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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a current Outback (2011 3.6) owner and will be interested to see the new Ascent. It will be on the list for my next vehicle.

One thing I'm waiting to hear more info on is the towing capacities. I've read the 5000 pound towing rating spec, but we really need to know what the hitch rating is to determine if that 5000# rating is usable. For example, my Outback has a 3500# tow rating which seems sufficient for a number of small campers, but the hitch rating is only 200#, likely due to the soft rear suspension. Since, for towing stability, it's recommended to have at least 10% of the trailer weight on the tongue, you're really looking at a 2000# trailer to have that 10% recommendation not exceed the 200# hitch limit.

Since the Ascent has the 3rd row and thus more likely to have passenger/luggage weight in the rear, I suspect it will have a little stiffer rear springs to handle that expected weight. I wish Subaru would adopt Audi's tow rating relationships: Q5 is max 4400# with 440# hitch rating, Q7 is max 6600# with 660# hitch rating, etc). That way you can tow the max trailer rating with a safe 10% tongue weight without grossly exceeding the hitch weight rating.
 

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One thing I heard that helps is a higher class hitch rating which could buy you some weight through better weight distribution.
But as they say, there's no replacement for displacement so in the end you might have to move up to a V8 on a more durable platform from another car maker (Toyota?)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good point. That they're offering a Class III hitch as the OEM one is a good sign. I'm hopeful Subaru will do a 500# hitch rating with the 5000# tow rating. Even 350# would probably suffice for the smaller trailers I'd likely consider.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hard to tell what’s in that video. The Outback transmission cooler (at least in my 2011) is incorporated into the bottom of the radiator. It’s independent from a fluid perspective but both coolant and transmission fluid coolers are in the same radiator. That would be great if the Ascent has and auxiliary transmission cooler. Might save me from having to install one like I did on the Outback. Would still want to see some ATF temp readings under load though. If the cooler isn’t large enough to dissipate the extra heat they may still derate towing capacity during high temperatures or long grades like they did for the Outback.
 

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I'm a current Outback (2011 3.6) owner and will be interested to see the new Ascent. It will be on the list for my next vehicle.

One thing I'm waiting to hear more info on is the towing capacities. I've read the 5000 pound towing rating spec, but we really need to know what the hitch rating is to determine if that 5000# rating is usable. For example, my Outback has a 3500# tow rating which seems sufficient for a number of small campers, but the hitch rating is only 200#, likely due to the soft rear suspension. Since, for towing stability, it's recommended to have at least 10% of the trailer weight on the tongue, you're really looking at a 2000# trailer to have that 10% recommendation not exceed the 200# hitch limit.

Since the Ascent has the 3rd row and thus more likely to have passenger/luggage weight in the rear, I suspect it will have a little stiffer rear springs to handle that expected weight. I wish Subaru would adopt Audi's tow rating relationships: Q5 is max 4400# with 440# hitch rating, Q7 is max 6600# with 660# hitch rating, etc). That way you can tow the max trailer rating with a safe 10% tongue weight without grossly exceeding the hitch weight rating.
As far as I have read in the owners manual, the 2.5I is 2,700 lbs while the 3.6R is 3,000 lbs. Both with a tongue weight of 200 lbs (force applied downward at the hitch ball). Depending on the hitch, you may or may not be able to tow that. For example, my hitch is a 2" draw tite class III hitch rated for 4,500 and a tongue of 650. My hitch attachment is rated for around 6,000 towing weight and a tongue of 400. I don't recall what the ball rating is though since it has its own rating. But I am capable of the max towing with my OB based on Subaru's standards for sure. I will make a side note that I do wish I went with the flat 6.

So where did you get 3,500 on your 3.6R? I am sure both models are able to handle a little more than what Subaru rates them for give or take a few hundred pounds. Add trailer brakes and an additional tranny cooler, would defiantly assist with that.

