How do the Subaru Outback, Forester and Ascent compare?

2019 Subaru Ascent California
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Subaru is a popular brand among Cartelligent clients and their line rugged crossovers and SUVs are always among our top-sellers. With the advent of the all-new Ascent, a number of clients have asked for help comparing the series. To that end, we've compiled the details of the Outback, Forester, and Ascent so that you can weigh the benefits of each and decide which option is right for you.


Outback vs. Forester vs. Ascent?

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.

  • 2019 Outback 2.5i Limited: Our sample Outback is the Limited equipped with leather-trimmed upholstery, EyeSight Driver Assist, Harman Kardon audio, and navigation. MSRP, as configured, is $36,915.

  • 2019 Forester Limited: We've chosen a Forester Limited equipped with leather-trimmed upholstery, EyeSight Driver Assist, Harman Kardon audio, and navigation. MSRP, as configured, is $34,330.

  • 2019 Ascent LimitedWe've equipped a sample 2019 Ascent Limited leather-trimmed upholstery, EyeSight Driver Assist, Harman Kardon audio, and navigationMSRP, as configured, is $42,920.


Vehicle Comparison

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

  Forester Forester Ascent
Model Type 2019 Outback 2.5i Limited 2019 Forester Limited 2019 Ascent Limited
MSRP $36,915 $34,330 $42,920


Engine and Fuel Economy

  Outback Forester Ascent
Engine 2.5L Subaru Boxer 4-cyl 2.5L Subaru Boxer 4-cyl 2.5L Subaru Boxer 4-cyl
Horsepower 175 182 260
City mpg 25 26 20
Highway mpg 32 33 26


The Outback and the Forester have comparable fuel economies. The Ascent both offers the most powerful engines of the three. 



  Outback Forester Ascent
Seating 5 5 7
Cargo volume (behind seats) 35.5 ft3 35.4 ft3 17.6 ft3
Cargo volume (rear seats folded) 73.3 ft3 76.1 ft3 86.5 ft3


The Outback and the Forester offer the most cargo volume when all the seats are up. The Ascent has an additional row of seating and has more cargo space with all seats folded down.



  Outback Forester Ascent
IIHS Rating Top Safety Pick Plus Top Safety Pick Top Safety Pick Plus
Crash prevention Available Available Available


Subaru is known for their safety, especially the top-rated Eyesight crash prevention system, making all three vehicles an excellent choice.


Cost to purchase: Outback vs. Forester vs. Ascent

First, we'll examine the cost of each when purchased. We've assumed a 60-month term and an interest rate of 2.79%. All payments represent pricing based on market conditions at the time of writing. 

  Outback Forester Ascent
MSRP $36,915
$34,330 $44,634
Down payment $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $630 $560 $925
Total of payments over five years $39,670 $35,540 $51,175


The Forester is around $70/month less than the Outback and saves about $4,000 in payments over the course of five years. The all-new Ascent is about $365 more per month than the Forester and costs about $20,000 more over the course of the loan.


Cost to lease: Outback vs. Forester vs. Ascent

Next, we'll compare the three vehicles on a three-year, 10,000 mile/year lease.

  Outback Forester Ascent
MSRP $36,915 $34,330 $44,634
Down payment $2,500 $2,500 $2,500
Monthly payment (inc. tax) $385 $355 $480
Lease disposition fee $350 $350 $350
Total of payments over three years $16325 $15,275 $23,850


The Forester is again the lowest cost option, saving about $30/month and around $1,000 over the course of the lease vs. the Outback. The Ascent is priced higher than the Forester, leasing for a little under $125 more per month, or about $4,500 over the three-year lease.


Which to buy: Outback, Forester or Ascent

All three of these 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.