What Are the Towing Capacities Of Subaru Models?
Subaru makes a complete lineup of SUVs, each designed for different needs. Ascent, the granddaddy of the bunch, has a towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs. The Outback has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 lbs, and the Forester SUV is rated for 3,000 lbs. (It should be noted that not every SUV model will tow the maximum weight. For example, the Forester Wilderness model will tow 3,000 lbs, but the standard Forester is rated for 1,500). For more information concerning the towing capacities of each Subaru model, see Subarudrive.com.
The Crosstrek will tow up to 1,500 lbs with the 2.0L or 2.5L gas-powered engines and about 1,000 lbs for the hybrid model. While this might not seem like much, it is enough to pull a small camper or utility trailer. If you need to tow more than the maximum allowed, you should secure a different tow vehicle rather than trying to haul more than the SUV is rated for.
A quick word about weight capacities: A trailer will have a gross trailer weight (GTW) and a tongue weight (TW). Since your trailer will connect to the receiver by a trailer tongue, it is important to know the tongue weight. Most hitches can handle a tongue weight within 10-15% of the total gross trailer weight).
What Is Needed To Tow With A Subaru Crosstrek?
To tow with your Crosstrek, you will need to invest in a couple of items.
Receiver Hitch - Frame Mounted
It is essential to tow with the proper equipment when using a vehicle like the Crosstrek. Since no Subaru comes with a standard tow package (which means that it must be ordered as an option or mounted after the fact). It is always best to tow a trailer with a frame-mounted receiver because attaching a hitch to the bumper is simply not feasible, and it will ruin the look of your Crosstrek forever.
Many companies, including Subaru, make a receiver hitch specially designed to fit the frame of the Crosstrek. For example, e-trailer.com has a Class III hitch that will fit a 2023 Crosstrek. While some of these receiver hitches are more visible from the Crosstrek’s rear than others, you want to purchase an aesthetically pleasing one. Some companies like Stealth Hitches make receivers that “hide” underneath the rear bumper, so they are not quite as obvious. The link shows one compatible with a 2018 - 21 Subaru Crosstrek). It is important to hitch the receiver to the frame to reach the maximum towing capacity and ensure that your selected receiver hitch fits your specific vehicle.
The second thing you must purchase to pull your trailer or a small camper. This unit is part of the hitch with the trailer ball attached. The ball slides into the receiver on the crossbar that has been mounted to the frame.
The most common ball type is a 2-inch ball, used in most small trailers, boat haulers, campers, and other applications. (U-haul will only rent a trailer if there is a 2-inch ball). Some lightweight trailers have a 1 ⅞-inch coupler, so you need to measure the coupler of the trailer you intend to pull before purchasing.
The ball mount will integrate with the coupler of the trailer or camper to provide a connection between the tow vehicle and the trailer’s tongue. As the trailer is towed, the ball reacts (pivots) to allow the trailer some freedom of movement (like when making a turn). The ability of the ball to turn makes the trailer’s turning smoother and much safer.
While many light-duty trailers can be pulled in most states without safety chains, it is usually a good idea to use them. The safety chains will prevent the trailer from disconnecting from the tow vehicle should the coupler connection become severed or separated.
Most states require trailers over 80 inches wide to have trailer lights (brake, tail, and turn signal). While some states have specific regulations for smaller trailers and campers, you should find out if your trailer has wired lights and use them with a wiring harness when installing the receiver hitch. You will have to pay extra for the wiring harness, which can mean the difference between you and an accident.
What Does It Cost To Install A Hitch On A Crosstrek?
The average cost of a receiver hitch will vary depending on the manufacturer and the hitch class. Typically, a hitch installation will cost $350 - 650, depending on the labor installation charge.
Can You Haul A Bike Rack On A Subaru Crosstrek?
Many companies make bike racks that fit into the receiver hitch on the Crosstrek. If you have one or two bikes, there are several different kinds to choose from, and most compact SUV owners prefer the rear-mounted bike racks over the roof-mounted units. Here is an example of a rear hitch-mounted bike rack from Thule sold by Subaru.
The disadvantage of rear-mounted hitches on small SUVs is that they may limit access to the rear hatch. Companies make tilt-away racks that will move to give clearance for the hatch to open. These units cost more than the basic rear-mounted hitch but do offer more convenience.