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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Outback v. Forester, why the 2 models?

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19 replies to this topic

#1 jim martin

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Posted 03 December 2003 - 07:31 PM

I need a new car. I actually prefer the look of the Outback. However, the Forester is a bit cheaper AND has side airbags, the OB does not. Why do they make these 2 models anyway? It seems like they just cannabalize (sp?) each other's sales anyway. Yes I know the Forester has some different dimensions and is a bit smaller. Is it noticeable? I have a kid & need a bigger car, not a smaller one.

#2 HB_Dad


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Posted 03 December 2003 - 07:43 PM

Good point. I also think the Outback and Legacy are also redundant to each other.

#3 nickb21


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Posted 03 December 2003 - 08:24 PM

I think some of the Outback models have side airbags, maybe just the LTD and H6's? Pretty sure the Legacy GT has side airbags too.

I thought the outback was a bit bigger interior wise and cargo, but I hear the forester is no slouch. I wasn't a big fan of the foresters body style though..

#4 Snowman


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Posted 03 December 2003 - 10:27 PM

This might be a bit cynical, but it's possible that subaru is making two models of basically the same thing so that they can offer more options (even though they're the same) and sell more cars. The forester has been marketed as an SUV, and the outback has been marketed otherwise, so the same basic car is sold to both groups of people.

#5 RallyKeith


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Posted 03 December 2003 - 10:54 PM

The Outback is a Legacy station wagon with some options. The Forester on the other hand is a small sized "SUV" car. The Forester doesn't really cut into the Outback sales, it Cuts into Explorer, Honda CRV, and Toyota Rav4 sales. The Outback is a bigger vehicle but at the same time should drive better than the Forester.


#6 remarcable


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Posted 03 December 2003 - 11:45 PM

The forester is (or was, have they updated?) built on the impreza platform, and handles better than the outback.

That was true in the 99 model year anyway.

I would personally opt for the turbo charged forester over the wrx wagon any day. Sleeper, anyone?

#7 kevinsUBARU



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Posted 03 December 2003 - 11:54 PM

An Outback will never be at the same level of performance (engine and handling) that a Forester will be at.

Theyre two totally different cars aimed at two different niches, which is what was already stated.

The Forester is better equiped and much better looking IMO, but just as a side note, my famliles 03 OB has side airbags, and its not a special trim level.


#8 kevinsUBARU



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Posted 03 December 2003 - 11:56 PM

Originally posted by remarcable
The forester is (or was, have they updated?) built on the impreza platform, and handles better than the outback.

That was true in the 99 model year anyway.

I would personally opt for the turbo charged forester over the wrx wagon any day. Sleeper, anyone?

Yeah, especially since the XT's have 240hp compared to 227 on the WRX. That guy with the 12 second Caravan even has a XT now and he is doing pretty damn good time wise...I think he was in the mid to low 13's stock last time I checked.

#9 AK-Brando


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Posted 04 December 2003 - 02:45 AM

Before I got my Legacy wagon I looked at the OB and the Forester side by side, even test drove both (back in '99). The OB is quite a bit bigger in cargo room and feels more "car-like" than the Forester. The Forester sits up a little higher in the seating (the seat base is taller than in the OB) and feels more "SUV-like". Comfort wise, I think the Forester seats fit me better than the OB (I like the taller seat base), but both are comfortable. I needed the extra room the wagon platform offered, so I got the Legacy.

When I was talking to the dealership they told me point blank the Forester was based on the Impreza platform and the Outback on the Legacy (obviously).

#10 subeman90



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Posted 04 December 2003 - 06:11 AM

There are differences... Trust me i have both. The biggest difference is the fact that you can't push it around an on ramp (the forester) nearly as fast as the OB. Also, the OB handles better because it is wider (wider is better....) and the ride is a little better too because of the bigger wheelbase.

love them both though....


#11 BlueSoob


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Posted 04 December 2003 - 09:52 AM

I gave up my Legacy for the Forester. It reminds me (the size and dimensions) of my beloved GL. It is so much more manuverable than my Legacy ever was. When I looked at the OBs, I couldn't stand how high the doors came up. It was too confining. On the other hand, I had become used to the length of my Legacy and now I have a hard time fitting things in the trunk. Hehee.
I think the Foresters look better than the OBs. As long as you're not trying to fit 3 adults in the backseat then you're ok.
If it helps any- I bought an 03 Forester 5spd.. a very zippy car.. even without the turbo ... I get an average of 28 mpg. I don't hear of many newer outbacks achieving that.

