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2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 2.0 T AWD
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Discussion Starter #1
So why does the higher trim Ascent have a higher towing capacity than a 3.6 Outback?

I would think the shorter Outback with the H6 motor would be able to tow more. And perhaps have a stronger CVT mated to that motor.
 

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2016 Outback Premium 2.5 CVT w/EyeSight+SRVD
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So why does the higher trim Ascent have a higher towing capacity than a 3.6 Outback?
Perhaps because it's designed for higher towing capacity, e.g. higher structural margins in the chassis, higher energy capacity in the brakes, higher reserve cooling capacity for the engine and CVT. Remember, Outback and Legacy share the same platform; Ascent is a totally new design.
 

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Longer wheelbase in the tow vehicle lends more stability to the overall combination vehicle.

Larger brakes and tires allows for a higher tow capacity. I don't know for a fact that the Ascent has larger brakes, but I'm pretty sure it's got bigger tires and I feel pretty safe in guessing that there are larger brakes on that model.

Powertrain concerns are of less significance than those two items.
 

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Pretty much what ammcinnis said, succinctly. The gen 5 Outbacks don't have the platform to handle towing. And really it is because of the very low tongue rate. It was actually quite surprising that the overall towing ability is low considering the connotation that the Outback is a 'go anywhere' 'outlander' that Subaru makes it out to be.
 

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Air flow through cooling systems is a big part of the towing capacity and over all load capacity no doubt. Notice the base level Ascent is actually lower than the OB this is due to the Ascent size, weight and not having the heavier higher capacity cooling system.
 

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Plus the Ascent has more hp & torque. Less strain on the drive train.
 

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Powertrain concerns are of less significance than those two items.
e.g. A 2019 ascent has over 100 more horsepower and more torque than a 1996 Ford F150 with twice the tow capacity. Power has it's place in the discussion but isn't a strong correlation.
 
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