How do the Subaru Crosstrek, Outback and Forester compare?

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Cartelligent clients love Subarus for their rugged good looks, reliability and exceptional safety ratings. We've compiled the details for three of our most popular models the Crosstrek and Outback wagons, and the Forester SUV.


Crosstrek vs. Outback vs. Forester?

In this article, we've configured a sample vehicle for each car and then examined some of the key differentiating factors. We've based our sample models on popular choices among Cartelligent clients.

  • 2016 Subaru Crosstrek 2.0i Premium: Our sample Crosstrek is equipped with the 2.0i Premium trim. Features include EyeSight driver assistance, all-wheel drive, and heated seats. MSRP as configured is $26,705.

  • 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium: We've chosen a 2016 Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium. Features include EyeSight driver assistance, all-wheel drive, blind-spot monitoring, and heated seatsMSRP as configured is $30,756.

  • 2017 Subaru Forester 2.5i LimitedWe've equipped a sample 2017 Subaru Forester with all-wheel drive, navigation, EyeSight driver assistance, and leather-trimmed upholstery. MSRP as configured is $34,420.


Vehicle Comparison

We'll look at the features of each vehicle side-by-side.

  Crosstrek Outback Forester
Model Type 2016 Crosstrek 2.0i Premium 2016 Outback 2.5i Premium 2017 Forester 2.5i Limited
MSRP $26,705 $30,756 $34,420


Engine and Fuel Economy

  Crosstrek Outback Forester
Engine 2.0L DOHC 2.5L DOHC 2.5L DOHC
Horsepower 148 175 170
City mpg 26 25 26
Highway mpg 34 33 32


All three vehicles offer comparable fuel economy; the Outback and the Forester offer a larger engine and greater horsepower.



  Crosstrek Outback Forester
Seating 5 5 7
Cargo volume (behind seats) 22.3 ft3 35.5 ft3 31.5 ft3
Cargo volume (rear seats folded) 51.9 ft3 73.3 ft3 68.5 ft3


The Crosstrek provides about 71% of the Outback's cargo volume when all rows of seats are folded down. The Outback offers the most cargo capacity both with the seats up and completely folded.



  Crosstrek Outback Forester
IIHS rating Top Safety Pick+ Top Safety Pick+ Top Safety Pick+
Rearview camera Available Available Available
Crash prevention Available Available Available


All three vehicles are Insurance Institue for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Picks+ when configured with the optional EyeSight crash prevention system.


Cost to purchase: Crosstrek vs. Outback vs. Forester

First, we'll examine the cost of each when purchased. All payments represent pricing based on market conditions at the time of writing.

  Crosstrek Outback Forester
MSRP $26,705 $30,756 $34,420
Down payment $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $460 $510 $560
Total of payments over five years $29,640 $32,590 $35,540


The Crosstrek is around $50/month less than the Outback and saves about $3,000 in payments over the course of five years. Similarly, the Forester is about $50 more per month than the Outback and costs about $3,000 more over the course of the loan.


Cost to lease: Crosstrek vs. Outback vs. Forester

Next, we'll compare the three vehicles on a three-year, 12,000 mile/year lease.

  Crosstrek Outback Forester
MSRP $26,705 $30,756 $34,420
Down payment $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $270 $305 $325
Lease disposition fee $350 $350 $350
Total of payments over three years $12,300 $13,525 $14,225


The Crosstrek is again the lowest cost option, saving about $35/month and $1,200 over the course of the lease. The Forester is about $700 higher than the Outback and leases for $20 more per month.


Which to buy: Crosstrek, Outback or Forester?

All three vehicles can be fantastic options depending on your personal circumstances. Your Cartelligent agent can talk you through the pros and cons of each vehicle (as well as any other brands) to help you make an educated decision.


Whether you want a new Subaru SUV or any other new car, Cartelligent can help you get a great deal on exactly what you want. Call our team of car-buying experts at 888-427-4270 or get started today.