#12 DerFahrer


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Posted 04 December 2003 - 11:50 AM

No one here can undercut the Outback. Yes it is just a rebadged Legacy, but the Outback, ladies and gentlemen, is why we still are discussing new Subarus today. The Outback was such a success that it saved Subaru of America. The Legacy, while a fantastic car, did not appeal to a large enough demographic to rectify its development expenses until the Outback came out...

I have driven a used 99 Forester on a dealer lot, and I must say it was quite a fun little car to drive. I would definitely consider getting an X in a 5spd...

#13 Chip


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Posted 04 December 2003 - 12:00 PM

I think subaru wanted a slice of the huge SUV market. To do so they needed something that looked more truck than car. The Rav4 and CRV were their direct targets. The Forester fit right in.
Subaru has obviously been reading all the articles in car magazines about their products. Every article on the OB makes mention of the lack of acceleration. With the introduction of the new and upcomming motors we can finally we can use "quick" and "Subaru" in the same phrase. The normally aspirated North American OBs,(2.5L), are still one of the slowest cars on the road.
I'm reminded of it every time I pull out to pass.

#14 Meeky Moose

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Posted 04 December 2003 - 04:06 PM

well i know here in VA that a you have to pay SUV taxes on a forester, with an outback you pay the car taxes... SUV taxes are a bit higher...

so guess that clasifies the forester as a SUV and the Outback as a car...

#15 Sweet82


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Posted 04 December 2003 - 06:30 PM

I shopped for both, I didn't care which one I ended up with. I like them both. OBW are a nice looking car, Foresters are a little queer looking. Forester was about a grand cheaper for the same year.

If you compare spec for spec you'll see the Forester and Outback are more different than you may think. The Forester is set up more for off-road then the Outback (Clearance etc.)

Foresters seem more peppy to me!

82 Hatch, well it use to be.......
01 Forester, purchased for 1k under low book with low miles. :temper:

#16 Rooskie


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Posted 04 December 2003 - 08:09 PM

I have a 98 OBW & my parents have a 98 Forester S. The biggest difference is the leg room in the back seat. The Forester sucks for anyone with long legs! The OB is wonderful. I can have my seat all the way back and a back seat passenger behind me who is 5'11" and have no probs! Not so with the Forester. Also, the width of the back seat is narrower in the Forester.

When we compared the ground clearance, we didn't see much difference, just fractions. I guess it comes down to what you are looking for and want. If it were me with a kid...I would go for the OB. More passenger room. Put your kid in both and let them decide which is best! :) Good Luck.

#17 Ranger83


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Posted 05 December 2003 - 01:07 PM

Raod and Track said about the Forester"So is it a car or an SUV? I don't know...let's just call it a Subaru."

If you go to carpoint.com you can compare cars to get the difference.

The Forester is:

11.8" shorter
255 lbs lighter
.4" narrower
1.7" taller
has .2" more ground clearance

Might just be a local phenomena, but I don't know a single male Forester owner.
Outback owners I know are 50/50 male/female.

The Forester competes quite directly in the "Cute Ute" class with the Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute and Rover Freelander. The new Toyota RAV4 is still a bit shorter but is proably in the same vehicle class. Car & Driver tested them last year.

Don't know where the Honda Element fits in - it's even shorter and boxier.

#18 WagonsOnly


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Posted 05 December 2003 - 10:19 PM

I like the Forester better because it, like BlueSoob said, reminds me of the GL. It doesn't handle as well and the acceleration feels comparatively sluggish (even though I know it isn't, it just feels that way), but I think if I was in the same position I'd buy another.

As for the newer Outbacks, I think I would prefer a Legacy--lower to the ground, marginally better gas mileage and handling. But the Forester is just ther right size for me, right now, and it has some room to grow into.

Demographically speaking I think I've seen two males driving Foresters. ost owners seem to be 35-55 year old females. Subaru has indicated that most Forester owners work in service professions, are married and female, and earn $55-80K/yr. Being a 17-year-old single male, and working in a library, I naturally fit right in :-\ but if that doesn't bother you (it doesn't bother me) then let your kid choose for you, or figure out what niceties you really must have. (2 sunroofs, or one, or none if you get a Forester with an auto. Stick or auto. Leather. And so on.)

#19 Forester_Ranger


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Posted 07 December 2003 - 12:39 AM

I debated between the outback sport, outback and forester when i bought my Forester. I picked the forester because of it dimensions. I felt it was the most off-road capable of the three.

#20 cookie


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Posted 07 December 2003 - 02:51 AM

Out back doesn't without working back and fourth.
Forester fits things I haul regulary inside the car.

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