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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm wondering if Subaru underrated the new Forester @ 1,500 towing capacity to force people into the Ascent?? 2018 model had 3,000lbs max towing
It has the same transmission and extra cooling would not be hard to add.
 

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The 2014-2018 all have the 2.5L engine with same tranny, resulting all same towing capacity @ 1500lbs. Perhaps 3000lbs capacity is for the XT model, which 2019 do not offer.

Extra cooling to increase the towing capacity is a tough bet, comparing to the Ascent Base vs Premium+. Someone did pointed out that the Ascent have the exact tranny across all trim package, so it makes sense to add a cooler for the Base for increased towing capacity. The tranny of Forester and Ascent appears to be the same but when they say "heavy duty" (for the Ascent), I think we should look at it seriously that it's significantly different than other Subaru models.

I think vast majority of Forester consumers don't necessary prioritize their wish list with towing capacity near the top.
 

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The 2014-2018 Forester XT was also only rated to tow up to 1500 lbs.
 
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It's not the engine and tranny, it's the beefed up suspension of the Ascent that ups the towing capacity.

In today's high horsepower/torque engines, people think towing is all about the power. It's mostly about the ability of the vehicle to handle the weight.

My parents towed a 10,000lb fifth wheel with a truck that had 250hp and 260ftlbs of torque..... LESS than the Ascent. But it was a GMC 2500 so had the suspension to hold the weight. Sure, they weren't sprinting up the mountains, but had no problems on flat ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I could have swore I seen 3,000 somewhere. If not, it should be as even the ford escape can tow 3,000
 

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The new 2020 Outback with the 2.4 l turbo will haul 3500lbs
It is the engine /tranny and oil cooler in the 2.4 . The new 2.5 in the Outback does not have the 3,500 rating either or does the Forester with the same engine. The frames are identical. Same SGP with different sizing off course but they are all robust in strength
 

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The 2009-2013 Forester was rated to tow 2,400 lbs before they switched to a CVT. The 2015-16 3.6R Outback was rated to tow 3,000 lbs but was cut back to 2,700 lbs (like the 4 cylinder) for the 2017 even though they didn't change anything.
 

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While you could tow with a Forester, the engine is so anemic that you’d be crawling up anything with an incline, and I say that as someone with a 2011 Forester. Please do us all a favor and don’t do that. The world already has enough people driving 20-30 under with a trailer.
 

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I towed a 2300lb pop-up camper from Phoenix to Flagstaff with a 2011 Outback with the 175hp engine and had no problems. And it was a manual transmission. That's a 6,000ft climb with several 8% grades.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
While you could tow with a Forester, the engine is so anemic that you’d be crawling up anything with an incline, and I say that as someone with a 2011 Forester. Please do us all a favor and don’t do that. The world already has enough people driving 20-30 under with a trailer.
Got a 2019 Forester as a loaner last week and it anything but anemic. Felt fairly strong for a sub 200hp on a fairly heavy chassis. I'm thinking it could tow 3,000...the CVT on the other hand not sure how long it would last if you towed consistently.
 

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Got a 2019 Forester as a loaner last week and it anything but anemic. Felt fairly strong for a sub 200hp on a fairly heavy chassis. I'm thinking it could tow 3,000...the CVT on the other hand not sure how long it would last if you towed consistently.
I believe CVT are strange animals, having to customize the shifting characteristic to meet the towing capacity (or the high load capacity). Someone here pointed out that the Ascent and Forester trannies are built on the same architecture, but one is heavy duty and one is not, respectively. Obviously the Ascent don't shift like a CVT, as many ppl have reported.

I don't think there's a linear interpolation, 1500lbs to 3000lbs, if you add a cooler like many people believe. Traditional auto tranny have clutch pack and gears, while CVT have clutch pack, gears, and pulleys. Therefore, I don't think it's a straight forward determination.
 

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One thing to keep in mind about European and Australian towing capacities is that there are tradeoffs associated with those higher capacities. For an overview, this article is a good read Tow me down!. In short, the higher weight rating comes from a lower percentage of total weight on the tongue (speaks to the fact that tongue weight is all about vehicle suspension) which is derived from a maximum top speed when towing of 60 MPH.
I have no doubt that the big three (well big three back in the 60s' and 70s') had a non-trivail influence on the way that towing capacity is calculated to sell more oversized pickups in this case it's actually something I agree with. Living in the western United States I can't imagine not driving over 60 MPH.
 

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I'm wondering if Subaru underrated the new Forester @ 1,500 towing capacity to force people into the Ascent?? 2018 model had 3,000lbs max towing
It has the same transmission and extra cooling would not be hard to add.
i dunno.....manufacturers develop an array of vehicles to presumably address market segment needs relative to price point, utility, cargo/load capacities, size and amenities. Comparing a forester to the ascent and saying the towing capacity should be the same because of similarities of drivetrain overlooks other factors that contribute to safe towing capacities of the various platforms - as already stated. If Subaru eliminated the outback and left only the forester and the ascent as only two choices in their lineup, then you could make an argument that customers are being forced into an ascent Vs a forester.

when Toyota eliminated the Venza segment and only offered the highlander in the SUV segment and indeed forced customer to seek alternatives - one of which was the redesigned outback, which undoubtedly increased outback sales.

Then, years later, toyota reintroduced the venza this year, albeit a hybrid, in an attempt to recapture a share of that market segment. Low fuel costs and high price point may stymie the reintroduction.
 

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I'm wondering if Subaru underrated the new Forester @ 1,500 towing capacity to force people into the Ascent?? 2018 model had 3,000lbs max towing
It has the same transmission and extra cooling would not be hard to add.
The towing capacity of the 2018 Forester was 1500 lbs, just like the 2021. It's been that way since 2014 when the Forester switched to a CVT transmission. Before that, the max towing capacity was 2400 lbs. from 2010-2013, and before that, it was only 1230 lbs.

I don't think Subaru is trying to force people into an Ascent. As a car buyer, you simply purchase what works for you. If you need to tow greater than 1500 lbs, you would rule out the Forester and all other vehicles with inadequate towing capacities for your purposes.

This is why I purchased an Ascent. I knew I wanted to buy a travel trailer within the next few years. I didn't want a truck so I purchased the Ascent with its impressive 5000 lb towing capacity. I didn't feel forced to buy it, I never expected the Forester or any other compact SUV to have a great towing capacity, they're marketed for other attributes such as cost and mileage. No one needing a large towing capacity would be in the market for a Forester or other similar compact SUV.
 
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