The number one question Subaru dealers get is, what’s the difference between the 2017 Forester and the 2017 Outback? If you are looking for a multi-purpose vehicle which one is best for you? Most consumers do their research online before they get to the dealer. Here’s a complete rundown of both, and you can decide which SUV/Crossover fits your needs best. Let’s check em out.
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.
Both vehicles have 8.7 inches of ground clearance. This is important if you are taking your vehicle off-road or into the back country. Both will elude obstacles that will destroy other small SUVs.
Both vehicles have a "commanding driving position" allowing you to see over traffic in front of you. Forester and Outback were ranked #1 and #3 for best outward visibility among all vehicles. You can check out the report here.
Total people space
Outback is considerably larger inside.108.1 cubic ft vs 103.3 cu. ft. Outback is almost two inches wider. Outback is over eight inches longer. Forester is two inches taller.
Cargo and dog space
Subaru says, more than half of Subaru drivers are also pet owners. A large dog can stand up better in Forester because it's a little taller. But will be able to lounge better in the Outback because it's longer. We think most large dogs prefer to stand up and look out. Advantage Forester.
Many Subaru owners use their vehicle to get away from civilization to go mountain biking. Two adult mountain bikes fit easily inside the Outback, flat with the wheels on. They would fit in a Forester, too, but would require tilting the front wheels or removing them.
Rooftop cargo solutions
You can also carry those mountain bikes on top of a Subaru Outback and Forester. Except on Touring model, Outback offers standard roof rails (bars run front to back) and also integrated crossbars (bars run side to side). Roof rails are standard on all Foresters except base model. Crossbars are optional on all Forester models.
Many owners are looking for a vehicle that will tow a small camper, boat or multi-purpose trailer. Forester can tow a small utility trailer, but for a sailboat you'll need the Outback. The Subaru Outback has a 2,700 lb. rating with six preset gear ranges (3,000 lb. with optional 3.6-liter engine). The Forester has a 1,500 lb. tow rating with two preset gear ranges. More on Page 2.
Engines and fuel economy
Both Forester and Outback come standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder powerplant. Both produce 170 horsepower. Both will run on regular unleaded gasoline. Outback gets 25/32 city/highway mpg, features a larger 18.5 gallon tank, and will travel 591 miles. The Forester gets an EPA estimated 26/32 mpg and has a 15.9 gallon tank with a 508 mile range.
Outback has an optional 3.6-liter six cylinder engine producing 256 hp. It comes mated to a high-torque Lineartronic Continuously Variable automatic transmission. It gets 20/27 city/highway mpg. Forester features an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder engine producing 250hp. It comes mated with a high-torque Lineartronic Continuously Variable Transmission. It gets 23/28 city/highway mpg.
The 2017 Subaru Forester has a starting MSRP of $22,595*. The 2017 Subaru Outback starts at $25,645 (*not including destination $875). Go online here and build your car to get a better idea of the features and option packages.
Photo: Planet Subaru