Edmunds Answers



  • zaken1 01/21/09 1:34 am PST

    The non-turbo Forester has a 2.5 liter engine with 170 hp@6,000 rpm; and 170 ft-lbs torque@4400 rpm. Beacuse the torque and horsepower peaks come in at a relatively high engine speed; the non-turbo model would tow best with a 5 speed manual transmission. So that is the only transmission I would recommend for towing with the non-turbo engine. The base model comes with 16 inch wheels; but there are several options that offer an upgrade to 17 inch wheels; which would improve stability for towing use.
    The turbo Forester XT model has a 2.5 liter turbocharged engine with 224 hp@5200 rpm; and 226 ft-lb torque@2600 rpm. The 2009 turbo model is only available with an automatic transmission; while the lower engine speed of the torque and power peak on the turbo model is a good match for the automatic. The XT models all have 17 inch wheels.
    On the non turbo model; it is recommended to use regular unleaded fuel. The turbo model requires premium unleaded fuel.
    I consider the performance of both of these engine/transmission combinations suitable for towing a 2,000 lb trailer; The turbo would obviously be faster, but I would recommend you checking with the dealership about whether they consider the turbo model capable of long term reliability when towing that weight. Some turbo engines are stressed highly enough that towing would compromise their reliability. But I'm not sure whether or not the Subaru turbo engine would be in that category.
    Other than the question about the engine/transmission choice; I have found Foresters to be excellent vehicles. The 2009 model has heavier duty suspension and a stronger frame than the previous years. I consider them to be unusually well built; very good handling, and surprisingly economical. A Japanese friend once told me that Subarus are often considered by Japanese drivers to be the best quality vehicle manufactured in that country.

  • canddmeyer 01/21/09 5:26 am PST

    Standard towing is 2400lbs with the 2.5XT. After adding passengers, fuel, and filling the cargo area, you'll be at the limit or overloaded. I wouldn't recommend it for towing that load. See the link and click on the 'compare' button.

    Source: http://www.subaru.com/sub/misc/2009/for

  • morin2 03/01/09 6:59 pm PST

    While I'm also a big fan of the Forester (wife has an 07 and the 09 is improved), you have described a heavy towing load. The Forester would be marginal, IMO, for occasionally towing that much weight short distances on level terrain, but towing that many miles completely rules it out.

    I think the best small SUV that would work for this is the v-6 RAV4. The v-6 Tribute or Escape would be additional small SUV options, with longer stopping distances.

    Me? I would only consider a pickup truck for this kind of service. I keep a 2001 Chevy Silverado Ext. Cab 4x4 with 5.3 v-8 for far less towing duties. Any small pickup (with tow package - trans cooler, etc) should tow better than the Forester.

  • kavoom 03/11/09 7:57 pm PST


    Forester's tow great and the new suspension ought to improve it. I tow a pop up just the same weight (loaded) as you (Flagstaff 176) and have gone over the Rockies, no problem (Mine is an 07). I am in agreement that the five speed is best for the non-aspirated but many tow with the turbo and a transmission cooler.

    In Australia, they are rated at 3200 lbs. Europe also, where they went for about 3 years as best tow vehicle... Many think fear of lawyers is their reason for lower limits in the U.S. They were made to tow... And are pre-wired with a four pin connection. You will want to go with a 7 pin so you can put electric brakes on...I will admit my 04 towed a little better as it reached max torque at 4,000 rpm. They messed with that a bit as soccer moms wanted to get on the highway faster is my take...

    I am hearing that the new ones have not gotten worse in the towing department... But to be honest... I'd look at an Outback with a 2700 lb tow capacity and you can find some 08's out there at good prices 20K.

  • gtcullen 05/15/09 3:25 pm PST

    I don't know specifics but the current or quite recent consumer reports magazine had a survey of "SUV" type vehicles. I too am looking for the smallest, most efficient vehicle to occassionally tow a 2500 lb. tent trailer.

  • mboroki 02/26/13 5:50 am PST

    I would suggest the Jeep grand Cherokee. it has a towing capacity of 6,500 lbs. so it would tow the 2,500 trailer with no problems



Top Subaru Forester Experts View More

Rank Leader Points
1. MrShift@Edmunds 420
2. morin2 310
3. Stever@Edmunds 240
4. karjunkie 230
5. zaken1 150
6. texases 120
7. canddmeyer 60