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Subaru Forester Towing Capacity: Can It Tow A Trailer, Boat, Or Jet Ski?

Subaru Forester is considered a highly reliable fuel-efficient Luxury SUV. Several cars of this category are known to have decent towing capacities but does this one reach the market benchmarks? Can it tow heavy-duty trailers without damaging its engine? Let’s find out.

All the latest models/variants of the Subaru Forester (2014-Present) have a braked towing capacity of 1,500 pounds and an unbraked towing capacity of 1,000 pounds. The previous generations have a braked towing capacity of 2,000 pounds to 2,400 pounds and unbraked towing capacity of 1,000 pounds.

In this article, we’ll find out what you can tow with a 1,500 pounds towing capacity SUV. We’ll match it against the weight of several types of small, medium, and large-sized trailers and find if it’s enough to tow them or not. Lastly, we’ll take a look at its competition and analyze its performance.

Also read: Subaru Forester Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Maximum Towing Capacity By Year

The following table highlights the towing capacities of several variants of this car over the years. We can note that the towing capacity of the Subaru Forester has sharply decreased since 2014. Previously we witnessed 2,400 pounds capacity which is now reduced to only 1,500 pounds. This is one of the lowest towing capacities provided by any car in this category. Thus, a further decrease is highly unlikely.

YearEngineTowing Capacity Unbraked (lbs)Towing Capacity Braked (lbs)Note
2021All1,0001,500Always tow within the towing limits.
2020All1,0001,500Always tow within the towing limits.
2019AllN/A1,500Always tow within the towing limits.
2018AllN/A1,500Always tow within the towing limits.
2017AllN/A1,500Always tow within the towing limits.
2016AllN/A1,500Always tow within the towing limits.
2015AllN/A1,500Always tow within the towing limits.
2014AllN/A1,500Always tow within the towing limits.
2013All1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
2012All1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
2011All1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
2010All1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
2009All1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
2008All1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
2007All1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
2006All1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
2005All1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
2004MT Models1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
 AT Models1,0002,000 
2003MT Models1,0002,400Always tow within the towing limits.
 AT Models1,0002,000 
2002All1,0002,000Always tow within the towing limits.
2001All1,0002,000Always tow within the towing limits.
2000All1,0002,000Always tow within the towing limits.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Subaru Forester

Can It Tow a Trailer, Boat, or Jet Ski?

The following table mentions the weighing limits of different types of trailers. We have then matched these weight limits against the towing capacity of the Subaru Crosstrek. Note that these weights are subject to the loading/filling of these trailers. It is possible that your car may not be able to tow a loaded trailer but may tow an empty one.

All of the models of the Subaru Forester can tow small and medium-sized EMPTY trailers with a maximum weight limit of only 1,500 pounds. A few of these include Canoe/Kayak, Jet Ski, Teardrop, and Small Open Utility Trailers. It is not advisable to regularly tow a trailer with this car as it will damage its engine and thus, you’ll have to incur additional repair expenses.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Subaru Forester Takes (All Generations)

