Crosstrek vs forester 2018

Crosstrek vs forester 2018 DEFAULT

Subaru Outback vs. Subaru Crosstrek: Compare Cars

Don’t call them crossovers or SUVs. And don’t call them wagons. The Subaru Crosstrek and Subaru Outback are a unique, often-imitated breed, and they’re worth cross-shopping within the same showroom.

At out of 10 points, Outback rates higher on our scale, which isn’t surprising considering it’s roomier inside and more powerful. The Crosstrek comes in with a still respectable , and it’s priced considerably less when equipped about the same.

MORE: Read our Subaru Outback and Subaru Crosstrek reviews

First, the similarities: both the Outback and the Crosstrek are regular cars with lifted suspensions and standard all-wheel drive. The Outback is closely related to the Subaru Legacy sedan, while the Crosstrek is a Subaru Impreza hatchback with fender flares and a taller ride height.

Then again, that may be relative since these two tall wagons outsell their “regular” siblings.. Consumers prefer the higher seating position and the rugged looks that help these Subarus straddle the line between car and crossover. Moreover, with inches of ground clearance, power shuttled to all four wheels, and an off-road mode for their traction control systems, they’re both formidable four-wheelers on their own.

 Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

 Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

 Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

 Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

Outbacks are fitted with a larger, liter flat-4 rated at hp. A CVT is the only transmission available. Despite weighing more than the Crosstrek, the Outback is quicker, but still hardly a speed demon. The optional liter flat-6 rated at hp provides more robust acceleration at the expense of fuel economy.

Stick with the 4-cylinders and both Subarus are miserly: 29 mpg combined for the Crosstrek and a still impressive 28 mpg combined for the Outback, according to the EPA.

Over the road, both are smooth, comfortable cruisers that provide precise handling balanced with a soft ride. Neither is particularly sporty, but they’re confidence-inspiring and more fun to hustle through a curvy road than most crossovers and SUVs. The Outback is noticeably quieter, especially after Subaru added more sound deadening for the model year.

Neither is an off-road champ against true SUVs like the Toyota 4Runner, but these two Subarus are common sights on unpaved forest roads for a reason. They have plenty of ground clearance, big sidewalls for their tires, and a can-do attitude.

Creature comforts—for creatures, too

The Outback stretches more than a foot longer than the Crosstrek, which pays dividends in cargo space. Both Subarus have good room up front and plenty of space for rear seat passengers in outboard positions. The narrower Crosstrek can be tight for three in the middle and it doesn’t have quite as much rear-seat head room as its big brother. Also, only the Outback is available with rear-seat climate control vents and a heated rear bench.

The commodious Outback can haul more than 73 cubic feet of camping gear with its rear seat folded. With the back seat upright, that number drops to a still-respectable cubes, but it’s worth noting that the cargo area isn’t as tall as some crossovers.

Similarly, the Crosstrek isn’t a big item cargo hauler, but its cubic-foot maximum capacity is far superior to most other small crossovers.

With its low-sheen finishes and available matte faux wood trim, the Outback feels dressier inside than the Crosstrek. Still, Subaru has tried to give the Crosstrek a sporty feel with contrasting stitching and a standard fabric for the seats that’s more like outdoorsy clothing than typical inexpensive car upholstery.

 Subaru Crosstrek first drive

Subaru Crosstrek first drive

 Subaru Crosstrek first drive

Subaru Crosstrek first drive

 Subaru Crosstrek first drive

Subaru Crosstrek first drive

 Subaru Crosstrek

Subaru Crosstrek

Both share infotainment systems: a inch touchscreen on base models and an inch unit on higher-spec versions. Regardless of screen size, the infotainment systems are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and they have fast-responding, logical interfaces.

Pile on the options and both Subarus can feel fairly dressy inside, but only the Outback is available with a power passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, a power tailgate, and saddle brown leather.

The two crossovers share a safety story for the most part, too. They performed well in independent and federal crash-testing and all but base trims can be fitted with Subaru’s right-priced, high-content EyeSight suite of collision avoidance tech that includes adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

Equipped with the kind of features most buyers want, the price difference between the two shrinks partly because of the extra-cost automatic transmission in the Crosstrek. An Outback i Premium with EyeSight and a power tailgate runs a reasonable $30, Build up a Crosstrek i Premium with EyeSight and you’re on the hook for exactly $5, less—$25, That’s no accident.

One thing we didn’t mention: only the Crosstrek can be ordered in an eye-catching orange paint scheme. For us, that’s a plus. For you, it may come down to what size is best. Carry passengers and gear often, and the Outback makes more sense. If it’s just you and one other—plus a furry friend—the Crosstrek is city-sized and might be just right.  

