When it's time to head out on your next adventure through Norwich, Oneonta, and Sidney, NY, will you be hitting the road in the 2021 Subaru Outback or Subaru Forester? These two SUVs have a lot in common and would be a great fit for any local driver. However, it's important to examine their key differences to help you find your best match.

To help you with that, the team at Bill Rapp Subaru of Norwich compared these vehicles. Check out what we found below. Then, give us a call to test drive your favorite Subaru!

2021 Outback vs Forester: Powerful Powertrain Specs


At first look, the powertrains of the 2021 Subaru Outback and Subaru Forester are very similar. They both come standard with the 2.5L SUBARU BOXER® I-4 engine that produces 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. This engine pairs with the smooth-shifting and efficiency-optimizing Lineartronic® Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

They also both come standard with the Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system that provides maximum traction control by distributing power evenly among all four wheels. One big difference, however, is in how much they can tow with this engine, as you can see in the table below:


2021 Subaru Outback

2021 Subaru Forester

Standard engine



Towing capacity

2,700 pounds

1,500 pounds

Not only can the Outback tow more, it also has an available 2.4L turbocharged SUBARU BOXER® I-4 engine that produces 260 horsepower and has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. This can make the Outback the favorite among drivers who do a lot of heavy towing.

Outback vs Forester: Smarter Powertrain Specs

However, while the Outback may be the preferred SUV among adventurous drivers taking a small boat or jet ski out to the Finger Lakes for a weekend getaway, the Forester tends to be a big hit with families staying closer to home.

This is because the Forester powertrain sets itself up for more success when it comes to: driving in stop-and-go traffic; carpooling; commuting; or waiting in the drop-off line when you take the kids to school in the morning, for example. The Forester powertrain includes SI-Drive, which includes Intelligent Mode for those times you need to conserve fuel during city driving.

The Forester also comes standard with Auto Start-Stop, which helps to reduce unnecessary fuel use during city driving. It works by powering down the engine during extended waits at stop signs and traffic lights.

Subaru Outback vs Subaru Forester Interior


Whether you're sitting behind the wheel of the Subaru Outback or Subaru Forester, you can expect to enjoy a comfortable interior. Both SUVs are 2-row vehicles that can easily seat five passengers. However, we noticed that there's a slight difference in their overall interior specs:


Subaru Outback

Subaru Forester

Passenger volume

109 cubic feet

111.9 cubic feet

Trunk volume

32.5 cubic feet

31.1 cubic feet

Cargo volume (maximum)

75.7 cubic feet

76.1 cubic feet

The Forester has slightly more passenger volume than the Outback, and a tad more overall cargo volume. Conversely, the Outback provides a bit more trunk space behind the second-row seats than the Forester does.

Regardless, both vehicles keep you comfortable and cozy with available heated seats. They also both come standard with the STARLINK® multimedia system. This includes a touchscreen display in the center stack that keeps you connected via Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ smartphone integration. Both systems have an available integrated navigation system, as well. 

Will You Drive the Subaru Outback or Subaru Forester?

Now that you know how the 2021 Subaru Outback and Subaru Forester compare, which one will you captain around the Oneonta, Norwich, and Sidney, New York, area? The team at Bill Rapp Subaru of Norwich can help you decide, so contact us and test drive a Subaru today!

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Bill Rapp Subaru of Norwich

4814 State Highway 23
Directions Norwich, NY 13815

  • Sales: 607-334-2224
  • Service: 607-334-2224
  • Parts: 607-334-2224


  • Monday 08:30 AM - 06:00 PM
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  • Saturday 08:30 AM - 05:00 PM
  • Sunday Closed