Originally Posted by davebee
the forester is actually made in japan.. whereas the legacy/outback is made in the u s of a. i found the outback had a much smoother ride.. probably due to the longer wheelbase..
Both are made in Japan.
The US made outbacks are for the US (and this question is about Aussie Outbacks I presume, which do come from Japan)
Offroad the Forester is probably a bit better. Shorter wheelbase and smaller overhangs. Clearance is claimed to be the same.
Neither is going to be an offroad monster. Both should get you through sand, mud and some rough stuff.
There are some threads here showing what the Forester can do offroad.
Or you can pop over to offroadsubarus.com - that has both Forester and Outback owners.
Both come with 2.5 engines in their base models, but the Outback as the 3l six (auto only) while the Forester has the 2.5l turbo.
The 3l is more powerful (180kW v 169) but the turbo has more torque and at lower revs (320Nm @ 3600 v 297 @ 4200)
I havent driven the 3l (I have an XT) but Im guessing the XT is much stronger in the mid range (say 2500-4000 rpm) but might be weaker when the turbo is off boost at around 2000.
Both are great cars. If you need the extra room in the back or in the back seats then the Outback is probably for you.