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'13 OB 3.6R Ltd
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31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey forum,

I am looking for a new commuter and tow vehicle, with the Outback really being on my short list. I am a former Subie owner too (had an '07 WRX) and am familiar with Subarus in general.

I would be looking at 2013 3.6R, with a 3000 lb tow capacity (200 lb hitch) to tow a small pop up (1099 lbs dry, 1680 GVWR, 145 hitch weight, has electric brakes).

I know I am well within the weight ratings of the Subie Outback and can tow it safely.

Really, my question is how has people's experiences been with their Outbacks who tow, as far as reliability? Any problems with the driveline or suspension? All ok with them?

Conventional wisdom around the net typically says to go get a big SUV or truck to lug any trailer around. I am just not a big fan of having to drive one 365 days a year, so I can tow a trailer on occasional vacations. It is a big fuel mileage, and ride penalty.

Honestly, about the only true SUV I would be interested in would be a Wrangler Unlimited anyway. Which is probably the least efficient, and worst riding I could find. I am a former TJ Wrangler owner, and like them (other than that ride, and bad fuel mileage).

With the Outback being one of the only non-SUV choices that seems equipped to tow a decent amount, it is automatically on my short list.

Please let me know how they hold up mechanically with the occasional, added strain. Thanks!

(PS, I know severe duty maintenance is a given)
 

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22,802 Posts
Hey forum,

I am looking for a new commuter and tow vehicle, with the Outback really being on my short list. I am a former Subie owner too (had an '07 WRX) and am familiar with Subarus in general.

I would be looking at 2013 3.6R, with a 3000 lb tow capacity (200 lb hitch) to tow a small pop up (1099 lbs dry, 1680 GVWR, 145 hitch weight, has electric brakes).

I know I am well within the weight ratings of the Subie Outback and can tow it safely.

Really, my question is how has people's experiences been with their Outbacks who tow, as far as reliability? Any problems with the driveline or suspension? All ok with them?

Conventional wisdom around the net typically says to go get a big SUV or truck to lug any trailer around. I am just not a big fan of having to drive one 365 days a year, so I can tow a trailer on occasional vacations. It is a big fuel mileage, and ride penalty.

Honestly, about the only true SUV I would be interested in would be a Wrangler Unlimited anyway. Which is probably the least efficient, and worst riding I could find. I am a former TJ Wrangler owner, and like them (other than that ride, and bad fuel mileage).

With the Outback being one of the only non-SUV choices that seems equipped to tow a decent amount, it is automatically on my short list.

Please let me know how they hold up mechanically with the occasional, added strain. Thanks!

(PS, I know severe duty maintenance is a given)

Been towing with my 2010 since we bought it. Spent a year and a half towing our 1700lb 21ft racing sailboat which was sold after owning it since 98 and towing it with our 2001 legacy GT 5spd. Zero issues with that car mechanically speaking related to trailer towing at 180,000 miles. The 2010 with cvt has been great however my years of experience towing the boat at 1700lbs - our camping and boating set up after the boat was sold in 2011 - my target weight empty was 1200lbs or less for the trailer ended up at 890lbs empty. Your trailer make sure it really is the posted weight some RV makers are known for being a tad fuzzy with their weight numbers. If you are under 1100lbs - then you will hardly even notice the trailer. Ours is 4x6 890lbs empty and is about even with the bottom of the rear window regarding height. We run about 21mpg at 60-65mph in the hills and around 23-25mpg between 65-70mph in the flats. The boat at 1700lbs was a pretty solid 16mpg the boat was pretty sleek and about dead even to the roof line on the ob regarding height. However the width was max road width at 8.5ft. The OB tows the weight great - the 2.5 does really really well when you keep your empty weight under say 1300lbs so it sounds like your towing experience will be pretty nice.

I'm at 40,000 miles right now - plan on doing CVT fluid service at the dealer in the next 8000 miles or so along with front and rear diff gear oil replacement. The original tires at 40K are nearly bald and will be replaced before winter arrives. Not getting the Continentals again - terrible tires don't hold balance worth a **** and are very soft.
 

