Closer Look at the Subaru Ascent’s Towing Capacity

Finally, Subaru adds a 3-row SUV to the mix - but can it tow?

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For the longest time, Subaru’s largest SUV had been the 2-row Outback – a wagon SUV not exactly renowned for pulling big toys. Finally, the Ascent hit the scene – the brand’s latest mid-size SUV with three rows of seating. It follows the Tribeca, which was last sold in 2014 (here’s a great piece on how the Ascent fixed the Tribeca’s problems).

The Ascent sports more conventional styling in a bid to appeal to a wider range of buyers than the slow-selling Tribeca.

Compared to the Subaru’s other SUVs, here’s how the Ascent stacks up:

MODEL:TOWING CAPACITY (lbs):
2019 Outback2,700
2020 Outback3,500
2020 Ascent5,000
2019 Forester1,500

Here’s a closer look at the Outback’s towing capacity.

So, how much can Subaru’s largest SUV tow?

Subaru says the Ascent SUV can tow as much as 5,004 lb (2,270 kg) in its upper-level trims, only if the trailer has its own brakes. That puts the it in direct competition with most of the other models in the three-row mid-size SUV class.

Base Ascent models are rated to tow 2,002 lbs (908 kg).

All trims use a 2.4L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, arranged in a horizontally opposed configuration for 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a continuously variable automatic. All-wheel drive is standard in all versions.

Towing Capacity Comparison: Subaru Ascent vs other larger SUV competitors

  • Toyota Highlander
  • Honda Pilot
  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Ford Explorer
  • Kia Telluride
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Chevrolet Traverse
  • Dodge Durango
  • Volkswagen Atlas
  • Mazda CX-9

In the mid-size, three-row SUV class, the Dodge Durango has best-in-class towing capacity, at 8,700 lb (3,946 kg).

Next is the Nissan Pathfinder, which is rated to haul trailers up to 6,000 lb (2,722 kg).

The Subaru Ascent’s maximum trailer towing capacity is marginally better than that of Chevrolet’s Traverse, the Honda Pilot, the Hyundai Palisade, Kia’s Telluride, the Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen’s Atlas mid-size SUVs can tow up to 5,000 lb (2,268 kg).

Mazda’s CX-9 can handle a trailer up to 3,500 lb (1,588 kg).

Subaru Ascent towing capacity
Subaru says the Ascent SUV can tow as much as 5,004 lb (2,270 kg) in its upper-level trims, only if the trailer has its own brakes. That puts the it in direct competition with most of the other models in the three-row mid-size SUV class. Photo: Subaru

What factors can affect towing capacity?

When shopping for a mid-size SUV to tow a trailer, verify the weight of your trailer and then ensure the vehicle boasts sufficient capacity to handle it. In some SUV models, you have to pay extra for an optional trailer towing package to get the maximum capacity. Most Subaru Ascent trims come standard with the maximum rating, but the base model’s capacity is well under half the maximum available. Also, verify whether the vehicle comes with a wiring harness to run the trailer’s lights and, if equipped, electric trailer brakes.

Chris Chasehttps://chrischasescars.com/
Chris has been writing professionally about cars since 2004, in print and online. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and two feline tyrants. In rare quiet moments, he can be found travelling or playing one of his way-too-many guitars. Chris is also a journalist member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).

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