2019 Subaru Outback versus 2019 Subaru Forester

?When purchasing a new Subaru, many customers wonder whether they should buy a new Outback or Forester. Forester is all-new for the model year 2019, while the Outback is in the last year of a five-year model cycle. The Outback has been upgraded for the model year 2019 to keep it competitive with similar vehicles. Both the Subaru Outback and the Forester offer advanced safety technology, award-winning durability, and comfortable rides. Symmetrical All-Wheel drive is standard on both models providing all-terrain toughness and safety in poor weather conditions. The Outback and the Forester offer excellent driver visibility and fuel economy. The Subaru EyeSight® suite of driver assist systems comes standard with both models. It can brake automatically or correct your steering during lane drifting. The Outback is further equipped with blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and parking assist sensors. The Forester also offers DriverFocus, an anti-distraction, and convenience system. Both models come with a 3 year/36,000 mile comprehensive warranty and a 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. SUBARU STARLINK™ Multimedia with Apple CarPlay™ and Android™ Auto is also standard with both models.

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The Forester has a more classic look and feels, while the Outback is more modern. The Outback is a midsize crossover, similar to a wagon, and has a longer wheelbase. This creates a smoother ride than the Forester. The Forester is a compact crossover, comparable to a small sports utility vehicle, and offers a higher perch for shorter drivers. The Forester has more overall room for passengers and cargo. Additionally, the Forester is built on Subaru’s newest Global Platform, offering a quieter ride and better agility. Let’s compare some key features and options.


  • Passenger Space: The Outback and the Forester both seat five passengers. The Outback offers a tad more passenger space at 108.1 cubic feet versus the Forester’s 107.8 cubic feet. The Forester provides more front leg room (43.3 inches to Outback’s 42.9 inches) and more rear legroom (39.4 inches to the Outback’s 38.1 inches).
  • Cargo Space: While the Forester has more cargo space (76.1 cubic feet) than the Outback (73.3 cubic feet) with the seats folded, the Outback has more cargo space with the seats up (35.5 cubic feet versus the Forester’s 35.4 cubic feet). The Forester’s cargo space is a bit taller.
  • Fuel Economy: The Forester has slightly better fuel economy, city, and highway. The Outback’s fuel tank holds 18.5 gallons (591 miles) versus the Forester’s 16.6 gallons (547 miles). The Outback gets 25 MPG city and 32 MPG Highway, while the Forester gets 26 MPG city and 33 MPG Highway.
  • Towing Capacity: The Outback offers greater towing capacity at 2700 pounds, whereas the Forester’s capacity is 1500 pounds.
  • Engine: The Forester’s standard engine is a bit more powerful at 2.5L/182 horsepower compared to the Outback’s 2.5L/175 horsepower engine. A six-cylinder upgrade with 256 horsepower is available for the Outback only.
  • Roof: Roof rails come standard on both models, except the Forester’s base model. Crossbars are standard on the Outback but are optional on the Forester.
  • Ground Clearance: The ground clearance is the same for both vehicles at 8.7 inches.
  • Airbags: Both the Forester and Outback come standard with dual front and side airbags for the front passengers and curtain airbags for both rows. Forester offers a driver knee airbag. Outback gives both front seaters a cushion airbag in the flat part of the seats to hold you in place. The Outback has eight airbags, and the Forester has seven airbags.
  • Size: The Outback is a longer vehicle at 189.9 inches versus the Forester’s 182.1 inches. The standard Forester is 67.5 inches high and the Outback is 66.1 inches high. The Outback is slightly wider (72.4 inches) than the Forester (71.5 inches).
  • Price: The Outback starts at around $2,000 more than the Forester. See more information on Outback pricing, leasing, and deals from Rafferty Subaru. 



Both the Outback and the Forester provide similar rides, fuel economy, safety, and technology. They are direct competitors but share a lot in common. Subaru is well known for their safety features. The Outback earned a five-star rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The all-new 2019 Forester is expected to receive high ratings too. The interior of the Forester is noticeably bigger and offers more passenger and cargo space. The Outback comes standard with X-MODE® traction optimization and Hill Descent Control providing the best traction and grip in difficult conditions. These options are premium upgrades for the Forester. The Outback has the option for a more powerful engine. If you plan to do a lot of hauling and towing, the Outback is the preferred vehicle. If you want the latest and greatest from Subaru’s Global Platform, the all-new Forester fits the bill. Choosing between the Outback and the Forester really is a personal preference. At Rafferty Subaru, we’ll help you find the Subaru that fits your needs and lifestyle. Contact us at 888-491-8404 or stop in for a test drive today.
Categories: Compare Cars
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