Can the Subaru Ascent Really Tow 5,000 Pounds?

Before 2018, the Subaru model with the highest capacity was the Outback, which could tow up to 3,500 pounds. In 2020, the company released their first full-sized SUV, the Ascent, which upped the towing game by a whopping 1,500 pounds.

What is the Towing Capacity of a Subaru Ascent?

The Subaru Ascent is Subaru’s only full-sized SUV. Subaru released the Ascent in late 2018 as a replacement for the Tribeca, which had been discontinued in 2014.

The Ascent is built on Subaru’s Global Architecture (SGA) platform, a modular unibody style the company introduced with the Impreza in 2016. With three rows of seating and an 8-person capacity, the Ascent is the largest vehicle the company makes. In addition, it incorporates Subaru’s standard all-wheel-drive and EyeSight driver assistance.

As you can see in the table below, the Ascent is Subaru’s highest-capacity model.

Model Max Towing Capacity
Ascent 5,000 lbs
Outback 3,500 lbs
Forester 1,500 lbs
Crosstrek 1,500 lbs
Crosstrek Hybrid 1,000 lbs

Although the Ascent is rated up to 5,000 pounds, there are two caveats to that. The maximum trailer weight rating for the Ascent is 5,000 pounds, but only if you’re using a trailer with brakes. You’ll also need a model with an air-cooled continuously variable transmission fluid cooler.

If your Ascent doesn’t have the proper transmission fluid cooler, the towing capacity drops to 2,000 pounds. If you’re using a trailer that doesn’t have brakes, the towing capacity decreases even further to 1,000 pounds.

Is It Safe to Max Out the Towing Capacity?

You should follow a few rules when you attach a trailer to your vehicle.

  1. Keep all weight in the middle of the trailer and the rear of your Ascent to prevent the trailer from tipping forward.
  2. Don’t pile too much weight in the back of your trailer. This will cause your trailer to tip backward.
  3. Properly weigh down your vehicle to prevent your SUV from tilting forward.
  4. And, of course, always follow the manufacturers’ instructions for properly hitching your trailer to your Ascent.

To calculate the safest towing weight for your trailer, you’ll need to know the curb weight of your vehicle and trailer. Then, you’ll use the Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) to determine capacity.

The formula for calculating towing capacity is:

GCVWR – Curb Weight of Vehicle = Towing Capacity

You should aim to use a maximum of 80% of your Ascent’s towing capacity. Maxing out your vehicle’s towing capacity can cause vehicle damage, especially over long distances, and can increase the chances of accidents. A high towing weight can also make the trailer difficult to haul.

Can the Subaru Ascent Really Tow 5,000 Pounds?

According to Subaru, the towing capacity for the Ascent varies based on trim levels.

The Standard package is only rated up to 2,000 pounds, so if you want a vehicle with a higher towing capacity, you’ll want to choose from the Premium, Limited, or Touring packages.

What Is the Trailer Stability Assist Feature?

As of 2021, all Subaru Ascents are equipped with a suite of stability features, including Trailer Stability Assist. The TSA system alerts the driver to problems with the trailer’s stability. It will use the vehicle’s automatic braking system to stabilize the vehicle.

How To Install a Trailer Hitch To a Subaru Ascent

All Ascents have the option for complete towing packages. Subaru offers a Class III hitch with 277-pound feet of torque, as well as various racking accessories to carry additional cargo. All Ascents also have a 500-pound tongue weight. The current cost of a trailer hitch for the Ascent is $360, and the ball mount is $109.50, for a grand total of $469.50.


etrailer | Curt Trailer Hitch Installation – 2020 Subaru Ascent

Examples of Trailers and Campers a Subaru Ascent Can Pull

Any trailer or camper you tow with your Ascent should be below 4,000 pounds to account for cargo. Here are a few examples of trailers an Ascent can pull.

Trailer Base Weight (lbs) Weight (kgs)
Airstream Bambi 2,585 lbs 1,172 kgs
Airstream Basecamp 20 3,400 lbs 1,542 kgs
Safari Condo Alto 2,500 lbs 1,133 kgs
Lance 1575 2,775 lbs 1,258 kgs
Jay Feather 17XFD 3,060 lbs 1,388 kgs
Jau Hummingbird 16FD 2,535, lbs 1,150 kgs

Can You Increase the Towing Capacity of a Subaru Ascent?

To reach the maximum towing capacity of an Ascent, you’ll need to purchase a trailer that has a built-in braking system. Your vehicle will also need an air-cooled continuously variable transmission fluid cooler, and a hitch with the highest tongue weight rating available.


Here are a few commonly asked questions about the Subaru Ascent’s towing capacity.

Can a Subaru Ascent tow uphill?

The Subaru Ascent can tow uphill, but there are some safety precautions you’ll need to take.

1. Don’t exceed 45 mph on hot days to prevent overheating.

2. Don’t use a weight-distributing hitch.

3. Be aware that the electronic parking system won’t work on a steep hill if you have a trailer attached to your Ascent.

4. Also, be aware that the vehicle will automatically reduce its speed on steep hills.

How well does the Subaru Ascent tow?

The biggest issue with the Ascent’s towing system is that you’ll need to decrease your speed on hills, which can cause traffic disruptions. However, with a towing capacity of up to 5,000 on higher trim levels, you have a lot of flexibility in how much you can tow.

What are the risks of exceeding the towing capacity of Subaru Ascent?

If you push your Ascent past its towing capacity, you’ll risk mechanical failure to your vehicle and hitch failure, which can cause the trailer to detach. This can result in injury, property damage, accidents, or death.

Does Subaru Ascent have any trailer hitch recalls?

To date, there have been no trailer hitch recalls. However, its early models were recalled for driving chain and tie rod issues.

The Subaru Ascent is the newest in Subaru’s lineup, with towing and passenger capacities that outstrip all of its previous models. As a full-sized SUV, it offers many features that provide flexibility in what you can tow and, most importantly, what you can do, with the vehicle.

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