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Subaru Upgrades The New Forester Sport's Towing Capacity - It’s Better But Not Enough

The 2021 Subaru Forester gets a new upgrade. See how much it adds to its towing capacity and why it needs to be more.


What is the towing capacity of the 2021 Subaru Forester? The Subaru Forester Sport introduced last year in North America has a maximum tow rating of 1,500 lbs. The Sport trim is now a new model in Australia, and the Australian-spec model gets an upgrade not offered to U.S. customers. Subaru AU announced the new 2021 Forester 2.5i Sport variant would come with 1800 kg towing capacity up from the current 1500 kg rating. It's better, but it's not enough.

Many owners are looking for an all-wheel-drive compact SUV that will tow a small camper, sailboat, or multi-purpose trailer. The 2021 Forester comes standard with a Trailer Stability Assist (TSA), helping maintain vehicle stability while towing. A Forester SUV can pull a small utility trailer, but you'll need the Outback (2,700-3,500 lb. towing capacity) or Ascent (5,000 lb.) models for anything more significant.

2021 Subaru Forester pricing, features, specs

Why doesn't Subaru increase the Forester towing capacity?

Subaru attracts customers with active lifestyles, and they want a vehicle with a "go-anywhere" attitude, which the Forester has in its DNA. But Subaru Corporation failed its adventurous customers by not improving the new fifth-generation Forester's tow rating. If you want to tow anything larger than a small utility trailer with the newly-redesigned Forester SUV, you are out of luck.

Some of the compact SUV competition offers a higher tow rating than Forester. The Toyota RAV4 Hybrid (1750 lb.), RAV4 Adventure (3,500 lb), Mazda CX-5 (2,000 lb.), and Ford Escape (Titanium 3,500 lb.) all have more.

2021 Subaru Forester pricing, features, specs

The US-spec 2021 Subaru Forester still only offers a 1,500 lb. tow rating like the previous model. Subaru should give Forester customers wanting to tow a small camper, boat, or multi-purpose trailer a Forester Sport trim with greater towing capacity.

When will Subaru give the US-spec Forester more towing capacity?

The 2022 Subaru Forester is the model change to watch. Forester's model life cycle's fourth year is when the most prominent design, drivetrain, and safety changes occur. Subaru will give the compact SUV a "refresh" with some exterior and interior modifications to upgrade its appearance, but the significant changes will come underneath its skin.

We'd like to see the 2022 Subaru Forester get a considerable bump in towing capacity. The Australian-spec 2021 Subaru Forester Sport gets towing upgrades, but it's not enough.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru


Arthur (not verified)    September 17, 2020 - 6:49PM

The reason why the Subaru Forester has a lower tow rating is due to the fact it doesn’t have a bigger receiver tub opening, (we get a 1.25 inch compared to other markets where they get a 2 inch opening from the factory hitch) it doesn’t have an auxiliary transmission oil cooler, and towing regulations in North American isn’t tightly regulated. (Comparing to Europe and Australia).

Transmission Oil cooler would be a good start and if towing regulations were better then more car companies would increase their towing capacity instead of down grading them.