Getting ready for a summer of travel. Choosing the Subaru Forester vs Outback!

Getting ready for a summer of travel. Choosing the Subaru Forester vs Outback!
December 16, 2020 Dilate Manager

Summer’s arrived. And your road trip car of choice couldn’t be more difficult with the likes of the Subaru Forester and the Outback prowling country roads. Choosing between these two cars will depend on things like your driving habits, how much you want to tow, and your tastes and desires when it comes to handling. Both cars have levelled up and provide a premium driving experience, but with so many similarities, it’s hard to tell which one is right. To help you decide, here’s your Subaru Forester vs Outback comparison. 

At first glance…

The Outback is wider and longer. It gives the feeling that it’s much flatter when you compare it to the taller, boxier and youthful-looking Forester. Both cars exude a feeling of capability with a design that just says ‘get on with it’. These cars shrug off gravel and rough bitumen like an indifferent teenager would their parents’ fashion advice. Of course, these cars mean business, so they’re going to look the part. 

How do these cars handle?

Handling is an important factor to consider when buying a new car. Ultimately, how a car feels on the road with you at the wheel is a deciding factor. Both cars offer the identical 2.5l engine paired with CVT and both producing 129 kilowatts of power. If you’re hungry for even more though, the Outback is available with a bigger, 3.6L motor pumping out 191kW. Sorry Forester. But it’s not just engine choices that make these cars different on the road. Winding country roads demonstrate another noticeable difference between them. The Outback’s wider wheelbase means taking corners is a smoother more relaxed experience, while the Forester feels more responsive and sporty.

Subaru Forester vs Outback which interior is right for you?

The interiors of the Forester and Outback are as comfortable as the exteriors are rugged. At a slightly higher price, the Outback appeals to those after a more plush finish. While there have been serious upgrades to both cars in this area, the interior of the Outback feels like it’s been given some special attention. That’s not to say the Forester is lower quality, you’ll find there is a wealth of good design choices like the optional (extra) enormous moonroof that you just can’t get on the Outback. 

Technology: Subaru Forester vs Outback

Both cars offer great connectivity options including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Outback pushes the envelope with a snazzy optional wireless charging system. The Outback boasts slightly larger infotainment screen specs coming in at 7 and 11.6-inches while the Forester has comparatively smaller 6.5 and 8-inch options. Both are clean, well-positioned, and feel easy to use. 

Commanding drive 

Both the Outback and the Forester have excellent forward visibility. The Forester’s tall driver’s position coupled with a higher than average ride height and fantastic ground clearance means new customers get a taste of what your average SUV driver feels every day.

Subaru Forester vs Outback: who drives further?

With similar engines and fuel consumption stats, it’s the Outback’s larger tank that makes it the preferred choice for longer drives Outback is better equipped for the long drives and well-deserved summer road trips. Not only does it like the open road, but it’s earned its position as an Australian icon being the preferred car of emergency service personnel working in the distant Outback. For more on why this car has captured the Outback spirit, read this Subaru Outback review.

Which one would you prefer to take off-road?

Again, both cars are neck and neck with excellent off-roading features including standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The Outback gains from a standard, smart, multi-function X-Mode system delivering extra grip when needed and a smart hill descent function that takes the edge off slopes and difficult driving conditions. The Forester’s lowest trim misses out on this feature but all higher trims get it. This Subaru Forester review shows why this car is the ultimate adventure SUV.

I want to tow a boat – what’s my best bet? 

Got a utility trailer or a small fishing boat? Either of these cars will gladly tug your favourite toys with no qualms. But when the job is bigger than a quick run to the tip you’ll want to choose the Outback. It has a clear win here, easily towing most small and mid-sized camper trailers and toys up to 1800kg. Bear in mind though that’s only applicable on the bigger 3.6L-equipped Outback, the regular 2,5L has a maximum towing capacity of 1500kg, and the 2.0L Diesel 1700kg. Don’t hang your hopes on pulling a full-sized yacht, but these cars will happily tow within their range. 

Read more about Subaru towing specs: all your towing questions answered.

Emphasis on safety 

Both cars have 5-star ANCAP safety ratings, proving their worth at the crash test site and passing with flying colours. On the road, both cars come with standard Subaru EyeSight safety technology including lifesaving technology such as lane assist, pre-collision warning, and adaptive cruise control. The Forester has an extra trick up its sleeve with Subaru’s new DriverFocus system which monitors and keeps the driver focused on the road.

Subaru Forester vs Outback: which is easier to live with?

Day in, day out, both cars present good cases for being your ideal road trip car. If you’ve got the cash expect more in the way of features on the outback, but value for money would say take another look at the Forester. Both cars come with everything you’ll need for an exciting adventure but look perfectly presentable and capable of the daily commute. For those chasing better fuel efficiency, the Forester does come with a hybrid engine, leaving the Outback to cater to those wanting more power and oomph. To see which car best suits your lifestyle, book your test drive today at Perth City Subaru.

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