2020 Subaru Outback turbo for towing

WudzyWudzy Posts: 4Member
Has anyone tried towing a [email protected] 320 with the new 2020 Subaru Outback with turbo engine yet?  

Comments

  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 1,094Member
    Welcome to the Forums!

    You will get better advice if you can get very specific on the engine specs, model, etc.
    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • WudzyWudzy Posts: 4Member
    I believe the new turbo is rated to tow 3500 lbs. (vs. 2700 on the prior Outbacks) with a 350 tongue weight.  The turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer-four has 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque that pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT).
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 80Member
    Check your specs for steep grades in hot weather.
    2021 400 with 2018 4Runner  Portland OR.
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Posts: 310Member
    So far, I’ve found very little firsthand towing experience with the new 2020 XT models. Stats say it should be fine. Plenty of us have towed with less capable Outbacks. One annoyance is that it apparently only comes with a 4 pin wiring harness, while the Tab and most other trailers in this weight range come with electric brakes and require a 7 pin. I’m still waffling between an XT, the Ascent, or finally leaving Subaru for something else.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r 
    Pacific NW
  • db_cooperdb_cooper Posts: 551Member
    The problem is transmission temps.  I have a 2014 Outback pre-CVT and it gets too warm.  I use an Xterra with transmission cooler, and it's great with a 320.
    2015 Max S Outback | 2010 Xterra



  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Posts: 310Member
    db_cooper said:
    The problem is transmission temps.  I have a 2014 Outback pre-CVT and it gets too warm.  I use an Xterra with transmission cooler, and it's great with a 320.
    My admittedly limited understanding is that the 3.6r model (prior to 2020) has a transmission cooler already, which is part of why that model has a higher tow rating of 3000 lbs (at least in some years). It’s pointless, since it still only has a 200 lb tongue weight limit that is a pain in the backside with a nuCamp era 320, but I’ve monitored my trans temps while towing on my 2015 3.6r and not had an issue. If the tongue weight were higher, I’d have zero qualms about sticking with it, which is why the new 2020 XT is so tempting.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r 
    Pacific NW
  • SubaruLouSubaruLou Posts: 26Member
    VictoriaP said:
    I’m still waffling between an XT, the Ascent, or finally leaving Subaru for something else.
    I love my Ascent, preferably with my [email protected] attached heading somewhere fun, but also regular driving. Not the best gas mileage, but my daily commute is down my hallway.  =)
    2019 [email protected] 320 S  |  2019 Subaru Ascent
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Posts: 310Member
    SubaruLou said:
    VictoriaP said:
    I’m still waffling between an XT, the Ascent, or finally leaving Subaru for something else.
    I love my Ascent, preferably with my [email protected] attached heading somewhere fun, but also regular driving. Not the best gas mileage, but my daily commute is down my hallway.  =)
    Yeah, I’m leaning towards the Ascent for the most part, just loathe giving up the better mileage and more compact body of the Outback for ease of parking. Plus I know I’ll feel ridiculous by myself 99% of the time in a 7-8 passenger rig. And I hate that I’m going to have to spend a fortune on a Limited with upgrades just to get the equivalent features that are on my current vehicle, all because my current tongue weight is stupidly low. Whine, whine. 😁