What I have seen is that the Ascent is rated for 5,000 but not sure about tongue weight. For my family, this will be hugely beneficial because most of the campers we have looked into are around 3,500-5,000 lbs. anyway. That is roughly were the Toyota 4Runner is rated at in the recent few year models. Obviously, it isn't going to be a beast like the diesel Jeep or a Tahoe towing 7 or 8 or 9,000 lbs. But at least it is better than what Subaru offers on the market right now. I think the 3rd row seating and the towing will draw more customers into Subaru.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So where did you get 3,500 on your 3.6R?.
You're right. I was going by memory and confirmed the 2011 3.6 can tow 3000# if the trailer has brakes.


We don't have a camper and have only towed with the Outback a handful of times an not near that max weight. If we did get a camper it would be something like a Casita or maybe Airstream Basecamp. Many of those are under the 3000# limit of the Outback but I think all exceed the 200# hitch weight limit. The Ascent might be a nice fit for those.
 

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There will likely be a need for a WDH for tongue weights over a certain amount to insure proper balance between the tow vehicles axels. Even my Grand Cherokee with its 7200 lb rating requires that when tongue weight exceeds 350 lbs. While the final spec for Ascent will rule, it's "likely" that there will be a max tongue weight of 500 lbs which is typical for US design vehicles. The towing capability for this kind of vehicle is more for utility and convenience, rather than hard-core towing, so folks need to keep that in mind if towing is an important activity. Pushing the limits isn't the best ideal with any vehicle.
 

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Hard to tell what’s in that video. The Outback transmission cooler (at least in my 2011) is incorporated into the bottom of the radiator. It’s independent from a fluid perspective but both coolant and transmission fluid coolers are in the same radiator. That would be great if the Ascent has and auxiliary transmission cooler. Might save me from having to install one like I did on the Outback. Would still want to see some ATF temp readings under load though. If the cooler isn’t large enough to dissipate the extra heat they may still derate towing capacity during high temperatures or long grades like they did for the Outback.
No that's a tranny cooler for sure; most people call it external cooler. Most cars have auto tranny cooler function dependent of the radiator, which is normal stuff. From toyota trucks (i.e. Tundra), it's rare to have external tranny cooler unless you buy the towing package.

The reason I asked is that if they use Outback and stick the tranny cooler on and call it a 5000lbs capacity towing, it's gonna be a crappy 5000lbs towing Ascent.

Keep in mind that towing capacity ratings are not standardized across the auto industry. i.e. a 5000lbs Ascent rating can be lower or higher than another brand.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bumping my own thread with a comment I saw in another thread...

OB forum member was just told by a sales rep 500lb Tongue max weight for the Ascent.
500# was what I was hoping for on the hitch weight as it makes the 5000# rating usable if you’re going with the 10% minimum for safe towing.
 

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In the Ascent brochure it does not show towing for the lowest end model. Do all Ascent trim levels have 5000lbs towing? Ty
 

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Just as a side note as someone who tows often. A 5000 max rating your ideal empty trailer range is in the 2000-3200lb range. Otherwise once you are packed it’s basically too heavy for good towing performance. If you want a 5000lb RV trailer you need a 7000 lb rated tow vehicle. Just keep that in mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Agreed on the "dry" vs real world weight.


It's ideal if you can find information with real trailer weights like...


Trailer Weights in the Real World - Fiberglass RV


The weights in the above thread were generally made at rallies where an owner brought scales and weighed people's trailers on arrival and loaded up to camp.


You can see in that list my concern with hitch/tongue weight ratings. More than 3/4 of those relatively lightweight trailers weigh under 3500# loaded up, which is within the tow rating of some Outback years/models. But very few have tongue weights under the 200# rating of the Outback.


For Ascent relevance, once you get into the 3000# plus all-up trailer weights, tongue weights are commonly in the 400# - 500# range. This falls in line with the recommendation for tongue weights of 10-15% of total trailer weight, and illustrates why a vehicle's tongue/hitch weight ratings needs to be a minimum of 10% of the trailer weight rating.
 