MORE: Compare detailed specs for Subaru Crosstrek and Subaru Outback


The Subaru Crosstrek smooths over the edges that we didn’t like with the last version. It’s smooth, quiet, and capable—all good things because it won’t be rushed.

Unless you really need three rows of seats, the Subaru Outback is the sensible SUV alternative.


The Subaru Crosstrek will be like your favorite pair of jeans&#x;suitable for daily duty, if not wholly at home at a formal affair.

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The Subaru Outback&#x;s handsome looks have been updated this year, but you&#x;ll have to squint to see the differences.

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The Subaru Crosstrek doesn&#x;t change the formula from previous iterations: flat-4, competent transmissions, and capable all-wheel drive. You could find better performance, but it&#x;d cost tens of thousands more.

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The Subaru Outback rides well and is quieter than ever, even if its engines are lackluster.

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Comfort & Quality

Comfort isn&#x;t the Crosstrek&#x;s first mission, but it&#x;s the one that&#x;s most dramatically improved for this year.

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It may be shaped like a tall wagon, but the Subaru Outback bundles impressive utility with a classy interior.

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The Subaru Crosstrek earns top marks for crash safety and prevention.

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The Subaru Outback is available with a wide array of high-tech safety features and has done well in crash-testing.

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The Subaru Crosstrek makes a compelling value proposition in base models.

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The Subaru Outback offers a configuration for just about every budget.

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Fuel Economy

The Subaru Crosstrek manages to be fuel-efficient, even with standard all-wheel drive.

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The most popular Subaru Outback engine sips fuel; the more powerful option is a bit of a guzzler.

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from $21,

from $25,


from $20,

from $24,

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway


Regular Unleaded H-4, L

Regular Unleaded H-4, L



Compare Jeep Cherokee vs Subaru Crosstrek

Select style

Latitude 4x4

StyleMPG CityMPG HwyInvoiceMSRP
Cherokee Latitude 4x4 21 28 $25, $25,
Cherokee Latitude FWD 21 30 $24, $24,
Cherokee Latitude Plus 4x4 21 28 $27, $27,
Cherokee Latitude Plus FWD 21 30 $25, $26,
Cherokee Latitude Tech Connect 4x4 21 28 $25, $25,
Cherokee Latitude Tech Connect FWD 21 30 $24, $24,
Cherokee Limited 4x4 21 28 $30, $31,
Cherokee Limited FWD 21 30 $29, $29,
Cherokee Overland 4x4 20 27 $36, $37,
Cherokee Overland FWD 21 30 $33, $34,
Cherokee Trailhawk 4x4 19 25 $30, $30,

Select style


StyleMPG CityMPG HwyInvoiceMSRP
Crosstrek i CVT 27 33 $21, $22,
Crosstrek i Limited CVT 27 33 $24, $26,
Crosstrek i Manual 23 29 $20, $21,
Crosstrek i Premium CVT 27 33 $22, $23,
Crosstrek i Premium Manual 23 29 $21, $22,
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* 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.

** EPA-estimated fuel economy. Actual mileage may vary. For Crosstrek Hybrid, EPA-estimated MPG equivalent on a full battery charge. Actual mileage will vary.

$1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks.

***Limited warranties are contingent on age and mileage. Whatever comes first concludes the warranty.

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Crosstrek or Forester: Which Subaru SUV Is Right For You?

We compare the Subaru Crosstrek and Subaru Forester SUVs to determine which is right for you.

The Subaru Forester is a popular small SUV offering standard all-wheel drive and active safety systems, but Subaru also has a smaller, less expensive SUV for those with limited parking and budgets: the Crosstrek. Similar in size and price, how do you decide which is right for you and your family? We broke it down for you.

How Much More Is the Forester Than the Crosstrek?

Subaru's smallest and most affordably crossover, the Crosstrek is priced at just $23, to start. For that, you get a manual transmission, so to make a more fair comparison to the automatic-only Forester, the starting price would be $24, The Forester is the next size up and comes with more standard equipment, but only costs $ more to start at $25,

If saving fuel and the environment is a high priority, you'll be interested to know Subaru offers a Crosstrek Hybrid, but not a Forester hybrid. A plug-in hybrid that can be driven on pure battery power, the Crosstrek Hybrid is significantly more expensive at $36,, but it's only offered as a fully loaded model with minimal options. A fully loaded Crosstrek Limited costs $30,, while a fully loaded Forester Limited costs $33, Of course, the Crosstrek Hybrid will qualify for some local, state, and federal tax credits to help offset its higher price by potentially thousands of dollars.

