Skip to main content

The All-New Subaru Outback Wagon Loses More Ground To A Hot Forester SUV

The 2020 Subaru Forester is the brand’s shining star. See how the hot SUV leaves the new 2020 Outback in the dust. Check out our comparison Forester Vs Outback.


Everyone thought when the completely redesigned 2020 Subaru Outback arrived, it would be the hot new model in the Subaru stable of all-wheel-drive vehicles. But the 2020 Forester which received a remodel a year ago, is the brand’s shining star. To start the year, Forester shot ahead of the best-selling Outback to take the lead in sales. In February, the Forester continues its hot pace.

Forester achieved its best February ever with 16,458 vehicle sales, a significant 25.3 percent increase over last year. Outback (12,665 sales) posted a 2.7 percent increase, while Crosstrek (8,287 units) posted a 0.4 percent increase compared to February 2019. Ascent dropped (-2.9 percent) for the first time since its launch and had 5,982 vehicle sales.

2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru Outback2020 Forester is Subaru’s shining star

The Subaru brand isn’t slowing down. It was the Forester that helped Subaru of America (SOA) have its best February in the history of the company. SOA reported 51,695 vehicle sales for February, a 5.3 percent increase compared to the same month last year, and year-to-date sales of 97,980, a 3.8 percent gain compared to the first two months in 2019.

What are the advantages of the Forester Vs Outback?

Many car shoppers ask what is the difference between the 2020 Subaru Outback and the 2020 Forester. The simple answer is, the new-generation Subaru Outback is a "midsize wagon“ where the 2020 Forester is a "compact SUV.” Outback looks and feels more like a wagon from behind the wheel, Forester’s driving dynamics are more like a small sport utility vehicle.

2020 Subaru Forester, 2020 Subaru OutbackOutback has a more car-like ride 

If you want a more car-like ride, the Outback offers the driving dynamics of a sedan but still has a higher ride height for easy entry. The Forester has better outward visibility with its larger greenhouse windows. You can read our full Outback Vs Forester report here.

The big advantage with the 2020 Outback, is it comes with an optional 2.4-liter turbocharged engine producing 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. It gets an estimated 23/30 city/highway mpg. If you need more power to carry extra cargo and passengers up a high mountain pass, the Outback XT turbo is the better choice for you.

Forester is two inches taller than Outback and has 35.4 cubic feet of cargo-carrying ability with the seats up, Outback has 32.5 cubes. With all the seats down Outback offers 75.7 cubic feet, Forester has a bit more with 76.1 cubic feet.

The 2020 Subaru Forester has a starting MSRP of $24,495*, the 2020 Subaru Outback starts at $26,645* (*destination and delivery add $1,010). To start the year the Forester is the brand’s shining star and more SUV shoppers chose it over the Outback.

You Might Also Like: The best AWD vehicles are still the new Subaru Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, and Ascent

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru


Quality matters (not verified)    March 6, 2020 - 6:59AM

Nobody in their right frame of mind should buy a Subaru at this point in time (or, arguably for the last 10 years).

They still have issues with windshields randomly cracking and the replacements randomly cracking as well. This is all at your expense, as the customer.

Take a look at the the, much belated, pile of lawsuits against Subaru.

Think carefully about what car you buy these days. Don't forget, not every country has lemon laws, so don't assume everyone has that option. Even if they do, it's a hell of a process to go through. Buy a car that has better quality control.
It's one serious issue after another with these vehicles.

I don't care if your Subaru hasn't experienced random cracking windshields, you're an exception, not the norm.

Brian K Parker (not verified)    March 6, 2020 - 4:09PM

My 4th Subaru is working out just fine. No windshield issues with any of them. But, ask me about my wife's Honda Element.

Jim Walsh (not verified)    May 19, 2020 - 4:43PM

I own one of each -a 2019 Forester and a 2020 Outback. Here is may take on the differences.
The Forester has cleaner bumpers, with restrained use of plastic cladding. It also has the widest tailgate opening of ANY Subaru at 48.6 inches. It also has physical buttons to disable the annoying Auto Stop/Start and Collision Avoidance System. On the Outback, the driver is forced to use go through the touch screen menus to do the same thing.
The Outback roof height is a little lower, but that is an advantage when washing the roof or loading cargo on the standard luggage rack. The cargo floor offers more load space. Only the base Forester offer more total cargo area, those with the sunroof lose space due to the moonroof assembly that is standard on Premium, Sport, Limited and Touring models. All Outbacks have nicely finished alloy wheels. The longer wheelbase provides a smoother ride. The Outback also has a nice heads up display that alerts the driver to lane drifting. The Forester beeps at you and you must look down at the instrument cluster to see what it's complaining about.
The engine in my Forester runs more smoothly than the Outback, but this is likely due to production variances. Both engines come from Japan and have the exact same specs.
They are both great vehicles, but I prefer the Outback.