2021 Subaru Forester vs 2021 Subaru Outback Comparison in Columbus, OH

Aside from a slight difference in price, the main differences between these two AWD Subaru SUVs is found in the layout and features. As you might expect, you'll find that standard and available features are a bit better in the new Subaru Outback, which costs a bit more than the new Subaru Forester. Below, we preview some of the details that make these SUVs unique while also offering more value than competing brands. Once you have an idea of what to expect, schedule a test drive with our dealership by the airport in Columbus, OH.

2021 Subaru Forester vs 2021 Subaru Outback Exterior

2021 Subaru Outback vs Forester Comparison: Design & Convenience

Look at the exterior profiles of the new Subaru Forester and Outback SUVs to get a first impression of the difference between the two. While the new 2021 Subaru Forester is a sleek and sophisticated small SUV that holds its own in this competitive segment, the latest Subaru Outback provides a unique, wagon-inspired design. The difference becomes a bit more pronounced inside.

On paper, it may not seem like there's much difference inside. They both offer comfortable seating for up to five passengers with the Subaru Forester offering nearly 112 cubic feet of passenger space while the new Subaru Outback provides 109 cubic feet of passenger space. Behind the rear seats, you'll find 32.5 cubic feet of cargo space in the Outback while the Forester offers 31.1 cubic feet. When you fold the rear seats down, the Forester offers up to 76.1 cubic feet of maximum cargo space while the Outback provides up to 75.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The main difference is that the roof is a bit higher on the Subaru Forester while the cargo area in the Outback is a bit longer.

What's more, you'll get standard roof rails with retractable crossbars on every new Subaru Outback. At the start of the new Subaru Forester lineup, roof rails are an option and standard on every other trim level while crossbars are an option across the lineup.

2021 Subaru Outback vs Forester Comparison: Technology & Infotainment

You can count on the latest STARLINK™ multimedia system making entertainment, information, and connectivity easy in the new Subaru Forester and Outback SUVs. However, there is a difference in how this system is presented in each model. At the start of the new 2021 Subaru Outback lineup, dual touchscreens provide information and controls in an intuitive layout. Step up from the entry-level model, and you'll find a tablet-like 11.6-inch touchscreen. The new Subaru Forester presents its easy-to-use infotainment system on a single seven-inch touchscreen, or upgrade to the available eight-inch touchscreen.

There are a variety of other feature differences to take note of. For instance, the Subaru Outback comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control on all but the entry-level model where you'll need to upgrade to one of the top Subaru Forester models to find this feature. A hands-free power rear gate with automatic close is available near the start of the Subaru Outback lineup and standard from the Outback Limited trim level on up. It's a feature that's not yet available on the new Subaru Forester, which is available with a push-button power rear gate for nearly every trim.

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View our new Outback inventory in Columbus, OH
2021 Subaru Forester vs 2021 Subaru Outback Interior

2021 Subaru Outback vs Forester Comparison: Performance

If you're not yet familiar with the unique performance of a Subaru SUV, you're in for a treat behind the wheel of the new Subaru Forester or Outback. They're each equipped with a flat BOXER® engine that sends power to every wheel through the renowned Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. The result is outstanding handling, leading efficiency, and capability that makes winter roads in Ohio much less stressful. So, what is the performance differences between these two AWD SUVs?

At the start of the lineup, the engine is the same in both models. It's a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter H4 producing 182 horsepower and 176 lb/ft of torque. It's a healthy and capable amount of power for the small two-row SUV segment. Since both models also come standard with Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, up to 33 MPG in both models is also quite healthy. However, if you're thinking you might like a bit more motivation under your right foot, consider the available turbocharged engine in the new 2021 Subaru Outback. It pumps out 260 horsepower with 277 lb/ft of torque and is not available in the new Subaru Forester.

2021 Subaru Outback vs Forester Comparison: Safety

This is an easy one because there really is no difference between the new 2021 Subaru Forester and Outback when it comes to the safety of you, your loved ones, and those around on the road. You see, Subaru has long made safety a top priority in all that it does. The Global Platform that now underpins the whole Subaru lineup is a leap forward in crash and impact protection. Thanks to material and engineering advancements, Subaru frames and structures can better withstand, absorb, and redirect impact energy. Add in further standard features like whiplash-reducing seats, advanced airbags including a driver's knee airbag, and height-adjustable rear headrests, and you can be confident that you're in one of the safest vehicles on the road. Consistent top safety awards from independent industry and government experts agree; a Subaru SUV is especially safe. Standard LED daytime running lights even help you better avoid accidents by increasing visibility of your Subaru SUV.

2021 Subaru Forester vs 2021 Subaru Outback Features

2021 Subaru Outback vs Forester Comparison: Standard Driver Assistance

Subaru continues to prove that it's an industry leader by being among the first affordable automotive brands to include standard driver assistance technology to help you avoid accidents. It's called Subaru EyeSight®, and it's standard in every new 2021 Subaru Forester and Outback. Features of this cutting edge system include automatic pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keep assist. When you get here for a test drive, ask us about available driver assistance features like DriverFocus®, Blind-Spot Detection, and Reverse Automatic Braking.

View our new Forester inventory in Columbus, OH
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View our new Outback inventory in Columbus, OH

Both Models Provide An Outstanding Investment In Your Future

Ultimately, whether the new Subaru Outback or Forester is best comes down to what you need and desire from your next utility vehicle. In the competitive segment of small SUVs, the new Subaru Forester simply can't be beat at a starting MSRP of just $24,795. The flagship Subaru Outback does cost a little more with a starting MSRP of $26,795, but we think you'll agree that you get a lot for such a small increase in price. Either way, you're getting a design you can be proud of, performance and capability to take your adventures further, and a level of safety you can trust your loved ones with. Come see us for a test drive and a better dealership experience at Byers Airport Subaru in Columbus, OH.

2021 Subaru Forester2021 Subaru Outback
$24,795Starting MSRP* $26,795
182Standard Horsepower182
176Standard Torque (lb.-ft.)176
None AvailableEngine Upgrade260-hp Turbo Engine
1,500Towing Capacity (lbs.)2,700 (Standard Engine) / 3,500 (Upgraded Engine)
111.9Passenger Volume (cu. ft.)109
31.1 Standard / 76.1 MaximumCargo Capacity (cu. ft.)32.5 Standard / 75.7 Maximum
6.5" TouchscreenStandard InfotainmentDual 7" Touchscreens
Available UpgradeHigh Beam AssistStandard Feature
Available UpgradeRoof RailsStandard Feature

*Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.