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2021 Subaru Forester vs Crosstrek

2021 Subaru Forester vs Crosstrek

2021 Forester vs Crosstrek - How do they stack up? What are the differences?

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek and Forester offer drivers an array of quality features, each model tailored to a unique lifestyle. If you are looking for a two-row SUV with ample roominess, the dependable Forester may be right up your alley; however if space is not as much of priority but versatility still matters look no further than the iconic Crosstrek. Whichever way you go rest assured that both vehicles provide safety and reliability needed from today's cars.

Size and Styling

The Forester and Crosstrek share similar rounded edges, sturdy frames, and sporty stylings. However, the Forester is significantly larger at 182.1 inches - almost six inches longer than its smaller counterpart. Furthermore, it measures half an inch wider and five inches higher than the Crosstrek does. Both models boast a ground clearance of 8.7 inches as well; it's clear which model provides more room.

As one might expect from the differences between the two Subarus, the Forester offers more passenger space. Passengers in the Forester get to enjoy plenty of headroom as its cabin is relatively large; leg room in the first row measures 43.3 inches and 39.4 inches for passengers in the second; by comparison, second-row legroom only measures 36.5 inches in the Crosstrek. Front-row passengers in either vehicle have nearly identical amounts of room as those in the Forester.

The Subaru Crosstrek and Forester offer the perfect combination of practicality and style, featuring LED fog lights, moonroofs as well as side mirrors with integrated turn signals. Their spacious cargo areas also make them stand out from other vehicles; while the Crosstrek gives drivers 20.8 cubic feet to work with that increases to 55.3 when rear seats are down, you'll get 31.1 in a Forester which can expand up to 70 cubes for maximum storage efficiency! You’ll be able cruise around town safely on either 17 or 18 inch wheels – whichever size best suits your needs.

In many ways, though, the Forester offers more attractive exterior elements. It can be enhanced with satin chrome side mirrors and a panoramic moonroof instead of the traditional one; almost all Forester trims come standard with this feature, while only two out of five Crosstrek models offer it as an option. Furthermore, all Forester models feature LED steering responsive headlights compared to only two out of five Crosstrek trims which offer these types of advanced headlights.


Experience the diverse powertrains of Subaru's Crosstrek and Forester. For those seeking a reliable, yet nimble ride in their day-to-day lives, no look further than the base engine offered on the Crosstrek - an efficient 2.0L four cylinder with 152 horses under its hood and 145 lb.-ft of torque at your command. It pairs beautifully with either available transmission option: 6 speed manual or lineartronic continuously variable for drivers who prefer not to deal with stick shifts.

The Crosstrek utilizes a 2.5-liter engine with four cylinders. This larger displacement allows it to generate more power, offering 182 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque for an enjoyable driving experience, especially when loaded down or climbing hills. This engine is only available with a lineartronic continuously variable transmission found only on Sport and Limited trims of the Crosstrek; they make for smoother acceleration when required.

With this engine, the Crosstrek offers three SI-Drive modes: Intelligent for optimal fuel economy; Sport for increased responsiveness; and Sport Sharp for the most aggressive driving experience.

This 2.5-liter engine is the same one found in the Forester. Mechanically, it shares much of its components with Crosstrek Sport and Limited models; even having SI-Drive modes and using the same type of transmission. One exception: an auto start-stop system to save fuel when idling.

For the Crosstrek, there is also the hybrid powertrain option. This uses a 2.0-liter engine combined with an electric motor for 148 net horsepower. Keep in mind that because Subaru hasn't produced many Crosstrek Hybrids yet, they may be hard to locate in certain areas.

Subaru's renowned symmetrical all-wheel drive makes their Forester and Crosstrek vehicles highly capable for any driving condition. Whether you're battling slick surfaces or making sharp turns on dry roads, rest assured that these cars will give optimal performance with minimal effort from the driver. On top of that, X-Mode plus Hill Descent Control are available in select trims to make navigating hills even easier - a key advantage for those who take off road adventures often.

With sustainability at the forefront of everyone's minds, owners are paying close attention to fuel efficiency. The Crosstrek Hybrid is a great choice for those looking to drive far and wide on little gas- it has an impressive combined fuel economy rating 90 MPGe and 35 miles per gallon! Moreover, Sport and Limited trims boast MPG ratings that rival its competitors -34/27 or 29/22 (manual vs automatic) respectively; perfect for budget conscious drivers hoping to make every drop count.

