Outback is a longer, more substantial vehicle--a "midsize crossover" where Forester is a "compact crossover." Outback looks and feels more like a wagon, Forester looks and feels more like a small sport utility vehicle.
The Outback, which has been refreshed this year, is one of the top-ranking wagons on the market, sharing the honor with the likes of Volvo and Audi. It was the winner of two of our 2017 awards; it received a Best Car for Families and Best New Car for Teens award.
The Outback is Subaru's number one seller, and Forester is a close second. The Outback is a longer, more substantial vehicle, a "midsize crossover," whereas the Forester is a "compact crossover." The Outback looks and feels more like a wagon; the Forester looks and feels more like a small sport utility vehicle.
Outback has the longer wheelbase (the distance between the axles is four inches longer than the Forester). Lengthening the distance between the axles provides a smoother ride in the Outback because the vehicle platform covers more square area and therefore bumps are less noticeable.
The Forester's available 2.0XT model is powered by a 250 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-4 with 258 lb-ft of torque. On the Outback, a 3.6R model is powered by a 256-hp, 247-lb-ft 3.6-liter flat-6. Between the Forester 2.0XT and the Outback 3.6R, the Forester is quicker and stops shorter than the Outback.
Outback has had a CVT auto transmission for several years now while the Forester up to 2013 has used a conventional but dated 4 speed auto. The new 2014 Foresters now come with the newer CVT which improves mileage.
Perhaps no two models have meant as much to Subaru's market presence in North America than the Forester and the Outback. Each of their arrivals -- the Legacy-based Outback in 1994 and the Impreza-derived Forester in 1997 -- helped to introduce the crossover segment, and to develop it into the juggernaut it is today.
Detail Comparison - Subaru Forester Sport 2019 - vs - Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited 2018, their videos (reviews, off-road, commercials, crash tests) and images, Features,Price, Specifications, difference