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Hitch Tongue Weight: 500 lb Ascent, vs traditional 200 lb Outback (2000-2019)

37917 Views 72 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  ELPTXJC
I got a factory hitch for my 2017 3.6 OB from the dealer when I b

I'm looking at something like the attached picture. I was just at the rv dealer and we put the the trailer hitch on a scale and it came in at 350 lbs.

The factory hitch max tongue is 200 lbs?

This is empty. I'll likely add 50 to 80 lbs of battery which goes in the front.

So is this out of the question?


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yep, that trailer is out of the question.

what subarus tow usually is things described as "ultralights"


that looks like a rather large and heavy thing on the end of the scale, for those looking for single axle things like tear drops.

and what you got there is something made to tow by a light body on frame truck or SUV.

and in that particular one I would think there is no way to shift enough weight onto the ass end to lighten 150# on the front. (it is just made to be towed by things that can take its load there....and do it well,. if you got a chevy tahoe, with a 500# tongue limit, this is a beast for you,...and you can really load it up.

if you want to see pics of trailers on this forum click here. most of them are the right kind. (although a few odd monsters in the bunch).
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the little trailers that subarus typically pull have the axle right under the middle of the body. so as to be able to balance the load off the tongue.


things like pop ups / crank outs / crank ups ("high /low") give more room for little space, tent sided pop ups really do it with little weight.

plenty of small tear drops also running around with multiple awnings and extra tents.
I went to my dealer (Austin Subaru). I spoke with a "design consultant" and she got back to me with the suggestion that she can get me a hitch with a tongue weight rating of 600 lbs.

OK, how much faith would y'all put in what she has told me?

The you say about the frame of an OB being the limiting factor makes sense to me.

And maybe I should just consider an Assent.
the "person" appears to be a outside contractor selling bigger tougher hitches. however the tongue weight is the car, with its wimpy 200lb max tongue weight unibody. (over load the car even with a huge hitch, and it will still bend the car).

people put aftermarket 2" hitches on subarus all the time though. (so they don't need adapters for things that are 2")

the only way to get around that is to custom weld extra steal on the car underneath. people have done it
$$$ unless your inlaws are custom welders that work for beer.
(like going from triple layers to 4 or 5 layers).

I have yet to see what the Ascent's tongue weight is coming up to,
...but the hitch is massive and the listed max weight tow limit is 5000lbs. which brings it in line with other similar sized SUVs.

(lots of typing on here about the Ascent and its jump in towing over the outback here. ....maybe more will come out in april.....

people are ordering Ascents now, ...maybe get them in the end of June. @Carl Abrams may be able to suggest better. (and I would buy a car from him)
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Well well well... I brought in my ob for a service, asked about the assent tongue weight... and...

277 lbs.

So... that is rather a... unfortunate limit.

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unfortunate, but it is news, and thanks for the report. :smile2:

everyone should remember the Ascent is a unibody SUV, NOT a Body on Frame thing.

maybe the coming 2019 forester, and 2020 outback will toughen up to that much when they get on the global platform.

(2019 forester maybe in the NY autoshow that opens March 30, 2018).
every once in a while I check for a ascent owners manual to be posted on one of subaru's sites.

links are there for it on the tech info site, but the manual is not up there yet. (I looked about 5 days ago).
FYI y鈥檃ll, the number was from an Assent brochure. So not just a sales dude talkin outa hiz... uhm... knowledge. Said on the specs page... towing capacity 5,000 lbs, tongue weight 277 lbs.

That is a really weird number. Maybe a Kg to Lbs conversion?

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pic or scan on that?
@Carl Abrams do you have such a brochure or anything yet with the tongue weight # in it?
No, sorry. It did not occur to me to snap a pic.

