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Subaru Forester Towing Capacity: What To Know

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Subaru Forester

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A lot of Subaru fans, especially fans of the Outback looking for a larger model vehicle, look to the Forester as a great SUV option. But, how does the Subaru Forester hold up against other SUVs? Looking at Subaru Forester towing capacity, is it a good all-purpose vehicle? Does the Subaru Forester’s towing capacity hold up well against other popular SUV models?

Here’s what you need to know to decide if a Subaru Forester meets your towing needs. 

What Is Towing Capacity?

There are a lot of complicated figures you can use to figure out your vehicle’s exact towing capacity if you don’t want t look it up or don’t trust the published figures. However, for most people, it’s easier and faster to use the published towing capacity that refers to what your vehicle can tow behind it. That means towing capacity doesn’t take into account the load in your Subaru Forester, only what’s outside.

It’s also important to know that towing capacity is an estimate based on the power of the vehicle, the total weight of the vehicle, and an estimated load on the vehicle with passengers. 

All of that means that the published towing capacity of any vehicle isn’t 100% accurate in all situations, and you can calculate your towing capacity yourself to get a more accurate number. However, since manufacturers don’t want consumers to damage their vehicles, most towing capacity stats are fairly conservative and safe to use in most situations. 


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Subaru Forester Towing Capacity

Subaru Foresters have a relatively low towing capacity for an SUV. The Subaru Forester towing capacity is rated at 1,500 lbs. across most models. That makes Foresters a low-capacity SUV and means that they have less towing capacity even than some of Subaru’s smaller vehicles, like the Outback. 

To put the towing capacity into perspective, 1,500 lbs. is enough for a small, lightweight trailer, a motorcycle transport container, or the smallest pop-up campers. However, it’s not enough towing capacity for most boats, medium to large trailers, or standard campers. 

That means that the Subaru Forester is okay for light towing use, but it’s not a good SUV if you’re looking to be able to haul a lot of gear or equipment. 

How Does The Subaru Forester’s Towing Capacity Compare To Other SUVs

The Subaru Forester is a good vehicle where it’s designed to perform, but towing capacity isn’t one of the main things this vehicle is designed to do. The Forester is considered a small SUV and is designed more for commuting and driving in town, but with higher clearance for all-weather driving and the ability to handle rough terrain. 

When it comes to towing capacity, smaller SUVs just don’t hold up as well as their larger truck-framed competitors. 

For instance, while the Forester is only rated for 1,500 towing capacity, the Ford Explorer’s towing capacity is 5,000-5,600 lbs. 

However, if you look at one of the Forester’s closest competitors, the Honda CR-V, it’s a very similar comparison. Like the Forester, the CR-V’s published towing capacity is 1,500 for most models. 

That being said, neither the CR-V nor the Forester have the best towing capacity for their class and style of vehicle. Ford’s EcoSport, an SUV that’s slightly smaller than the CR-V, has a towing capacity of 2,000 lbs. 

If you’re looking for a lot of towing capacity in the Subaru line, consider the Ascent. Its towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. rivals the Ford Explorer and offers similar performance in other details as well. 


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Subaru Forester Towing Performance

While the Forester wasn’t designed for towing a lot of weight, it does a good job with the weight it can handle. Foresters offer good performance in a wide range of weather conditions but loaded and unloaded, and that carries over to towing. 

All-wheel drive helps make Foresters a lot easier to control, even when they are at the limits of their towing capacity. 

High-quality brakes and a well-designed braking system also help to make the Foresters work well for light hauling. The brakes on the Forester can handle the pressure of unbraked towing (where the trailer or equipment doesn’t have its own brakes) with a minimum of extra wear and tear. 

Foresters are also great for saving gas while towing. The auto start-stop feature of new models of Forester helps cut down on unnecessary gas use, improving mileage even while hauling. 

Overall, hauling with a Subaru Forester is pretty easy, but the lower towing capacity means that you’ll be more limited than with larger SUVs or even some of the high-capacity compact SUVs in the same class. 

Foresters are a good fit for families and individuals that don’t need to haul much and don’t need to haul often. 

Foresters aren’t a good fit for families that like to camp with a lot of equipment, want to haul a camper, or like to take long road trips with a lot of gear. 


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Towing Recommendations for Subaru Forester

Like any vehicle, it’s important to keep your Subaru Forester well maintained if you’re going to haul with it. Checking on coolant and oil before hauling with a Forester is a good idea. Having both of those fluids in good condition helps prevent engine and transmission damage, especially while hauling. 

Even though Foresters have a relatively low hauling capacity, it’s still important to be on top of maintenance in general while hauling. That includes keeping your transmission fluid in good condition, performing regular brake checks, and keeping your tires in top condition. 

The more often you haul with your Subaru Forester, the more often you should take your Forester in for routine maintenance. 

It’s also important to check your suspension and pay attention to how your Forester is performing while hauling. Strange noises, overheating, and other problems while driving can be good warnings that you’ve exceeded your Subaru Forester towing capacity. 

However, it’s better to avoid signs of problems while towing with a Forester. The truth is that overheating, strange sounds, bad suspension, and the other symptoms of an overloaded vehicle are also often signs that there has already been some damage to that vehicle.



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