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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
NOTE: I will be making some changes, and adding more information to this post over time. Please leave comments with suggestions, corrections, additions, wording changes (I ramble at times), etc, and I will attempt to incorporate them here.

(bottom of B-Pillar)

Your behind-door sticker has little to do with trailer weight, except for tongue weight - I will go into more detail on this later...


Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

This is the maximum your vehicle, all cargo, all people, all accessories, and the tongue weight can be. As mentioned above, it means that this is the maximum weight put on the ground by all four wheels.
On the Ascent, it's always 6,000 pounds, on all trim levels, no matter what accessories.

Gross Axle Weight Rating - Front

This is the maximum weight that can be put on the front axle.
On the Ascent, it's always 3,021 pounds, on all trim levels, no matter what accessories.

Gross Axle Weight Rating - Rear

This is the maximum weight that can be put on the rear axle.
On the Ascent, it's always 3,296 pounds, on all trim levels, no matter what accessories.


  • The GAWR-R and GAWR-F do NOT need to add up to GVWR. This accounts for different loading scenarios, such as a 500 pound tongue weight and one driver with no passengers or cargo, vs empty rear and heavier passengers in the first row, etc.
  • The trailer's GVW weight (total weight, as loaded, unattached to a tow vehicle) isn't directly relevant to the figures above (it is indirectly relevant as tongue weight is a factor of trailer weight - see next bullet point).
  • The trailer's tongue weight IS directly relevant to those numbers. Let's say you put a full 500 pounds on the hitch ball. That force is spread across the front and rear axles, with most of it on the rear (hence the higher GAWR-R rating and design). That 500 pounds must not push any of the numbers above beyond their ratings. If any one (or more) of those numbers are exceeded, you have exceeded the vehicle's design limits. You're also breaking the law. Tongue weight is also relevant to cargo weight, but, cargo weight is not on that sticker, so, we'll get to that next.
  • The inflation and tire information is Trim and Package specific. Use yours and not mine (or use what your tire shop says is required for your choice of aftermarket tires).
  • The inflations DO take into account towing, and do not need to be adjusted for towing.

The combined weight of occupants and cargo (top sticker)
This is the total weight of all people, cargo, hitch ball mount (but not hitch), hitch ball, and trailer's tongue weight.

"The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed... #,### pounds." This number varies per trim and Package. The Ascent Touring is 1,158 pounds. The Base model is 1.502 pounds (but don't ever use that to tow more than 2,000 pounds/200 pound tongue weight). The Premiums and Limiteds have varying cargo weights based on the Package and curb weights.

So, since I have a Touring, if I am towing a trailer with the maximum 500 pound tongue weight, I only have 658 pounds available for cargo and people and hitch ball mount.

Here's some other weights that are NOT on the Ascent's stickers.

Ascent Tow Rating (Premium, Limited and Touring only):
These ratings DO NOT EVER CHANGE, no matter what hitch you use (everyone should only use OEM), without a special vehicle recertification process to recertify the vehicle's capabilities.
  • Trailer max weight (trailer max GVW): 5,000 pounds
  • Trailer max tongue weight: 500 pounds
Curb Weight:
This varies per trim. It's simply what your Ascent weighs, before factory accessories. You do not need to account for factory accessories. There's already a buffer built in (hence curb weight and cargo weight do not add up to 6,000 pounds).

Here's the curb weights of the 2019 Ascent at various trim levels with certain accessory packages (these are preconfigured factory models, and do not include add-on accessories):
  • Base pkg 01 4,430
  • Premium 8 pass pkg 11 4,451
  • Premium 8 pkg 12 4,463
  • Premium 8 pkg 14 4,555
  • Premium 7 pass pkg 12 4,477
  • Premium 7 pass pkg 14 4,539
  • Limited 7 pass pkg 21 4,499
  • Limited 8 pass pkg 21 4,515
  • Limited 7 pass pkg 23 4592
  • Limited 8 pass pkg 23 4608
  • Touring pkg 31 4,603
The trailer, fully loaded and ready to hook up, cannot exceed 5,000 pounds for towing with the Ascent. Exceeding it is both illegal and outside of the design limits of the Ascent.

Gross Vehicle Weight

Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is the actual weight of the fully loaded trailer, including cargo, batteries, propane, tanks, fluids, passengers, and optional accessories/equipment. The GVW determines if you are within the limits set forth by the manufacturer, laws, and regulations.
This number cannot exceed 5,000 pounds for the Ascent
Like almost all towing weights, the actual weight of the trailer (GVW) must not exceed the LOWER of the two related weight numbers: (a) Vehicle's tow limit or (b) Trailer's GVWR.

Gross Trailer Weight

For a trailer, this is the same as GVW. See above.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

GVWR for a trailer is the maximum weight for the trailer. Like almost all towing weights, the actual weight of the trailer (GVW) must not exceed the LOWER of the two related weight numbers: (a) Vehicle's tow limit or (b) Trailer's GVWR.

Gross Trailer Weight Rating

GTWR is the trailer's GVWR. For a trailer, the terms/acronyms can be used interchangeably, just as GTW and GVW can be used interchangeably for a trailer.

A trailer has its own GVWR & GVW and your car has its own GVWR & GVW. They are not the same number.

Tongue Weight
This is the weight applied to the HITCH BALL. This is NOT the weight applied to the rear axle. This is NOT related to transferring weight front or rear using a WDH (don't use one on the Ascent, EVER). Tongue weight is simply the weight of the tongue, on the ball. Nothing more nor less. On a dual axle trailer with water tanks located between the axles, tongue weights will be lower than on a single axle trailer (assuming both are properly balanced). The Ascent is supposed to have 8-11% of GVW as tongue weight. I'd think you can lean to the lower end on a tandem (dual) axle trailer, and towards the higher end on a single axle, as long as it does not exceed the Ascent ratings.

Various manufacturers seem to calculate these following items differently.

Dry Weight
This is the actual weight of the trailer without fuel, fluids, cargo, passengers, optional equipment, etc. manufacturers calculate this wildly differently.

Unloaded Vehicle Weight

This is usually the weight as manufactured, including equipment fluids (there really aren't any, except refrigerant in the freezer). It USUALLY includes generator fuel. It USUALLY includes all FACTORY installed accessories. It does NOT include propane, water, cargo. It does NOT include dealer or aftermarket installed accessories.

Some Final Thoughts...
  • Because UVW and Dry Weight are calculated so very differently, I personally think those numbers cannot solely be used for any calculation to determine if the Ascent can tow any particular trailer.
  • On a tandem axle trailer, GVWR may be VERY high, simply because the two axles can carry a lot more weight. Those are most suited where there's enough room between actual curb weight of the trailer and the Ascent's 5,000 pound limit.
  • For more than "towing only once" towing, the general rule of thumb is to select a trailer that, when loaded, is no more than 85% of the vehicle rating.

  • Do NOT use a WDH/Sway Bar.
I tow my best friend's trailer. He has no tow vehicle and a trailer. I have no trailer and a tow vehicle. Its max weight (GVWR) is 4,395 pounds. We've come within a few pounds of that. It's an easy tow with the tandem axles and lower tongue weight (tanks are between the axles). It's just above the 85% rule if fully loaded. Tandem axle is easier to control, and easier to get the right tongue weights.

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