2012 Subaru Forester vs. 2012 Subaru Outback: Which One Should I Buy?

When you need to get there in style and possibly by crossing a rocky creek or mountain path, the mid-size SUV/crossover is the vehicle of choice. These semi-large people-movers provide a lot of range and a lot of space, but without the super-high price tag of the larger SUVs. A good interim step between a large family sedan and a mid-size SUV or van, these vehicles are multi-purpose and can be a lot of fun to drive.

The Subaru Forester and the Subaru Outback are very similar models, with the main difference being the few extra options that the Outback offers and a little bit of a different look. The Outback is slightly more expensive in the base model, but again – it’s nothing to make most consumers pause before taking an extra look.

subaru outback 2012
2012 Subaru Outback

Interior Options

Many people could be drawn to the heated front seats that come standard on the Outback as well as the heated seatback, and the slightly more generous rear seat bench split of 65/35 instead of 60/40 in the Forester, but these changes are small. Both vehicles offer cloth seats and a standard CD player, but the entertainment system in the Outback wins hands-down with the option for a 2nd row LCD screen and the installed DVD player to keep the kids quiet on long road trips.

Stay Safe and Secure

The Outback and the Forester could be the same vehicle if you’re looking strictly at the safety and security features: both come with curtain 1st and 2nd row airbags standard, ABS and driveline traction control, height adjustable seatbelts, halogen headlights, standard daytime running lights and standard rear child safety door locks – everything that you would expect in a higher-end vehicle.

Exterior Features

While many things are similar, when you compare the exterior options you will see where the Outback earns its extra dollars. The heated door mirrors, standard roof rack and rails make it a sportier option; the two vehicles both have 16” steel tires, mud flaps and fixed interval rear window wipers to keep the view clean.

Economical Driving

Both the Subaru Forester and the Subaru Outback provide reasonable fuel economy with 21 and 19 mpg respectively for city and the same 27 mpg highway driving. There is little difference in their ¼ mile time or speed and while the Outback has a slightly higher curb weight, the difference is minimal.

Either of these two options will provide a solid entry into the mid-size SUV class – with high-quality interiors, good safety features and basic entertainment options even in the base model.


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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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