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Discussion Starter #1
So I am really looking to buy a new car soon, and in going back and forth between the forester and the outback I can't tell how Subaru is intending to differentiate them, other than the Outback is *slightly* larger and (in my opinion) looks worse, and has perhaps slightly more recent technology. The outback 2.5i limited seems to be exactly what I would want from a forester 2.5x, with the updated engine, transmission, and fuel economy that accompanies it. Since everyone seems to assume that the forester will be getting these things within the next year or two, what will be left as the differences between these two models (other than price). Am I missing something in comparing these two suvs / cuvs?
 

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2014 CVT
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824 Posts
to me, the outback has kept the form of a true wagon, were was the forester has headed off into the land of small SUV's.......others will kick and scream, but thats what i think, plus with the forester you get us!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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2006 XT Limited 4EAT
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Well, the body style will always be different (hopefully). If everyone assumes that the Forester will get everything that the Outback has, then I guess I assume there won't be much difference... In regards to the "Difference in purpose," to me, the Forester is the more off-road inclined one, but that's not to say the Outback can't hang too (@MudRunner). I don't guess we really know until we see the new Forester.
 

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2010 Forester(sold 11/12) Manual
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Just my opinion since I don't have an Outback....

Subaru seems to call the Outback a "wagon" and the Forester a "SUV".
Foz is shares its base with the Impreza and the Outback is a bigger car...about 4 more inches of wheelbase and 300 more lbs. Foz is about 3 inches taller, has less gasoline capacity and gets slightly worse gas mileage.

Foz has a tighter turning circle. Outback has illuminated visor mirrors. Woo-hoo. Ground clearance is the same.

Different transmissions...5 spd stick (Foz) versus 6 spd stick (OB)
...4 spd auto (Foz) versus CVT (OB) (on 4 cyl)
...5 spd auto on 6 for Outback

Different optional engine...Turbo 4 (Foz) versus 6 (OB)

3 more cubic feet of cargo space in Outback according to what I read. But the Foz has a taller rear cargo opening (from comparing it to an Outback that I park next to at the gym).

Dual climate controls on certain Outback models. Not on Foz.

Outback costs a couple grand more than the Foz.

Foz has adaptive speed control, reverse sensors, HD radio, XM radio, USB input, voice assisted navigation, HID headlights, 15 inch subwoofer, 7 tweeters, rain-sensing wipers, and driver information center standard. {I lied about all those things to see if you were reading.} :evilatyou:

I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
 

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2007 Mitsubishi Pajero 5spd Automatic
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Well there is some difference. For practical use I'm not sure if it does anything but here it goes.
The outback got longer wheelbase so I guess it's a bit different to drive around.
I also belive the outback got more overhang in front of the wheels. That is bad for offroading. (Not that they don't do great anyway :biggrin: )
Besides that there is some size differents cargo wise. length vs height.
So it's all up to what you want. And I agree with the statement above.
The foz is more suv then a stationwagon. Later generation anyway (SH)
 

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2006 XT Limited 4EAT
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I guess it all really depends on the kind of drive you want. IMHO, the Outback would be more for grocery-getting and tupperware party commutes, while the Foz would be more for slinging around dirt and the like. :raspberry:
 

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2009 2.5X EJ253 Manual
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Another way to look at it: Forester is based off of Subaru Impreza-- their entry level economy offering. Outback is based off the Subaru Legacy-- their more upscale mid size offering. Therefore, the Outback tends to have more refinement.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, I really appreciate all the replies. Would love it if they copied everything the legacy's have spec wise and applied it to the forester lineup (different transmissions, and possibly even engine and differential setups). The forum is definitely points in the forester's favor (really, having a community like this is insanely helpful). If only Subaru could hurry up and release those 2011 models already...
 

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Another way to look at it: Forester is based off of Subaru Impreza-- their entry level economy offering. Outback is based off the Subaru Legacy-- their more upscale mid size offering. Therefore, the Outback tends to have more refinement.
+1 the outback is supposed to be the "classy" upscale model. More interior refinement, quieter cabin, more refined ride quality, better technology packs etc. Also I'd say the forester is more for around town, camping, going to the hardware store etc while the outback is more for highway cruising, longer commutes etc. If you have kids you'll be driving around regularly I'd probably go more for the outback, however the 09+ forester got much more rear legroom so its not as much of a gap. The forester is perfect for a "young active couple". I think the impreza outback sport has taken over the segment that the 08 and earlier forester models used to occupy, and the new forester has sort of just been squeezed in to keep a model competitive with the Rav4 and similar.

I'm more curious to see what they're going to do with the tribeca, and if they're going to kill it off and bring the exiga from japan (more of a 7 passenger wagon than the SUV styling of the tribeca).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Since the legacy was brought up could someone please enlighten me with the arguments for going with a 4 cylinder turbo over a six cyclinder engine? It seems that the six costs less, makes nearly the same horsepower, requires MUCH less maintenance, and uses less expensive gas. I guess the turbo puts out its max torque at a significantly lower RPM, which I am assuming will make the car seem more responsive to the pedal (just guessing, I've never driven a turbo anything before). It seems to me that at least on paper the six is really the better all around deal. What are the advantages of the 4-turbo?
 

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Since the legacy was brought up could someone please enlighten me with the arguments for going with a 4 cylinder turbo over a six cyclinder engine? It seems that the six costs less, makes nearly the same horsepower, requires MUCH less maintenance, and uses less expensive gas. I guess the turbo puts out its max torque at a significantly lower RPM, which I am assuming will make the car seem more responsive to the pedal (just guessing, I've never driven a turbo anything before). It seems to me that at least on paper the six is really the better all around deal. What are the advantages of the 4-turbo?
6 is auto only, 4 turbo is manual only. The turbo can be modified much more easily for more power. There isn't really much you can do to get more power out of the 6. Also the new turbo setup on the 2010+ LGT is VERY good, better than on any of the other USDM turbo models.

