Subaru models are commonly sought after by Cartelligent clients – and for a good reason. The brand is known for manufacturing next-level crossovers that dominate the trail but remain practical and efficient enough to double as a high-quality daily driver. When you compare Subaru SUV models, like the Subaru Ascent vs. Forester, or Subaru Forester vs. Outback, it becomes apparent that these versatile crossovers are perfect for camping, commuting, and even cross-country travel. 

Since the latest addition to the lineup, the Subaru Ascent has had a nearly a half-decade since its debut to gain solid footing among the rest of the lineup – we can make a fair comparison of all three of the most sought-after Subaru crossovers. 

Subaru Ascent vs. Forester vs. Outback: Compare Subaru SUV Models 

In the following sections, we’ll demonstrate the top features of each crossover, in addition to our favorite standout characteristics of each specific model.

2023 Subaru Outback

The 2023 Subaru Outback includes 9 separate trim levels, including the Standard, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, Touring, Onyx Edition XT, Wilderness, Limited XT, and Touring XT.

2023 Subaru Outback

2023 Subaru Forester

The 2023 Subaru Forester includes 6 unique trims, including the Base, Premium, Sport, Wilderness, Limited, and the Touring.

2023 Subaru Forester

2023 Subaru Ascent

The 2023 Ascent checks in with 8 trim levels – the Base 8-Passenger, Premium 8 Passenger, Premium 7-Passenger, Onyx Edition 7-Passenger, Limited 8-Passenger, Limited 7-Passenger, Onyx Edition Limited 7-Passenger, and Touring 7-Passenger.

2023 Subaru Ascent


Model Type2023 Subaru Outback
2023 Subaru Forester
2023 Subaru Ascent
Base 8-Passenger

Engine and Fuel Economy

Engine2.5L SUBARU BOXER® 4-Cylinder2.5L SUBARU BOXER® 4-Cylinder2.4L Turbocharged SUBARU BOXER® 4-Cylinder
City MPG252620
Highway mpg323226

The Outback and Forester are nearly identical in their horsepower and MPG offerings. The Ascent, while delivering slightly less-efficient fuel economy, yields much more impressive horsepower output. 


Seating Capacity557-8
Cargo volume (behind seats)32.6 ft328.9 ft317.8 ft3
Cargo volume (rear seats folded)75.6 ft374.2 ft375.6 ft3

With the seats up, you’ll get the most cargo space behind the last row of seating with the Outback and Forester. The Ascent has a noticeably lower amount behind the rear seats – this is a result of the additional row of seating. With the seats down, all three vehicles have identical cargo volume measurements. 


IIHS RatingTop Safety Pick PlusTop Safety PickTop Safety Pick Plus
Crash PreventionAvailableAvailableAvailable

Subaru has long been a brand that’s world-renowned for the safety of its vehicles. Not surprisingly, these three have top-tier safety ratings across the board. The Outback and Ascent are slightly safer, with a Top Safety Pick Plus compared to the Top Safety Pick of the Forester.

Which to buy: Subaru 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.