We have had all three! I had first a 2011 and then a 2014 Forester (both Limiteds) I really wanted to get Eyesight and would have to wait a total of 6 months to get a 2017 Forester (Touring), so I opted to get an Outback Limited. In 2020 I traded in on a 2020 Forester Touring. This year my husband traded in his 2017 Impreza on a 2021 Crosstrek.I currently have a 2020 Limited Outback XT --- prior to that had a 2016 Limited Legacy with the 3.6 -- I like the Outback but its a feels a little bulky for lack of a better word -- it is just me in vehicle most all the time -- have 2 kids that will both be in college this fall so they are rarely with me anymore sadly -- the Outback has an incredible ride on the interstate but in town driving its just too big for what I really need -- I am not a fan of the turbo lag in the XT at all the 3.6 was a much smoother engine imo -- had to have some maintenance on the Outback -- they gave me a 2021 Crosstrek with the 2.0 engine --- it was a blast to drive and I may consider a 2021 Crosstrek with the 2.5 engine or the 2021 Forester in probably limited or touring -- I am thinking that the Forester may be the happy medium -- has anyone else downsized to Forester and/or Crosstrek and been satisfied??
Here‘s the lowdown: The Crosstrek (with the newly available larger engine) is a fun zippy car, my husband loves it, but the available options are less then the Forester. Top line (Limited) and fully loaded he could not get luxuries like a heated steering wheel, electronic parking break, dual climate control, which the Forester offers. The Outback offers a step up from the Forester with additional options that you can’t get on the Forester, like the 180 system, but the Forester and Outback are much more similar, as both cater to a more upscale buyer. The seating position on both the Crosstrek and Forester are more upright (SUV type) while the Outback is a lower car like position. The Outback has enormous cargo space with all seats up, the Forester is adequate but not huge. Personally, for empty nesters ( like us) I prefer the Forester.