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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I would love some input from all of you knowledgable Ascent owners on towing with an Ascent.

I have a European horse trailer (Brenderup) with surge brakes (no electrical brakes required). The trailer weighs 2250 pounds empty with a tongue weight of 250 pounds. I typically trailer two large ponies (800-900 pounds each) about 15 times per year. This type of trailer does not sway/stabilizer bars to be pulled with an SUV. This trailer definitely falls within the towing specs of the Ascent but I'd like to hear about people's actual towing experiences.

I currently tow with a 2013 Volvo XC90 without any issue. My XC90 now needs some very expensive repairs and we are seriously considering replacing it with an Ascent. The tow rating on the XC90 is 5000 pounds.

Unfortunately, I know the salespeople at our dealership might not be any help in regards to towing. Of course, I might be pleasantly surprised but I thought it would be best to go in with some additional information. I did search this forum but I didn't find the information I was looking for.

Here are my questions:

1. In your opinion, is the Ascent be a comparable tow vehicle?
2. Should I avoid the Limited and Touring package with the 20" tires and stick with the 18" tires of the Premium model? Any specific recommendations for tires?
3. Would you recommend the factory-installed tow hitch? If not, which tow hitch would you recommend?
4. Will this tow well over large hills? I won't be going over any mountains with the horse trailers but the dirt road up to my barn is well maintained but rather steep. The Volvo pulls the trailer up without a problem.

I would appreciate any of your thoughts.

Michelle
 

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1. In your opinion, is the Ascent be a comparable tow vehicle?
Yes


2. Should I avoid the Limited and Touring package with the 20" tires and stick with the 18" tires of the Premium model? Any specific recommendations for tires?
I tow, and I have the Touring. It's amazing, and what I will get next, due to the added tech. Any good tire suited to your driving needs is fine. I swapped to all terrains on smaller rims because I off-road like crazy.

3. Would you recommend the factory-installed tow hitch? If not, which tow hitch would you recommend?
I recommend only the OEM hitch, either factory installed (may not be available as a factory option), dealer installed, or self installed. I absolutely do not recommend any aftermarket hitch, because literally no aftermarket hitch integrates into the very specific hitch integration points Subaru built into the Ascent's frame.

4. Will this tow well over large hills? I won't be going over any mountains with the horse trailers but the dirt road up to my barn is well maintained but rather steep. The Volvo pulls the trailer up without a problem.
I would think it should be at least equally as capable as the Volvo, and more so where unpaved roads and dirt are involved.

I've towed this up dirt trails and hills in Vermont...

4925



When I am not commuting or getting groceries, I'm off roading and getting my Ascent filthy
4926
 

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I pull 350 horses with my trailer regularly. Total weight 4,530 lbs. It tows up the mountains around Phoenix with ease.


I use it a lot for towing. It's the main reason I traded in my 2017 Outback and 2018 GMC Canyon for the 2019 Ascent so I only needed 1 vehicle.

 

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Euro horse trailers are different than North American horse trailer designs in how they balance and how they achieve the Euro REQUIRED low tongue weights. Inertial/Surge brakes are also required in that geography. Folks "over there" tow with very modest tow vehicles which is primarily what they have available to them. You will not find many big "pick-em-up-trucks" there! You will be fine towing your Brenderup with the Ascent as long as you stay below your maximum and drive in a manner that takes into account you have a live load. For folks who have never towed a live load, it does feel different as the wee beasts move around.

I almost bought a Böckmann EURO trailer for our horses a number of years ago (Brenderup was already out of the market here in the US at that point) and only didn't because I stumbled upon a lightweight North American trailer that was safely towable with my JGC at the time.

I agree with the comment that the OEM hitch receiver is the best and prefered solution, too.
 

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I've towed this up dirt trails and hills in Vermont...
I have to admit I was expecting to see a pop-up trailer. I did not expect to see that monster trailer. Good to know!

Did you add any aux trans cooler by chance?

(edit) Regarding self-installation of the factory trailer hitch - I went down this route and recommend it only if you have the correct tools. The absolute necessity here is an accurate torque wrench. The entire job is about 3 hours with interruptions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you! All of your replies have been very helpful. I will admit I thought the "350 horses" was a typo until I saw the photo. Kevin's horses will definitely outrun mine.

I appreciate all the info about the tow hitch. Once I saw how the hitch was positioned on the Ascent I could understand why it's best to go with the one from Subaru.

I felt very comfortable with my XC90 towing my trailer so I have to admit I was hesitant about the Ascent. For what it's worth, when I test drove the Ascent and compared it to the XC90, the XC90 feels bigger and heavier than the Ascent. But it turns out they weigh about the same and the Ascent is a little longer and wider.

Yesterday I went back to the dealership and bought a pearl blue Ascent Limited that was on the lot with the lovely ivory interior and a factory-installed hitch. I was probably a bit crazy to buy the Ascent with the ivory interior, given the fact that I'm going to use it to haul horses. But after seeing how nice the ivory interior was, the black looked too dark.

I'll report back after I tow with it and I'll post a photo of the Brenderup hitched to the Ascent.

Thanks again for all of your insight. Very helpful!

Jim–those Bockmann trailers really are lovely. I looked at them before finding a used Brenderup for a great price.

And Robert–If you can tow that camper up the hills of VT, then I should be all set. I live just over the river in NH but frequently trailer my horses to VT. You make me want to head to the Outer Banks with the Ascent and drive offroad to the tip of Hatteras Island.
 

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Jim–those Bockmann trailers really are lovely. I looked at them before finding a used Brenderup for a great price.
Yea, they are really well engineered. I was "coveting" the Portax AK at the time which had the front ramp, too. I do wish there were more Euro trailer choices here in the North America market for folks to choose from because most North American designed horse trailers have weight and balance that can only be handled by heavier vehicles. More choices might also help moderate the cost.
 
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