Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: La Crosse area, Wisconsin
Car Year: 12
Car Model: Premium
We own a Forester and looked hard at Outbacks a few times, both XT and 2.5i models. The Forester is my car and I was also considering a WRX Sport Wagon at the time. When deciding to replace my wife's car, it was between a Legacy or an Outback. They share the same platform so both cars felt somewhat similar. Mechanically they are a wash, and they also share motors (for the most part) with the Forester.
So here's what I think: The Forester is great for my working car - cargo capability is very good and it isn't so nice that I'm afraid to abuse it a little bit. The Outback is a very nice car, especially when you go up a few trim levels. This would be our choice for a family car if we didn't already own another wagon (my Forester). We ended up with a Legacy sedan after about a week of deliberation. If not for already owning the Forester, we'd have an Outback in the driveway, for her.
Forester: more suitable for rough-and-tumble
Outback: can also do the outdoorsy stuff but it's a nicer vehicle so would be ideal for family duty and if luxury is a concern.
Hard to go wrong with either one - both are great cars.
'12 Forester, 5spd - hers
'08 Legacy SE, 5spd - hers
'09 OB SE, 5spd - mine