Does the Crosstrek Have as Much Space as the Forester?

While Subaru engineers do a good job of making their vehicles as spacious as possible, there's no getting around the fact the Forester is a larger vehicle. Several inches longer and taller, it's got more room inside across the board.

In terms of passenger space, the Forester offers more total interior volume, cubic feet ( cu ft with the optional moonroof) compared to cu ft for the Crosstrek ( cu ft with the moonroof) and cu ft for the Crosstrek Hybrid ( with the moonroof). This translates to more head, leg, hip, and shoulder room in both the front and back seats of the Forester, an inch or two in every direction. This could be critical extra space for taller or larger families.

Similarly, the Forester has significantly more cargo space than the Crosstrek. With the rear seats up, the Forester has cu ft of space ( cu ft with the moonroof) to the Crosstrek's cu ft. Put the seats down and the Forester opens up to cu ft ( cu ft with the moonroof) and the Crosstrek to cu ft. The Forester's cargo floor is also inches lower than the Crosstreks, so you won't have to lift heavy items as high to load and unload them.

The Crosstrek Hybrid has even less cargo space (and no spare tire) as the battery pack is hidden under the cargo floor. As a result, it offers cu ft of space with the rear seats up and cu ft with the seats down.

Does the Crosstrek or Forester Get Better Fuel Economy?

In general, smaller, lighter cars get better fuel economy, and this is true for the Crosstrek and Forester when all things are equal. Equipped with the continuously variable automatic transmission and base liter engine, the Crosstrek is rated at 28/33/30 mpg city/highway/combined by the EPA compared to 26/33/29 mpg for the Forester. There is an exception, though. The Crosstrek is also offered with a less-efficient manual transmission and the same engine, which is rated at 22/29/25 mpg.

For , Subaru introduced a new, larger, more-powerful liter engine. Available only with the CVT, it's rated at 27/34/29 mpg, still better than the Forester.

The Crosstrek also has an ace up its sleeve: the Crosstrek Hybrid. A plug-in hybrid, it can be charged at home or in public and drive 17 miles on battery power before starting its gasoline engine. On gasoline, it's rated at 35 mpg combined.

Is the Crosstrek or the Forester Safer?

Both the Crosstrek and Forester have been crash-tested by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and both performed very well. In both tests, however, the Forester performed slightly better.

In the government test, NHTSA rated both cars five stars overall, but neither was perfect. The Forester rated four stars on the rollover test but five stars on both front and side impact tests. The Crosstrek got four stars on both the rollover and frontal crash tests and five stars on the side impact test.

IIHS rates both cars with its highest "Good" rating in nearly every category, with both struggling on the headlight test. While both cars got "Good" ratings for their optional headlights, the Forester received an "Acceptable" rating for its standard headlights and the Crosstrek's standard headlights were rated "Poor." Because of this, the Crosstrek only receives a Top Safety Pick award, whereas the Forester was named a Top Safety Pick+.

In either case, both the Crosstrek and Forester came close to acing their crash tests and both will protect you well in a crash. However, the Forester is equipped with Subaru's Eyesight active safety system standard, while it's an option on the Crosstrek.

Crosstrek Performance Versus Forester Performance

Although the Forester is more powerful than the Crosstrek, it's also larger and heavier. As a result, the two have very similar performance when merging on the freeway. The Crosstrek takes between and seconds to reach 60 mph from a stop depending on how it's configured. The Forester, meanwhile, needs between and seconds to do the same depending on configuration. The Crosstrek Hybrid, with the advantage of electric assistance, is tied for quickest at seconds to 60 mph.

The Crosstrek stops from 60 mph in as little as feet, while the Forester stops in as little as feet. Both the Crosstrek and Forester generated as much as g of grip in a skid pad handling test.

Should I Get a Crosstrek or a Forester?

We're big fans of both the Crosstrek and Forester at MotorTrend, and the two are so closely matched in performance, safety, and fuel economy you can't go wrong either way. While the savings of the Crosstrek are appealing, both in starting price and fuel saved, they could easily be offset by the Forester's greater space for people and cargo, its slightly better safety ratings, and better standard equipment. Unless you have specific needs such as a manual transmission or a very tight budget, it's hard not to recommend going with the Forester.



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2018 forester crosstrek vs

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Subaru Crosstrek vs Subaru Forester: Whats the Difference?

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