Comfort, Options and Performance

The Forester feels more luxurious with more interior amenities. Its top trim has heated front and rear seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Rear seatbacks can recline for extra comfort, plus those seats have a one-touch feature to quickly fold them down when extra cargo room is needed. Crosstrek also offers an available heated steering wheel and heated front seats on its top trim level; however, these other features aren't available on that model.

One notable distinction is that most Forester trims feature power-adjustable front seats, while the Crosstrek only offers one such option. Both models offer cloth seats on the lower levels, sport cloth or synthetic material in the middle, and leather upholstery at both top levels.

Convenience and technology are two major factors in whether a new vehicle will impress customers. Fortunately, both Subarus boast many impressive features.

First and foremost, automatic climate control is standard on both Forester and Crosstrek models; furthermore, their top trims offer dual-zone climate systems. Furthermore, almost all trims of each model offer Wi-Fi capability - enabling people to stream audio content, work from home, or browse the internet while on-the-go.

On lower trims of both Forester and Crosstrek models, you'll find 6.5-inch touchscreens with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth - all desirable systems that make life easier. In particular, smartphone connectivity makes things incredibly convenient.

There is one major distinction between the Forester and Crosstrek models when it comes to audio capabilities: while the base trim of the Forester includes SiriusXM and HD Radio, that feature is unavailable on the Crosstrek. While this may not be a deal breaker for some buyers, others may find this distinction important. Thankfully, four out of five Crosstrek trims do come standard with SiriusXM and HD Radio capabilities.

The top two trims of both Crosstrek and Forester offer eight-inch touchscreens, which may be preferred due to its larger size that makes it easier to read text on-screen. The Touring model of Forester also comes equipped with integrated navigation and a premium sound system - elements only optional on higher trims of Crosstrek.

Other notable distinctions between the Forester and Crosstrek concern interior amenities. For instance, more Forester trims boast automatic headlights and keyless access with push-button start than their counterparts do, while both models typically feature four total USB ports (two in back and two front), although the entry-level Crosstrek only has one front USB port in total; by comparison, Forester's entry-level model boasts dual front USB ports.

Buying Tip:

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The two Subarus differ when it comes to safety systems. Only the Forester comes standard with high beam assist and EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, while these components can be found on higher trims of Crosstrek only. High beam assist is included with the top two Crosstrek trims while EyeSight Driver Assist Technology is optional on all other Crosstrek trims.

What exactly is this driver-assist technology package? Basically, having driver-assist technology means your car can monitor for potential issues and send alerts or take action if something seems amiss. Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assist Technology package consists of precollision braking to avoid frontal collisions, lane departure warning so drivers stay focused in their lanes, and adaptive cruise control which allows the Subaru to adjust its speed based on how fast the leading vehicle changes its pace - an improvement over traditional cruise control which would maintain that speed regardless of what others may do.

These Subarus boast a few other safety features as well. Both vehicles have optional reverse automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, plus standard rear vision cameras to make backing easier. Furthermore, the Forester offers an available DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System which detects when drivers are looking away and reminds them to pay attention to the road ahead.

Which Model To Choose?

When it comes to power and sheer value, the Forester gives more bang for your buck than its counterpart: the Crosstrek. The Subaru Forester boasts a larger cargo area, deluxe exterior elements, comfy back seats - all at an elevated price point relative to that of its competition. Plus, both models offer similar trim levels with additions such as Touring in the case of Foresters or Hybrid favoring those who opt-in for the latter model. At base level prices start off around $24,795 on average while offering savings up $4500  at their respective Premium cut-offs when compared one against another; but even then there's still almost three thousand dollars worth if difference between Sport & Limited trims alone.

For some customers, the Forester may not be worth the additional cost. Maybe they don't require all that extra interior space and are content with what Crosstrek has to offer. On the other hand, those who desire all of its advantages will find no substitute for investing in a Forester.

People with more money to spare might prefer the Forester Touring or Crosstrek Hybrid. Both vehicles offer distinct advantages, with the former boasting efficiency while the latter features heated front and rear seats as well as navigation for added convenience. The Forester Touring truly has it all when it comes to features - you're guaranteed a happy camper!

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