However if you're going to stick with a stock vehicle, the new 3.6R models are amazing. Spectacular engine and with an exhaust they sound amazing (have the H6 porsche type exhaust note).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
How about in the case of the forester? Since there is no manual option in the forester XT, would it make more sense to just offer it with a six instead of the turbo? Does the higher torque at lower RPMs make it preferable to tow with a turbo over a six? Less overall strain on the engine and all that?
 

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2010 Forester XT Limited
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Since the legacy was brought up could someone please enlighten me with the arguments for going with a 4 cylinder turbo over a six cyclinder engine? It seems that the six costs less, makes nearly the same horsepower, requires MUCH less maintenance, and uses less expensive gas. I guess the turbo puts out its max torque at a significantly lower RPM, which I am assuming will make the car seem more responsive to the pedal (just guessing, I've never driven a turbo anything before). It seems to me that at least on paper the six is really the better all around deal. What are the advantages of the 4-turbo?
I used to have a 2005 Legacy GT LTD and I can say that the high octane gas usually only cost me about $3.00 a tank extra. That's because the high octane is usually only $0.20 a gallon more than the low grade stuff. A turbo is just a lot of fun to drive. You can really feel the power come as the engine builds up some RPMs.
 

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2006 V50 T5 6spd Manual
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I guess it all really depends on the kind of drive you want. IMHO, the Outback would be more for grocery-getting and tupperware party commutes, while the Foz would be more for slinging around dirt and the like. :raspberry:
HEY. THAT'S GOING TOO FAR. :lol:

Okay, okay... so I do go get groceries in it... then I sling it around the mud on the way home. I have the best of both worlds. :raspberry:

The way Lone Ranger looked at it is most accurate. The Foz is more economy oriented, the Outback is slightly more 'luxurious', though I would not really call it that. It's a Subaru... we don't do luxury that well.

My '00 Outback base model, stock for stock, is quieter, more comfortable (front seats in particular... I have STI sized side bolsters :rock: ), smoother riding, and has much thicker sheet metal (I'm not kidding) than my parents' loaded '05 Forester XS L.L. Bean Edition. The Foz is noticeably lighter (400lb difference in our cars) and handles as such. It's more squirrely on the highway, and gets tossed around in the breeze more. The Outback is much more planted, has wider rubber, and is more predictable and better composed at highway speeds. It lacks in approach, departure, and breakover angles, so the Foz will do better offroad. Foz is a bit easier to park, but the Outback isn't hard or anything. Foz is more nimble, loose, and tossable, the Outback is more planted, but will still make you grin ear to ear in the twisties.

Again, this is comparing an '00 to an '05... I don't know how the new models stack up side by side. The new outback m/t is a 6spd, the Forester a 5spd. The 3.6L H6 is one sweet engine, too, even mated to the 5spd auto (5EAT). Forester XT is only offered in 4spd auto (4EAT). So, in both cars, the upgraded engine is only available in A/T. :icon_frown:
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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I went with the XT over the H6 simply because I won't drive an auto. The fact that it's a more fun car to drive overall is just icing.
 

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Yeah, but you can't get that any more. :( No more Outback XT. Want turbo with a m/t on that platform, gotta get a Legacy.

...and BAC, where the heck are some pics of your OBW? I know it's gotta be sexy. Quit withholding the pics.
 

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2009 Outback XT-B 5MT
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Another reason I got an 09 instead of a 10. Needed a wagon, wanted an MT. It was the 09 XT or a '10 2.5i. I made the right choice.

I really would have liked the new low-mount turbo setup, but the new 6MT doesn't do it for me, and the 09 setup means parts are readily available. Best of all worlds.
 

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2010 Forester 2.5X Premiu
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I test drove both 2010 OB and Forester the same day. The OB felt more like my Acura CL in handling, but the CVT seemed to lag when I punched the gas. The Forester felt more like my Toyota 4x4 truck in the ride, and the 4AT seemed to deliver power more quickly when I stepped on the gas. I didn't try the Turbo, bec. I didn't want the gas mileage hit nor to have to keep buying Premium gas (which, in my area, is typically $.30 more).

I did like the OB's electronic parking brake though.
 

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How about in the case of the forester? Since there is no manual option in the forester XT, would it make more sense to just offer it with a six instead of the turbo? Does the higher torque at lower RPMs make it preferable to tow with a turbo over a six? Less overall strain on the engine and all that?
It would be amazing if they offered the 3.6 in the forester. The turbo 4 seems more "raw" and performance oriented in power delivery. The 3.6 just feels more powerful all around on a stock vehicle without it feeling like its on crack. I think for a daily driven forester my ultimate dream is the 3.6 with the 5AT, also I just can't stand dual exhaust pipes on a 4 cylinder!
 

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2010 2.0 X 5MT on LPG
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when i was buying a subaru i testdrove both forester 2.0x 2010 and outback 2.0diesel 2009.

i agree with most conclusions here and shortly in my opinion outback is more for open road and higher speeds and forester for off road and city driving.
but the differeces are not that much, i.e. i have forester and do mostly 130-150kmh highway driwing without a problem:)


if they were priced the same i would get outback (especialy with boxer diesel which was a rocket and was averaging 7.5 l/100 km of mixed driving) but here it costs cca. 30% more so it was an easy decision and forester is a great car;)
 
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