I was getting my free service and thought I was ask about the Assent tongue weight spec. The salesman dragged me into his office and grabbed an assent brochure.
in the basic brochures that have been out for a while now the tongue max weight is not on the spec list.

what is : the output of the engine:

260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque

a paper copy of this: and incidentally the bottom of this has a "ascent demenions section"
and on it as the first slide on at the top:

"277 pound feet of torque, and up to 5000lbs of towing capacity"


the actual max tongue weight is buried in the owners manual or some technical listing. which seems to have yet to be published anywhere.
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here is a publicity video of a ascent:

and its got a pretty big teardrop

Tongue weight? Nope.

We're making an educated guess here that it's going to be in the 350 - 500 lb range, but that's all that is, a guess.

Note that the BASE model Ascent only has a 2,000 lb towing capacity, which I presume has something to do with the Trailer Stability Assist that's added to the Premium through Touring models, but again, that's only supposition on my part. (Well, and on the part of several other people here, too.)
in this video watch the subaru rep at the back of the Ascent at the Detroit Show

pointing and talking about the panel where the hitch goes.
updated thread title, and made it a sticky,

to display the news for everyone. :smile2:

older title was 'Factory Hitch... Is the 200lb it? outback vs. ascent'

this really opens subaru up as a trailer tower of all kinds less then 5000 lbs.

and you can now add some on the front of trailers to make them even more stable with the 500lb tongue weight,

vs. struggling to keep the tongue of a all other subarus made under 200 lbs. .
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This page seems to confirm it. Scroll down and look at the trailer hitch in the lifestyle accessories section.
great find !! :smile2:

(copied from the lifestyle tab).

"Subaru hitches are engineered and crash tested to meet the same rigorous safety standards as the rest of the Ascent.
Rated at 500 lbs. tongue weight, 5,000 lbs. maximum towing capacity,
with base models rated at 200 lbs. tongue weight and 2,000 lbs. maximum towing capacity.
Trailer Hitch requires the hitch and harness for proper operation and safety compliance.
Hitch ball not included.
Trailer brakes may be required by your state for heavier loads. Consult your owner's manual for more information."
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Base, Premium, Limited, Touring

The specs on the Premium are the only one that say 500/5000. The other statement, "...with base models rated at 200 lbs. tongue weight and 2,000 lbs. maximum towing capacity" implies that the Base is 200/2000, the Premium is 500/5000, but there's nothing about the Limited and Touring.
you got to go to the site to see the breakdown, of specs on a grid.

Base model Ascent ~ stripped to make it cheap, missing things, they stripped the regular HD tow package off it,
...leaving it only capable of towing a jet ski, or a ultralight popup camper,...with its 7-8 passengers
I'm going with the Pursue w/o the kitchen. I'm likely going to scrap the shelving in front in exchange for something lighter/smaller also. Things like a generator and a 12v refrigerator will go on the rear. I've found that the Outback is rated with a tongue weight of 330lbs in Australia. I also found that the hitch that's equiped there is more in line with the aftermarket types (DrawTite and Curt) that bolt further in on the chassis as opposed to the factory class 2 (undersized for just about any trailer) or the EcoHitch that mount to the bumper. I can't see Subaru producing wildly different chassis across markets. My trailer is coming with brakes to help ease the work on the car's brakes and I may look at the Rallitek springs to keep the suspension/tires good if there's too much squat. There was guy on the inTech owners Facebook group that has a fully loaded Pursue (close to 350) that he tows with a 2017 Outback 2.5. He claims no issues.

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the US has stronger safety regulations for trailer towing then other places.
...places that don't have people wanting to tow a 3000lb travel trailer up and down mountains
like Pikes Peak, Colorado on a hot day in Summer. (like around rally race weekend there).

I am surprised you books there list so much on tongue. ...and I wonder if anyone has bent a unibody vehicle due to it. like taken the trailer off road, or up over a tall curb and had a lot more weight than the regular listing, do to it shoved forward onto the tongue at a odd angle.
According to a pre-release spec sheet for the Ascent, the tongue capacity is 277lbs. That came with an *, indicating it could change once the car hits production. I'm hoping that 277 is conservative, and it's rated higher so I can aim for the [email protected] 400 or Little Guy Max, myself...
read this thread going backwards.
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