Here’s a comparison between the Subaru Outback and the Subaru Forester. These models are two of the most popular SUVs in the country and after trying them it is easy to see why.

A Outback vs Forester is comparison you won’t see very often because its obviously not to the manufacturers benefit! Both cars essentially use the same technology and differ only in size and presentation. Note that 2011 will see the introduction of an all new basic engine for both models!

You would be in the market for a mid-range or top range Forester or contemplating the similar for the mid-range Outback which is fair enough for this comparison to work on a money level. To cut a long story short we’d choose the Outback – read on if you want to why.

First of all we have a love hate relationship with the Outback and we only think the Forester is an OK sort of SUV.
The only reason to pick the Forester is the cheaper price. However the cheaper price also means a cheaper feel. Even in top range Forester just does not have the exterior of interior design to match the Outback. The competition like the all new 2011 Kia Sportage is easily the better overall package to live with on a daily basis than the Forester. However badge snobs may disagree – we really don’t care.

The main reason to choose the Outback is that it feels more expensive (but doesn’t look any better unfortunately) than the Forester and it does drive better on the road. With the option of a V6 engine and more interior refinement certainly will make you feel better driving one. That said – while the Outback is better than the Forester, it’s competition is even better. For example the Nissan Murano and Kulger easily better than the Outback for the same money.

If not shopping in the same price bracket but not concerned about size then the VW Tiguan or the CRV sets the class standards in for this type of car.  However as we update this comparison in 2012 the imminent arrival of an all new CRV a Tiguan makes the Outback look over priced and under specified.

However we would also consider the base Volvo XC60 which can be had for about the same price as a top range Subaru Outback which looks and feels like a premium car with additional safety and more family friendly features than the Outback. Competition is good – so the decision is yours.

Subaru Outback Subaru Forester (S3)

F4 Petrol
B4 Petrol
SOHC Boxer Engine EFI iAVLS
2.5 Litre (2457cc)
Claimed 123Kw @ 5600RPM
Claimed 229Nm @ 4000RPM

F4 Diesel
Turbo-charged – Intercooler
Direct Injection – Common Rail
2 Litre (1998cc)
Claimed 110Kw @ 3600RPM
Claimed 350Nm @ 1800RPM

H6 Petrol
H6 DOHC Boxer engine EFI Dual AVCS
3.6 Litre (3630cc)
Claimed 191Kw @ 5600RPM
Claimed 350Nm @ 4400RPM

F4 Cylinder (EJ25)
DOHC VVT EFI Petrol (91 Octane)
2.5 Litre (2457cc)
Claimed 126Kw @ 5800RPM
Claimed 235Nm @ 4100RPM

F4 Cylinder Turbo (EJ25DET)
2.5 Litre (2457cc)
Claimed 169Kw @ 5200RPM
Claimed 320Nm @ 2800RPM

F4 Cylinder Turbo (EE20 series)
DOHC Turbo Inter-cooled
2.0 Litre (1998cc)
Claimed 108Kw @ 3600RPM
Claimed 350Nm @ 1800RPM


Kerb weight 1580 – 1630Kg
Towing capacity up to 1500kg

Kerb weight 1480 – 1525Kg
Towing capacity up to 1400kg

Fuel capacity & consumption  

Up to 58 litres
IL4 Petrol 10 Lts per 100km AVG (Auto)

Up to 64 litres
F4 Petrol 9.3Lts per 100km AVG (Auto)
F4 Petrol 9.3Lts per 100km AVG (Turbo)
F4 Diesel 6.0 Lts per 100km AVG (Auto) 

Other specifications  

6 speed manual or 5 speed Auto
Overall Height/Width 1680/1820
Overall Length/Wheelbase 4565/2605
4WD system: On demand AWD
ANCAP Safety: 4/5

5 speed manual or 4 speed Auto 
Overall height/width 1700/1795
Overall length/wheelbase 4560/2615
4WD system: AWD
Dual range gearbox on manuals only
Tyre size: 225-55-17 or 215-65-16
ANCAP Safety: 5/5 


Angle of: (degrees)
Approach xx Departure xx Breakover xx
Ground clearance (unloaded) xxxmm
Water Fording depth xxmm Max

Angle of: (degrees) 
Approach xx Departure xx Breakover xx
Ground clearance (unloaded) xxxmm
Water Fording depth xxmm Max


Petrol (non-tubro)
0-100Kph:9.5 secs

0-100Kph: 7.9 secs (Turbo petrol)
0-100kph 10.4 seconds (petrol) 
0-100kph 10.4 seconds (diesel)


2010 $37,990 – 55,990 AUD
*Always check with the dealer for up to date pricing, specifications, on-road costs, accessories and specials etc.. everything as usual is subject to change!

2012 $32,990 – 47,490 AUD
2010 $30,990 – 47,490 AUD