How Much Can a Subaru Outback Tow? The Subaru Outback is a great choice for many different people, including families that want space and convenience with the durability of an SUV. It’s also perfect for those with active lifestyles who can take advantage of its available all-wheel drive, high ground clearance and impressive cargo space.
However, the Outback isn’t just on the top of people’s lists for what it can do away from home—it’s also one of the best vehicles around for towing things like boats or trailers full of gear. So, can a Subaru Outback tow something like your family’s boat? The answer is yes!
The Subaru Outback has a towing capacity of 2,700 pounds when properly equipped
To properly answer the question of how much can a Subaru Outback tow, we need to be clear about what it is that we’re talking about when we say “towing capacity.” The first thing to understand is that there are two different concepts here:
- Towing capacity, which refers to how much weight your vehicle can handle. This is sometimes called just “towing capacity.”
- Combined trailer weight rating (CTWR), which refers to only the maximum safe weight allowed for trailers attached to your vehicle. This is usually referred to as just “trailer weight.”
If you want to know how much stuff you can put in your car, then you want the combined trailer weight rating (CTWR). If you want to know whether it’s possible for your car or truck load up everything in Home Depot without breaking down on the side of the road somewhere along Interstate 5, then you’re probably interested in its true curb weight ratings.
That’s impressive for a crossover, which is less similar to a truck than a traditional SUV
One of the most important things to know about a Subaru Outback is that it’s not an SUV. It’s a wagon, and it’s a crossover—not the same thing as an SUV at all. A traditional SUV has four doors, sits up high off the ground, and can be used both on-road and off-road without much difficulty.
A Subaru Outback is built more like a car than an actual truck or SUV; in fact, its official name is “Subaru XV Crosstrek“—the ‘XV’ stands for crossover utility vehicle. This means that while there are plenty of vehicles with higher tow ratings (including many SUVs), when you compare apples to apples—crossovers with crossovers—the Outback has one of the highest towing capacities around thanks to its all-wheel drive system.
The base engine—a 175-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder—is the one with the higher towing capacity
The base engine—a 175-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder—is the one with the higher towing capacity. It can pull 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, whereas a similarly outfitted model with a 256-horsepower 3.6-liter six cylinder can only tow up to 4,000 pounds. So if you’re looking for a car that will be able to pull lots of weight but don’t want to pay for a bigger engine, this is your best bet.
The optional powertrain—a 256-horsepower 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder—has a lower towing capacity of 3,500 pounds
The optional powertrain—a 256-horsepower 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder—has a lower towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
The 2.5-liter engine is available in the Outback 2.5i Premium, while the 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited also have this option in addition to the new 2.4L engine.
The difference between these two models lies solely within their engines: The base model uses a naturally aspirated 2-liter four cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft of torque, while each step up offers more power with additional features such as heated seats or sunroofs on higher trim levels (see full specs).
Adding the proper equipment, including CVT hill descent control, safe towing and more allows for greater towing prowess
As the owner of a Subaru Outback, you can improve your towing capabilities by adding the proper equipment, including CVT hill descent control, safe towing and more.
- Hill descent control: This system is designed to help drivers maintain a slow speed in steep inclines or declines. It can be added as an aftermarket option or included with some vehicles when purchased new.
- Trailer sway control: This prevents trailer swaying while towing by applying brakes on one side of the vehicle. The function is also available as an aftermarket option or included with some vehicles when purchased new.
- Trailer brake controller: This device allows you to use your vehicle’s electronic systems for braking purposes on trailers using electric brakes only (no air). They work in conjunction with the ABS system that comes standard on many Subarus so there is no interference between them when working together. Trailer hitch: A trailer hitch allows you to tow trailers weighing up to 5,000 pounds without additional equipment beyond what was already installed on your vehicle at purchase. Trailer wiring harness: A wiring harness is important because it provides power from your battery directly into any auxiliary accessories like running lights or taillights if needed (eBay).
The Outback can tow your trailer full of weekend gear without breaking so much as a sweat
The Outback’s standard system is rated for 2,700 pounds, and it can be upgraded with an optional trailer hitch. If you buy the latter (and it’s worth doing so if you plan to use your Outback as a tow vehicle), you’ll need to consult the owner’s manual for instructions on how to install it.
The Outback comes with plenty of power and torque no matter what trim level or engine configuration you choose. The base 2.5-liter flat-four has 175 horsepower, while the 3.6-liter flat-six in Limited models puts out 256 horses under hood—and even more if you opt for a turbocharger on XT models!
Whatever engine type or trim level you choose, though, one thing remains true: You’re going to want some extra wheelspin when pulling heavy loads—and that means letting off on your right foot sooner than usual before taking off from stop signs and intersections.
What if your Outback needs to tow something a little heavier? Well, you’ll have to shell out a little more money for the right equipment. The more expensive turbocharged engine option lowers the towing capacity down to 3,500 pounds without any of the additional equipment from above.
However, there’s one other way to make sure your Outback carries its full 2,700-pound payload: by using the CVT hill descent control. By using this feature with all of the other proper safety systems and brakes, you can tow a larger load without fear that anything will go wrong along the way.