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2013 Subaru Outback Premium 2.5i All-Weather+Moonroof Venetian Red Pearl W/ Ivory Coth
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571 Posts
I am looking at the following campers: Starcraft Starflyer 10 which has a dry tow weight of 1155 lbs and tongue weight of 125 lbs and the Livin' Lite Quicksilver 10.0 which has a dry tow weight of 1020 lbs and tongue weight of 170 lbs
 

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2011 SSM Outback 2.5i Premium
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2,103 Posts
As subiesailor mentioned, RV makers can be fuzzy on the posted weights. What they often do is post the weight of a base trailer, any add-ons (even factory-installed such as microwave and water heater) will add to that number.
 

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'13 OB 3.6R Ltd
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31 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the thoughts. Sounds like it will pull the trailer just fine.

I would not say they are fuzzy with the weights. They just report dry weight, and a lot of people do not understand that is before equipment and extras are added. The GVWR is a better indicator, since it is the max loaded weight. Although you could load beyond that, you would be exceeding the suspension's ability to handle it.

My trailer is a no frills anyway. 94 Coleman Columbia. Published dry weight is 1099.

Thanks again for the thoughts on the OB! I drove it yesterday and was very impressed overall. Compared to the Escape we drove a few days ago, the OB felt like a luxury car (actually, felt comparable to a Volvo S60 to me), making the Escape feel very cheaply made. I was very impressed with the OB.
 

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2012 Outback 3.6R
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50 Posts
I can't speak to reliability yet, but I'm towing 1800lbs with a 2012 3.6 OB for the last few months. She performs just fine - plenty of horses and smooth handling. Just need to service fluids more frequently as per manual - should be fine.
 

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2013 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited, Ice Silver, wheel arch, splash guards, bumper protector, seat back protector
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34 Posts
I am looking at the following campers: Starcraft Starflyer 10 which has a dry tow weight of 1155 lbs and tongue weight of 125 lbs and the Livin' Lite Quicksilver 10.0 which has a dry tow weight of 1020 lbs and tongue weight of 170 lbs
Hiker74, if you are looking to buy used, I've got a friend who has a Quicksilver for sale. Don't have the details but it's only been used a handful of times. Pm me if you'd like more info...
 

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2015 OB 2.5i Ltd replaced 2010 OB; 20 mm WRX rear sway bar & Michelin LXT Premier tires; replaced 2010 2.5 OB Ltd. City car is 2019 Kia Niro PHEV EX Prem
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455 Posts
Ditto what Subiesailor says. Mine has 30K miles, have towed 2000 lb Fish N Ski boat ~ 1,5000 mile total-- longest two about 300 miles. No problems w car, tows well even over 4000' Casacade Mt passes (well, I'm am not going over 55 mph at that point. I don't have trailer brakes & hope I never have to make an emergency stop as that could be trouble!

SUBIESAILOR: Gotten any quotes on the cost to change your CVT fluid yet? I called two dealers about 3 months ago & neither one had done this yet, they were kinda baffled. Got 1 quote of about $250 & one almost $500.
 

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2010 Outback 2.5i
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110 Posts
Ditto what Subiesailor says. Mine has 30K miles, have towed 2000 lb Fish N Ski boat ~ 1,5000 mile total-- longest two about 300 miles. No problems w car, tows well even over 4000' Casacade Mt passes (well, I'm am not going over 55 mph at that point. I don't have trailer brakes & hope I never have to make an emergency stop as that could be trouble!

SUBIESAILOR: Gotten any quotes on the cost to change your CVT fluid yet? I called two dealers about 3 months ago & neither one had done this yet, they were kinda baffled. Got 1 quote of about $250 & one almost $500.
I had my CVT fluid changed a month or so ago and it cost ~$110. Just a drain and refill, no flush.
 
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