2021 Subaru Forester vs 2021 Subaru Outback Comparison in Huntington Beach, CA

The 2021 Subaru Forester and 2021 Subaru Outback are almost the exact same size when it comes to interior volume, legroom and cargo space -- so how do you know which one is right for you? It's easier with information like this from McKenna. Find out below what the differences are between these popular two-row SUVs. We'll explain what's different when it comes to features, performance, technology and design, so you can select the one that fits your needs.

2021 Subaru Forester vs 2021 Subaru Outback Exterior

Exterior Design

While they're roughly identical in interior capacity, it's not hard to tell there are some size differences between these two cars. With generous headroom and a more squared-off shape, the Subaru Forester is shaped like a traditional SUV, and that makes it great for families. It's no trouble getting strollers and suitcases in and out of the back thanks to a wide, spacious cargo area. Meanwhile, the 2021 Subaru Outback is longer overall with a lower roofline, shaped more like a station wagon. That means it's got a little bit less passenger and cargo volume.

However, on the exterior, the 2021 Subaru Outback brings some additional features. It comes standard with roof rails with retractable crossbars, making it easier to carry outdoor gear or extra cargo. Roof rails will cost you extra as an option on the 2021 Subaru Forester. Furthermore, the Forester comes with steel wheels and covers, whereas every 2021 Subaru Outback features sculpted alloy wheels for even more style.

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2021 Subaru Forester vs 2021 Subaru Outback Interior

Interior Features

When it comes to legroom, both these cars are almost the exact same size, with comfortable seating for five passengers. So, you'll have to look at the features to pick the right one for you, rather than size. The 2021 Subaru Outback has the latest Subaru STARLINK™ multimedia system. At the entry-level, a pair of 7-inch touchscreens provide controls for the climate settings, stereo, smartphone features and more. Or, upgrade to a higher trim level and get an 11.6-inch touch display! In the 2021 Subaru Forester, the STARLINK™ system is much the same, but your screens are a bit smaller. Entry-level models feature a single 6.5-inch touchscreen display, or upgrade to an 8-inch screen. Both models provide standard Apple CarPlay® as well as Android Auto™ so you can easily pair your compatible mobile device.

And at the top of the line, the 2021 Subaru Outback offers some exclusive luxury features -- like ventilated front seats, Nappa leather upholstery and a hands-free power rear gate with foot gesture opening -- that the 2021 Subaru Forester does not currently offer.


At the entry-level, the 2021 Subaru Outback and Forester both come with the same, naturally aspirated BOXER® engine, cranking out 182 horsepower. And since they're about the same size and weight, they'll get similar fuel economy: up to 33 MPG! That's good, but it's even better when you consider that all-wheel drive comes standard on both models. You'll enjoy better handling grip and off-road prowess. All-wheel drive can cost you thousands as an upgrade on rival SUVs, and can mean a big hit to fuel economy numbers compared to front-wheel drive models. So, when you consider the value you get from a new Subaru, you can see why it's a better choice when you want more performance for less!

Need more power? Upgrade to the 2021 Subaru Outback XT and get a turbocharged BOXER® engine cranking out 260 horsepower for an even more spirited drive! By contrast, there's no engine upgrade available for the 2021 Subaru Forester.

2021 Subaru Forester vs 2021 Subaru Outback Features


If you need to carry more gear, the standard roof rails aren't the only thing that make the 2021 Subaru Outback especially suited for outdoor adventuring. For bringing along that small camper, light boat or ATV, the 2021 Subaru Outback XT models can tow up to 3,500 pounds! Even standard Outback models can tow up to 2,700 pounds. The 2021 Subaru Forester is able to do some light towing of 1,500 pounds, but consider the Outback XT if you want greater towing capacity without stepping up to the three-row Subaru Ascent SUV.

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Find The Perfect Subaru For Life In Southern California At McKenna

No matter which Subaru model is right for you, the place to see it, test drive it and bring one home is McKenna Subaru. Browse the links below to keep exploring the current Subaru lineup, or see all the Outback and Forester models currently in our inventory. At McKenna, we strive to provide a better dealership experience. So you get the car that's best for your family. We want you to take your time, do your research, and find a Subaru Outback or Forester you're sure to love at a price you're sure to like at McKenna!

2021 Subaru Forester2021 Subaru Outback
$24,795Starting MSRP* $26,795
182Standard Horsepower182
176Standard Torque (lb.-ft.)176
None AvailableEngine Upgrade260-hp Turbo Engine
1,500Towing Capacity (lbs.)2,700 (Standard Engine) / 3,500 (Upgraded Engine)
111.9Passenger Volume (cu. ft.)109
31.1 Standard / 76.1 MaximumCargo Capacity (cu. ft.)32.5 Standard / 75.7 Maximum
6.5" TouchscreenStandard InfotainmentDual 7" Touchscreens
Available UpgradeHigh Beam AssistStandard Feature
Available UpgradeRoof RailsStandard Feature

*Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.