Trailer TypeAverage Empty Weight (lbs.)Average Total Loaded Weight (lbs.)Can A Subaru Forester Tow It?[SK1]
Canoe / Kayak Trailer200400Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Jet Ski Trailer3001,800It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Motorcycle Trailer5002,400It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Teardrop Trailer1,7002,400No
Small Open Utility Trailer7002,500It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
A-Frame Camper1,7002,900No
Small Enclosed Utility Trailer1,0003,200It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Fishing Boat Trailer6003,300It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Pop Up Camper2,3003,400No
Small Travel Trailer2,8003,600No
Tow Dolly6004,000It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Large Enclosed Utility Trailer2,7007,100No
Small Horse Trailer2,9007,200No
Large Travel Trailer6,7008,300No
Car Trailer1,9009,000No
Large Flatbed Trailer3,00010,400No
Large Boat Trailer2,20013,600No
Dump Trailer4,500 16,900No
Toy Hauler7,60017,900No
Large Livestock Trailer7,30018,700No
5th Wheel Camper12,70018,700No
Gooseneck Flatbed Trailer7,20023,200No
  • Kayak: The newer Subaru Forester models will be able to tow a kayak trailer. On average, an empty kayak trailer will weigh 200 pounds. A loaded kayak trailer will weigh an average of 400 pounds with a maximum of 800 pounds which is well within the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • Jet Ski Trailer: The newer Subaru Forester models will be able to tow an empty jet ski trailer. On average, an empty jet ski trailer will weigh 300 pounds. A loaded jet ski trailer will weigh an average of 1,800 pounds with a maximum of 3,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • Motorcycle Trailer: The newer Subaru Forester models will be able to tow an empty motorcycle trailer. On average, an empty motorcycle trailer will weigh 500 pounds. A loaded motorcycle trailer will weigh an average of 2,400 pounds with a maximum of 3,500, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • Teardrop Trailer: No Subaru Forester model will be able to tow a teardrop trailer. On average, an empty teardrop trailer will weigh 1,700 pounds. A loaded teardrop trailer will weigh an average of 2,400 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester. Some teardrop trailers will weigh a maximum of 6,000 pounds which is also outside of the limits of the  Subaru Forester.
  • Small Open Utility Trailer: The newer Subaru Forester models will be able to tow an empty small open utility trailer. On average, an empty small open utility trailer will weigh 700 pounds. A loaded small open utility trailer will weigh an average of 2,500 pounds with a maximum of 3,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • A-Frame Camper: No Subaru Forester model will be able to tow an a-frame camper. On average, an empty a-frame camper weighs 1,700 pounds. A loaded a-frame camper will weigh an average of 2,900 pounds with a maximum of 3,600 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • Small Enclosed Utility Trailer: The newer Subaru Forester models will be able to tow an empty small enclosed utility trailer. On average, an empty small enclosed utility trailer weighs 1,000 pounds. A loaded small enclosed utility trailer will weigh an average of 3,200 pounds with a maximum of 7,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • Fishing Boat Trailer: The newer Subaru Forester models will be able to tow an empty fishing boat trailer. On average, an empty fishing boat trailer weighs 600 pounds. A loaded fishing boat trailer will weigh an average of 3,300 pounds with a maximum of 6,000 pounds, outside of the range of the  Subaru Forester.
  • Pop-Up Camper: No Subaru Forester model will be able to tow a pop-up camper. On average, an empty pop-up camper weighs 2,300 pounds. A loaded pop-up camper will weigh an average of 3,400 pounds with a maximum of 4,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • Small Travel Trailer: No Subaru Forester model will be able to tow a small travel trailer. On average, an empty small travel trailer weighs 2,800 pounds. A loaded small travel trailer will weigh an average of 3,600 pounds with a maximum of 4,500 pounds, outside of the range of the  Subaru Forester.
  • Tow Dolly: The newer Subaru Forester models will be able to tow an empty tow dolly. On average, an empty tow dolly weighs 600 pounds. A loaded tow dolly will weigh an average of 4,000 pounds with a maximum of 5,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • Large Enclosed Utility Trailer: No Subaru Forester model will be able to tow a large enclosed utility trailer. On average, an empty large enclosed utility trailer weighs 2,700 pounds. A loaded large enclosed utility trailer weighs an average of 7,100 pounds with a maximum of 10,000 pounds, outside of the range of the  Subaru Forester.
  • Small Horse Trailer: No Subaru Forester model will be able to tow a small horse trailer. On average, an empty small horse trailer weighs 2,900 pounds. A loaded small horse trailer weighs an average of 7,200 pounds with a maximum of 8,000 pounds, outside of the range of the  Subaru Forester.
  • Car Trailer: No Subaru Forester model will be able to tow a car trailer. On average, an empty car trailer weighs 1,900 pounds. A loaded car trailer weighs an average of 9,000 pounds with a maximum of 15,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • Large Flatbed Trailer: No Subaru Forester model will be able to tow a large flatbed trailer. On average, an empty large flatbed trailer weighs 3,000 pounds. A loaded large flatbed trailer weighs an average of 10,400 pounds with a maximum of 26,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.
  • Large Boat Trailer: No Subaru Forester model will be able to tow a large boat trailer. On average, an empty large boat trailer weighs 2,200 pounds. A loaded large boat trailer weighs an average of 13,600 pounds with a maximum of 34,000 pounds, outside of the range of the Subaru Forester.

How Well Can It Tow Compared to its Competitors?

The following table highlights the towing performance of various SUVs that compete with the Subaru Forester. We can note that this car is not as good as some of its rivals.  For instance, the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox provides a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds which is 2,000 pounds more than the towing capacity of the Subaru Crosstrek. The same is the case with the 2020 Ford Escape and the 2021 Toyota RAV4, each having a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

The 2020 Mazda CX-5 also, has a higher towing capacity. Subaru must improve the towing performance of this car to compete in this tough competition.

Year / Make / ModelMin. Towing Capacity (lbs.)Max. Towing Capacity (lbs.)
2021 Chevrolet Equinox3,5003,500
2021 Honda CR-V1,5001,500
2021 Toyota RAV43,5003,500
2020 Ford Escape3,5003,500
2020 Mazda CX-52,0002,000

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