat four boxer engine which returns 23 miles per gallon in city traffic, 27 miles per gallon on motorway cruising and 25 miles per gallon on average. Here is a difference of opinion arises between engine experts and the general public. People prefer to buy a four pot engine instead of a six-pot engine. However, experts prefer a six pot boxer engine but outback has both options and both of them are ahead of its fellow Forester engine. The Outback wins the race of fuel efficiency all the way.


Winner: Outback (Details Below)

Lets start with the Subaru Forester model and see what it offers under the bonnet. Subaru Forester 2017 model comes with a base engine of 2.5-Litre size and has four cylinders in a flat opposite combustion configuration. This engine is capable of generating 170 horsepower from its 2.5-Litre displacement and it is an ample amount of power to ride around the town. There are two transmission options available with this engine, a continuously variable transmission generally called a CVT and a manual transmission for manual transmission lovers who believe in the myth that the manual transmission saves more fuel.

If you don’t like to have 2.5-Litre engine in your Forester mode, there is another option of a 2.0-Litre engine available and it is then a turbocharged unit to give even more power than a 2.5-Litre engine generates. The 2.0-Litre turbocharged engine in a Forester model delivers 250 horsepower. When dives into sharp cornering, it gives you full of fun riding experience.

The Outback, on the other hand, love to be one step ahead in the performance race as well and its engine generates 175 hp from same 2.5-Litre displacement. However, the upgraded version is a 3.0-Litre six-cylinder engine and it generates a 256 hp from its six pots. This larger unit is relatively smoother and efficient due to its size but slashes a bit larger chunk of fuel economy at the same time.

The Six cylinder engine in the Outback is a costly option and is not feasible for everyday driving. Like if your family has a daily use of vehicle mixed with all type of terrains including city, motorway and hilly areas or a bit of off roading, 3.0-Litre will cost you even more as compared to 2.0-Litre option. But at the same time, it is the best engine ever offered in the market in the vehicles under £30,000. Usually, these kind of engines come in higher trims which are priced at over £35,000 to £40,000 in the market.

Off-Road Performance

Winner: Tie (Details Below)

This is the only factor where both models the Forester 2.5-Litre and Outback 2.5-Litre are at the same platform and offer the same performance. Certainly, the Outback is not a jeep but it has the ability to go all the places where other vehicles can’t go easily and other SUVs dare not venture at all.

Exactly the same situation applies to the Forester because it has the same engine size but a slight difference in the size and power along with its transmission setup. Only one thing is helping the Forester to do the same performance while going off-road and it is the Subaru special symmetrical drive system. On the other hand, both vehicles, Subaru Forester and Subaru Outback has the same road clearance which is impressively just under 10 inches and both has all-wheel drive system as standard. All these factors push these Subaru models hard in the market and make the automaker proud at this point.

Interior Quality and Comfort

Winner: Outback (Details Below)

It is not the case that outback is winning all the way and Forester is just a piece of a scrape, no it’s not. Both models are as we have said earlier focusing on different market segments, thus the Outback is a bit costly and it has more advantages over the Forester due to the price hike. Anyways, in the overall design and interior, Outback shares the Impreza styling cues and it’s Design DNA. While on the other hand, Forester is not sharing the same DNA and this point really hurts the Forester in interior quality and comfort. Both models are still very comfortable and sharing the class leading features in the interior. The seats are high quality and both models have plenty of leg room and head room at the same time and it is same for all the five seats at the front and the back. The Outback model offers a bit more high class materials then the Forester and this just because its target market is a bit luxurious.

Cargo Space

Winner: outback (Details Below)

Both models have almost same cargo capacity but the Outback has an edge over the Forester and it is just three cubic feet. The 2017 Forester the Outback again wins this competition with 18 cubic feet in total against the Forester which is offering just 15 cubic feet of cargo capacity. But you just can’t say that this cargo space not enough for a family to go for a picnic and they can’t adjust their luggage in this space. This is a sufficient space for these kinds of vehicles.


Winner: Outback (Details Below)

Subaru has never compromised on safety, even it is the safety of the occupants or the safety of its vehicle. They always pushed the quality and reliability bar even higher. Same is in the case of both Subaru Forester and Subaru Outback models. Both of these models have a very strong and trustworthy safety score. Both of these models are tested by the U.S. safety department. They have tested the vehicle against several tests and crashes to check the level of safety on the both Subaru entrants.

They have tested if both models have the best safety technologies and comprehensive safety available on the model.

The 2017 forester has won more points on several safety features but the Outback has more driver friendly gadgets and features. 2017 forester has won the 2017 top Safety Pick + rating. These ratings were given by the insurance institute for highway safety IIHS. On the other hand, the model was also tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and they have given the Forester a 5 star rating out of 5. But on the frontal crash test, the Forester has slashed the points and earn only 4 points. This was the point where the Forester has received a bad hit in safety department.

The 2017 Outback 2.5-Litre model has also won a five-star overall rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA. Subaru Outback has won five stars for side crash, where it has the same score as of the Forester but on the front crash, Outback is more solid and reliable than the Forester. Outback has five stars on the front crash test and this was the point where the Forester has given an edge to the Outback. Forester has won just four points at this level.

As we are talking about the safety features, it is better to discuss the most important technologies and the class leading technology which is helping the occupant safety and safety is the Subaru Eyesight system. This safety and warning system is available on both models as standard. However, other features include emergency brakes system and lane leaving warning system. There is another technology available on both models and its traffic light signal warning system. In case if you forget to see if the light has changed or not, this system helps the driver and inform the driver upon the change of the light. A front distance system alerts you if the car in front of you has moved ahead and you are still thinking about to go, this system alerts you to drive. This system actually helps in preventing the accidents.


Winner: Outback (Details Below)

The reliability score for both models is excellent just like they were rated in 2016. The outback has an average reliability score and the Forester has a slightly below average reliability score. Both models are not much changed from their previous year models and they almost have everything very same.


Winner: Forester (Details Below)

The Forester is definitely the winner in the pricing table because the Forester has more than £5000 lower price in the class. If we talk about the Outback models, the 2.5i 2017 Outback starts from approximately £25700. While at the same time the higher trim of the outback 3.6r starts from £38,200. On the other hand, Subaru Forester has lower price figures and its base model starting from £22,400. The higher level trims if the Forester starts from £33,795.

The Winner Is …

2017 Subaru Outback (Details Below)

According to all the factors, we have compared, Subaru Outback is a winner on overall score average. However, individually, Forester has the plus points when it comes to the pricing and it plays a tie with the outback in terms of off road performance. Both have the same performance. But other smaller wins can’t stop the forester in the USA because it sits at 4th position. Anyways, you can’t deny the power of the all-wheel drive power delivery system and its all-wheel drive system help the models on off roading.

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