    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r 
    Pacific NW
  • ckjsckjs Posts: 12Member
    Our new Subaru XT will be pulling our clamshell as soon as I wire up the brake controller. We are really looking forward to head over the Sierras and other mountains.  Our old 4-cylinder Outback did fine at low elevation, but slogged up even coastal passes. 
    The lack of a 7 blade connector for an OEM 3500 pound hitch is pretty dumb. It implies that Subaru wasn’t really thinking about towing. 
    Highway MPG is slightly over 30, especially if you keep steady around 60. 
    Charles & Judy, Santa Cruz, CA
    2018 [email protected] 320 CS-S; 4 cyl 2020 Subaru Outback Onyx XT
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Posts: 310Member
    ckjs said:
    Our new Subaru XT will be pulling our clamshell as soon as I wire up the brake controller. We are really looking forward to head over the Sierras and other mountains.  Our old 4-cylinder Outback did fine at low elevation, but slogged up even coastal passes. 
    The lack of a 7 blade connector for an OEM 3500 pound hitch is pretty dumb. It implies that Subaru wasn’t really thinking about towing. 
    Highway MPG is slightly over 30, especially if you keep steady around 60. 
    One concern I’d have with swapping out the 4 pin connector for a 7 pin: Subaru’s warranty restrictions on towing have historically insisted on all OEM parts, or the warranty can be voided. It’s absurd, and I don’t know that it would seriously hold up in court, but I’d definitely be interested to know if that was still the case on the 2020 XT models. I know some similar wording is still present on the Ascent, because it’s been debated when we’ve discussed that Subaru only sells one insert that doesn’t have the right drop for a regular Tab, forcing anyone who needs a different drop to go with an aftermarket part.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r 
    Pacific NW
  • BirdieJaneBirdieJane Posts: 212Member
    edited January 16
    We have owned the Outback and Ascent both Setup for our Tab Outback. Our Subaru Outback was setup with a class 3 hitch and 7 pin plug by our dealer. No questions ask no problem with Subaru. Dealer also installed our hitch on our Ascent. We use a 7” drop for our Tab. New Years under tow the PCV valve failed in the Ascent, and now the car is getting a new engine as we speak,  under warranty No questions ask. 
    January 24th Subaru will announce the recall on the Ascent for this problem 
    2017 [email protected] Outback white w black trim / 2019 Subaru Ascent White with black trim / Birch Bay WA.
    aka BirdieJane towed by Quinn
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Posts: 310Member
    @BirdieJane Ouch! Hopefully you get it back soon!
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r 
    Pacific NW
  • lkc001lkc001 Posts: 506Member
    I would always question towing with a vehicle that does not come standard with the tow package, including tranny cooler, 7-pin connector, appropriate tongue weight capacity, etc.  If a vehicle does not come with the tow package, it wasn't really meant to tow.  Even if the salesman/specs say it can tow 3,500. which should be the LEAST amount you would need to tow a Tab 320 or any other trailer in the same weight range.  JMHO. . . . 

    2016 Nissan Frontier SV V6 4x4
    Finally!  New Owner of a 2017 Tab 320S! 
    Woohoo!
  • VictoriaPVictoriaP Posts: 310Member
    lkc001 said:
    I would always question towing with a vehicle that does not come standard with the tow package, including tranny cooler, 7-pin connector, appropriate tongue weight capacity, etc.  If a vehicle does not come with the tow package, it wasn't really meant to tow.  Even if the salesman/specs say it can tow 3,500. which should be the LEAST amount you would need to tow a Tab 320 or any other trailer in the same weight range.  JMHO. . . . 

    The 2020 Outback XT models come with an optional tow package of a 2” hitch and 4 pin flat connector, and have a 350lb tongue weight limit as opposed to the inadequate 200lb limit on earlier models. (They already have a beefier engine than the basic model.) Subaru is not known for prioritizing towing as a feature on their vehicles, hence, my suspicion is that in the design phase, they were thinking boats, jet skis, and tiny teardrops with surge brakes rather than electric brakes. None of those require a 7 pin. Plenty of other tow vehicles have to have 7 pin added, it’s not *that* uncommon.

    I’d definitely like to see more real world experience towing with it before I assume anything. My guess, it’ll be an adequate minimum tow vehicle along the lines of the RAV4 Adventure or Ford Escape. That’s not to say it’ll be ideal, because I personally think ideal for a 320 is a TV with a 5,000 lb tow rating. But if you travel fairly light, it should be enough.
    2019 320s BD Lite, white with blue (“Haven”)
    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6r 
    Pacific NW
  • TabberJohnTabberJohn Posts: 539Member
    edited January 17
    I can see where people might get carried away with what's possible. It's an entirely different (hitch) ball game in UK/EU.
    Check out: https://www.practicalcaravan.com/news/173558-tow-car-awards-2019-winners-revealed
    Think TC(ar) not TV(ehicle). Plenty of sedans.
    You can't really compare apples to apples with turbo+diesel being a common spec, but it's interesting to see what's considered a viable tow vehicle across the pond. Love the emergency maneuver test videos.
    Only three pick-ups listed out of 500 entries here: https://www.thetowcarawards.com/tow-car-chooser/
    Perhaps they consider us Yanks to be wimps when it comes to towing. ;)
    On the other hand they don't have many 10,000 ft passes to navigate on holiday or hours to drive on Interstates. :|
    Capacity: 1000kg = 2200lbs, 1500kg = 3300lbs, 2000kg = 4400lbs, 3500kg = 7700lbs

