Skip to Content

Subaru Outback Towing Capacity: Can It Tow A Trailer, Boat, or Jet Ski?

The Subaru Outback is ranked 10th out of 26 vehicles in the midsize SUV category and has scored a reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5. These are fairly decent numbers that showcase the performance of this car. However, we are not yet certain regarding the tow ratings of this car. So let’s find out if it performs better in this regard or not.

The 2.5-liter variants of the latest Subaru Outback (2020-Present) provide a braked towing capacity of 2,700 pounds while the 2.4-liter variants provide a braked towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. The earliest models (2000-2004) have a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds while the later generations have a towing capacity of 2,700 to 3,000 pounds across various engine configurations mainly including the 2.5-liter, 3.0-litre, and 3.6-litre engines.

Below, we’ll use 2.4-liter models for comparison against the trailer weights as well as in the analysis of the towing competition. This is because they are the latest variants and have the highest towing capacity (3,500 lbs) in all the Subaru Outback models. Let’s get started.

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

Maximum Towing Capacity By Year

The following table highlights the evolution of the towing capacities of various models of the Subaru Outback. We can witness several small changes throughout its production but the biggest improvement that can be noticed in this regard was in 2005. Back then Subaru vastly improved the towing capacity of this car and it jumped from 2,000 pounds to 2,700 in all models and 3,000 pounds in the 3.0-liter models. Since then, the overall towing capacity has only improved by 500 pounds in the latest 2.4-liter models.

YearEngineTowing Capacity Unbraked (lbs)Towing Capacity Braked (lbs)Note
20212.4 Litre Models1,0003,500Always tow within the towing limits.
 2.5 Litre Models1,0002,700 
20202.4 Litre Models1,0003,500Always tow within the towing limits.
 2.5 Litre Models1,0002,700 
2019All1,0002,700Always tow within the towing limits.
2018All1,0002,700Always tow within the towing limits.
2017All1,0002,700Always tow within the towing limits.
20163.6 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 2.5 Litre Models1,0002,700 
20153.6 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 2.5 Litre Models1,0002,700 
20143.6 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 2.5 Litre Models1,0002,700 
20133.6 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 2.5 Litre Models1,0002,700 
20123.6 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 All other models1,0002,700 
20113.6 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 All other models1,0002,700 
20103.6 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 All other models1,0002,700 
20093.0 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 All other models1,0002,700 
20083.0 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 All other models1,0002,700 
20073.0 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 All other models1,0002,700 
20063.0 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 All other models1,0002,700 
20053.0 Litre Models1,0003,000Always tow within the towing limits.
 All other models1,0002,700 
2004All1,0002,000Always tow within the towing limits.
2003All1,0002,000Always tow within the towing limits.
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: Types Of Gas A Subaru Outback Takes (All Generations)

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

In the following table, we have collected the weighing limits of different types of trailers. We have then matched these weight limits against the towing capacity of the Subaru Outback. Take a look and find out if this car can tow the trailer of your choice or not.

The latest 2.4 liters Subaru Outback can tow small, mid, and large-sized trailers with a maximum weight limit of 3,500 pounds. However, you’ll have to be careful when they are fully loaded as their weight might be beyond the towing capacity of this car. For instance, an empty large flatbed trailer weighs 3,000 pounds which can be towed by the Subaru Legacy, however, a fully-loaded large flatbed trailer weighs 10,400 pounds which is simply not feasible for towing by this car.

Trailer TypeAverage Empty Weight (lbs.)Average Total Loaded Weight (lbs.)Can the latest Subaru 2.4L Outback Tow It?
Canoe / Kayak Trailer200400Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Jet Ski Trailer3001,800Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Motorcycle Trailer5002,400Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Teardrop Trailer1,700 2,400Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Small Open Utility Trailer7002,500Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
A-Frame Camper1,7002,900Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Small Enclosed Utility Trailer1,0003,200Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Fishing Boat Trailer6003,300Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Pop Up Camper2,3003,400Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Small Travel Trailer2,8003,600Yes, it can tow both empty and filled trailers.
Tow Dolly6004,000It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Large Enclosed Utility Trailer2,7007,100It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Small Horse Trailer2,9007,200It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Large Travel Trailer6,7008,300No.
Car Trailer1,9009,000It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Large Flatbed Trailer3,00010,400It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Large Boat Trailer2,20013,600It can only tow an empty trailer of this category.
Dump Trailer4,50016,900No.
Toy Hauler7,60017,900No.
Large Livestock Trailer7,30018,700No.
5th Wheel Camper12,70018,700No.
Gooseneck Flatbed Trailer7,20023,200No.
  • Kayak: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package 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 Lexus RX 350.
  • Jet Ski Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow a 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 which is within the range of the Lexus RX 350.
  • Motorcycle Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow a 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 which is within the range of the Lexus RX 350.
  • Teardrop Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package 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 which is within the range of the  Lexus RX 350. Some teardrop trailers will weigh a maximum of 6,000 pounds, outside of the limits of the  Lexus RX 350.
  • Small Open Utility Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow a 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 which is within the range of the Lexus RX 350.
  • A-Frame Camper: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow an empty 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 Lexus RX 350.
  • Small Enclosed Utility Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package 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 Lexus RX 350.
  • Fishing Boat Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package 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 Lexus RX 350.
  • Pop-Up Camper: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow an empty 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 Lexus RX 350.
  • Small Travel Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow an empty 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  Lexus RX 350.
  • Tow Dolly: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package 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 Lexus RX 350.
  • Large Enclosed Utility Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow an empty 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  Lexus RX 350.
  • Small Horse Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow an empty 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  Lexus RX 350.
  • Car Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow an empty 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 Lexus RX 350.
  • Large Flatbed Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow an empty 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 Lexus RX 350.
  • Large Boat Trailer: The latest 2.4L Subaru Outback models with a towing package will be able to tow an empty 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 Lexus RX 350.

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Subaru Outback

How Well Can It Tow Compared to its Competitors?

The following table highlights the towing capacities of several compact SUVs that compete with the Subaru Outback. We can note a wide spread between these figures between a minimum of 1,500 pounds to a maximum of 7,000 pounds. Comparing the Subaru Legacy with the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee (7,200 lbs) and the 2021 Toyota 4Runner (5,000 lbs), we can note the Outback lags behind both cars by a great margin. Subaru must improve the towing stats of this car to provide better competition.

Year / Make / ModelMin. Towing Capacity (lbs.)Max. Towing Capacity (lbs.)
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe3,5003,500
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee7,2007,200
2021 Subaru Forester1,5001,500
2021 Toyota 4Runner5,0005,000
2021 Volvo S603,5003,500

Also read: