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How New 2020 Subaru Ascent Will Work Hard Towing Your Small Camper Or Boat

Do you need to haul cargo or pull a boat or trailer this summer? Look at the 2020 Subaru Ascent and its towing capacity.


Active families are getting ready for summer outdoor activities and they need a vehicle equipped for sports fun. The Subaru Tribeca was too small and the Japanese automaker needed a larger 3-row vehicle for families to haul their gear. The outdated Tribeca could only tow 2000 lbs. and it wasn’t meeting the needs of growing families, so Subaru Corp developed the all-new 2019 Ascent family hauler that is the largest vehicle the brand has ever made. Do you need to tow or haul more?

Hook up

Subaru Ascent brings with it a new FA24 2.4-liter turbo Boxer engine developing 260-horsepower. It’s the broad peak torque band of 277 lb-ft between 2,000 and 4,800 rpm that will give the new 3-Row SUV it’s towing ability. This is what will get the new 2019 Ascent moving from a start, power it at altitude up steep mountain passes, and will allow the largest vehicle Subaru has ever built to tow up to 5,000 lb.

2020 Subaru AscentDo you have a boat?

According to information published by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), there are 17 million recreational boats in the U.S., and many customers will be looking for a capable vehicle. Every boater needs a vehicle equipped to tackle their towing needs. Whether you’re towing a boat or a small camper, the Ascent has the goods to handle the task.

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The Ascent family hauler will also pull a small camper or trailer. In the video below, Ryan Douthit from Driving Sports TV tows a 4,300-lb. Airstream caravan around a cone course to see just how capable the new 3-Row SUV is at hauling. He gives a thumbs up on the Ascent for its towing capabilities. Check out the towing video below.

2020 Subaru Ascent

The 2020 Subaru Ascent is a vehicle to check out for active families who require a vehicle with the power to haul fairly large loads.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA, Patrick Subaru


John (not verified)    January 13, 2020 - 12:28PM

In reply to by Mollie (not verified)

I know this is an older comment but the tow package is just the hitch, you don't get upgraded brakes. The manual states that the trailer must have trailer brakes to tow the 5,000 pounds. if you own a boat, it most likely has surge brakes. If it is a camper you are towing, it most likely has electric brakes and you will need an aftermarket brake controller. The base ascent does not come with the transmission cooler so to tow 5,000 pounds you have to have the trims above the base.

Brian (not verified)    September 3, 2020 - 9:28AM

I have the 2020 Ascent touring model and just purchased a 4400+lb travel trailer. My question is, when towing should I use the auto transmission or use the manuel option or is there no differnce. Just wondering which would be easier on the transmission for the engine wouldn't have to work as hard. Thanks

Mandy MacNaphas (not verified)    September 7, 2020 - 11:58PM

In reply to by Brian (not verified)

How have you done? We are looking at a 3800 lb ULW, 4500 Max wt trailer. We are concerned about wind pushing the trailer around as it is 4 feet higher and 1 foot wider than the 2020 Ascent.

mondegreen (not verified)    October 5, 2020 - 12:53PM

The conventional wisdom seems to be don't even think about towing with a CVT. I am skeptical, because the conventional wisdom is usually very conservative, and especially so with towing. But I would love to hear comments--based on both experience and knowledge of CVTs. I need to tow 2300 lbs dry weight, so maybe 2600 loaded, so I would also consider the newer Outbacks, which have 3300-3500 tow capacity. Thanks!

Joshua D (not verified)    March 17, 2021 - 7:30PM

We have the 2020 Ascent and thinking to get the Jayco x17z, which is 3300 dry. I'm curious where Mandy and Brian are driving their trailers.

Mandy MacNaphas (not verified)    June 5, 2021 - 9:28AM

In reply to by Joshua D (not verified)

Well. We’ve had our combo since October, we’ve had no problem on the flatlands, top speed at 65 mph, or the waggle sets in, especially of semi truck drivers are passing at 80 mph (Utah). The struggle comes when driving up hills in the in the summer heat. We are right there with the truck drivers turning off the AC and metering out kinetic energy to stay above 50 mph. So, will it tow, yes. Is it slow going? Oh heck yes. We are by no means keeping up with the guys using duallies hauling the 5th wheels at 70+ mph, but we keep up with all the other midsize SUVs hauling small trailers on the road- maybe slightly better on the hills with the turbo charger.

Stan Tehee (not verified)    June 2, 2021 - 12:02PM

I used the 2019 Ascent to tow a small trailer and motorcycle from California to Missouri, and boy did it struggle. Yeah, I went through some rough up and down hill driving, but even on the flat lands it sucked gas like no one's business and had difficulty staying at highway speeds.