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Why bother with aftermarket, when OEM is significantly superior. Many threads and discussion on this.
I would think it would be pretty ugly hanging down that low on our vehicle. The integrated OEM hitch is fully hidden by the hitch cover.
 

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There seems to be some back and forth about this hitch - is there any innate problem with it? Looks like the cheapest and perhaps easiest to install? I am ok with it hanging below the bumper.

  • Subaru specifically avoided the need to drill to mount the hitch and has pre-engineered holes for the hitch integration. That hitch drills holes into the frame rails and hangs off it.
  • Subaru specifically chose to integrate into the frame rails of the Ascent. That hitch does not integrate at all. It weakens the frame rails instead of strengthening it (by drilling larger holes through the bottom), and hangs off it.
  • The OEM hitch is easier to install. No drilling, just a few clips, and then throw some bolts through the various pieces (the electric is the electric, regardless of hitch, so, I will skip that).
In addition to that, I am very sure your departure angle will be horrible, and you will scrape on steep driveways. My full spare would scrape when underneath, and it doesn't hang as low.

Check out my spare tire. Rubbing a piece of deflated rubber on the ground or roads or speedbumps is one thing. Rubbing or snagging a piece of steel that's connected to the frame rails is something else entirely.

4535
 

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Two of my previous tow vehicles (one body-on-frame and one unibody) were designed for hitches to attach in that manner. They had four threaded bosses under the rails specifically for hitch attachment, and existing electrical harnesses. The Ascent is different. The factory hitch (with its harness) is definitely the way to go.
 

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Thanks, I'll check out the factory one.
Since you are a DIY type, message my friends at @Liberty Subaru via this forum, tell them I sent you, and they will sell you the latest revision OEM hitch kit for $288 (plus tax/shipping) - which then leaves a pretty easy install.

While I can't directly help you with the installation, this install video and PDF instructions can:


VIDEO INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS:

PRINTABLE PDF INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS:
 
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