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Outbacks are all rated 2700lbs now simple ly due to the 2.5 and 3.6 having the same physical limitations.

Which case your RV trailer with the OB ideally should be 1200-1500lbs empty at most. My trailer choice my design for the OB I targeted 1200lb or less empty. The trailer I bought is 900lb empty. When packed heavy we run 1300-1500lbs all up.
 

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You're right. I was going by memory and confirmed the 2011 3.6 can tow 3000# if the trailer has brakes.


We don't have a camper and have only towed with the Outback a handful of times an not near that max weight. If we did get a camper it would be something like a Casita or maybe Airstream Basecamp. Many of those are under the 3000# limit of the Outback but I think all exceed the 200# hitch weight limit. The Ascent might be a nice fit for those.
The 3.6 is now 2700lbs this was simply due to the realistic reality that the 2.5 and 3.6 have the same cooling limits and same payload numbers.

Those with lots of OB and Legacy towing ie long trips will tell you that over 1800lbs you need to watch engine temps on both the 3.6 and the 2.5 under certain conditions head winds on the highway and climbs. Its just the reality of towing with a car vs a truck with extra cooling capacity.

Dump runs I tow anywhere from 1800-2500lbs but those are short 12 mile local runs on known streets etc. Not crossing a state with unknown weather and road conditions etc.


The power and load specs on the Ascent are very similar to my 05 Sequoia. Which case any rv in the 2500-3200lb empty range and packed in the 4000lb or under range will tow “ok” but will no doubt feel heavy and be an obvious impact on vehicle performance.

My 1300-1500lb camp trailer setup can be towed by the Sequoia with nearly zero impact on either mileage or vehicle performance. But once the 5000lb rated Sequoia has about 2500lbs behind it performance is clearly impacted. Having towed a 5000lb ski boat Bay Area to Tahoe in the Summer with the Sequoia its obvious that 5000lbs is nothing more than a short local trip and without 5+ passengers and gear in the truck.

Your towing capacity is affected by your vehicle load. 8 passengers + passenger gear in the car lowers your towing capacity. So always consider what you plan on having in the car when towing.
 

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I thought it was already confirmed that the Ascent has a Class III hitch and therefore a 500# rating?

Edit: From the Ascent website:
"Subaru hitches are engineered and crash tested to meet the same rigorous safety standards as the rest of the Ascent. Rated at 500 lbs. tongue weight, 5,000 lbs. maximum towing capacity, with base models rated at 200 lbs. tongue weight and 2,000 lbs. maximum towing capacity. Trailer Hitch requires the hitch and harness for proper operation and safety compliance. Hitch ball not included. Trailer brakes may be required by your state for heavier loads. Consult your owner's manual for more information."
 

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I thought it was already confirmed that the Ascent has a Class III hitch and therefore a 500# rating?

Edit: From the Ascent website:
"Subaru hitches are engineered and crash tested to meet the same rigorous safety standards as the rest of the Ascent. Rated at 500 lbs. tongue weight, 5,000 lbs. maximum towing capacity, with base models rated at 200 lbs. tongue weight and 2,000 lbs. maximum towing capacity. Trailer Hitch requires the hitch and harness for proper operation and safety compliance. Hitch ball not included. Trailer brakes may be required by your state for heavier loads. Consult your owner's manual for more information."
We knew it had a Class III hitch, but weren't sure about the tongue weight. The information available online has been changed and updated as they get more information. Just for example, the initial release showed the cargo room with the seats down to be about 72 cubic feet, not the actual 86 cubic feet that it really is. (I like the disclaimer I see online - see your retailer for more information. Um, guys, sometimes the official information that I have isn't right or has changed (see the thread about the remote start!), so you MIGHT want to let us know that...)
 
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