    2015 [email protected] Max S (White/Silver) -> 2014 Ford Escape 2.0L (turbo, AWD, factory tow)
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 80Member
    edited January 16
    I used to own a 5th gen Outback. The owners manual said towing in over 100 degree weather up a 5 mile steep grade cut my tow rating in half to 1350 pounds!
    So what about 90 degrees and a 4 mile long hill?

    I think some vehicles can tow, and others are designed too.
    2021 400 with 2018 4Runner  Portland OR.
  • WudzyWudzy Posts: 4Member
    edited January 17
    Interestingly, the nuCamp website is showing a Subaru Outback towing a [email protected] 320. 
     
  • pthomas745pthomas745 Posts: 1,094Member
    European tow ratings are very different than in the USA for many reasons.  There was a Jalopnik article on this a while back.  You can go through the physics lesson if you want, or scroll down toward the end of the article for more specific reasons.  The roads in Europe are slower, their ideas on the physics are a bit different, and they have opted for (seemingly) less safe regulations.


    2017 Outback
    Towed by 2014 Touareg TDi
  • db_cooperdb_cooper Posts: 551Member
    @VictoriaP ,  our 2014 3.6R definitely didn't come with a transmission cooler.   We had to press the Outback into service when our Xterra was waiting for parts.  It already had a good hitch, but we had to add  7 pin harness before the trip.  I monitored the transmission temps on the entire trip with a bluetooth thingy plugged in to the OBDII port.   The temps were never good,  whether on flats or climbing mountains.  When we got home, I asked the mechanic to replace the transmission fluid, but he said it looked and smelled ok, so we didn't.   So,  I feel like we got away with it, but I'd add a cooler if I needed to use the Outback again.  I also wouldn't buy a CVT equipped car if towing was a big part of it's usage, but to each their own.
    2015 Max S Outback | 2010 Xterra



  • SubaruLouSubaruLou Posts: 26Member
    VictoriaP Plus I know I’ll feel ridiculous by myself 99% of the time in a 7-8 passenger rig. 😁


    I feel your pain! I went from a Honda Insight and tent to a Mazda CX-5 towing a SylvanSport GO to the Ascent towing a [email protected] 320. My latest vehicle decisions have completely revolved around camping setup!
    2019 [email protected] 320 S  |  2019 Subaru Ascent
  • FefferFeffer Posts: 1Member
    edited January 21
    I have the 2020 Subaru Onyx with the turbo engine & I absolutely love it for towing my [email protected] 320. Went with the Outback instead of the Ascent because it was going to be my every day vehicle & I wanted the better gas mileage. Plus the Outback handled much better & was more fun to drive over the Ascent during the test drive. Feel free to contact me if you have specific questions.
  • WudzyWudzy Posts: 4Member
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience towing with the new 2020 Onyx!  That's the trim I was leaning toward too since it has a full size spare (all the other trims have temporary spares.)
  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Posts: 725Member
    @Feffer what kind of MPG towing and solo does that turbo Subaru get? Just curious how that stacks up to a bigger TV in mileage?
    2019 [email protected] 400 Boondock Lite
  • DsumrahDsumrah Posts: 16Member
    We are looking to upgrade our 2016 Outback to a 2020 Outback Onyx XT (Called Outdoor XT here in Canada). @Feffer I was also wondering about the MPG when towing and how many miles/km you get from a tank. 
    2016 Subaru Outback | 2017 [email protected] CS
    2015 [email protected] Q
Sign In or Register to comment.