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2019 Forester Sport CVT
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The jury is still out on the maximum towing capacity after I found out that the Aussies Forester can tow 1500lbs(750kg) unbraked and 3000lbs(1500kg) braked. This info is directly from Subaru. So why can’t ours? Well, may be due to liability, multi-state traveling requirements and whatnot.
 

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2019 Forester - Touring CVT
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122 Posts
It may be that the European and Aussie vehicles have some changes to make them better suited to towing heavier loads, like beefed up drivetrain components, heavier rear springs or shocks, adding an engine oil cooler or transmission cooler, maybe even all the above.
 

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2013/14 2.5i-L CVT
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The jury is still out on the maximum towing capacity after I found out that the Aussies Forester can tow 1500lbs(750kg) unbraked and 3000lbs(1500kg) braked.
I don't know about the 2019s, but in the previous model the only mechanical difference was AU Foresters came with an OEM oil cooler for the CVT.

However, I think the real difference is the U.S. uses the relatively new SAE J2807 standard to determine tow weights. Also, we have lower speed limits. With a couple of exceptions, the maximum speed on highways is either 100 kph or 110 kph (62, 68 mph) and these limits are rigorously enforced.
 

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2012 Forester X Auto
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@slothman has it right.
Big difference between stopping a light car with a trailer at 60 vs 80.
The oil cooler obviously helps to continue getting you going under a big load, but towing a trailer that weighs nearly as much as the car... No thanks.
Extreme stress on the drive train does not bode well for longevity.

I think this is one of those "can you" vs. "should you" things.
You can easily get away with towing an overweight trailer, and likely you wouldn't trash the car if done occasionally or over short distances.
The problem is if you have a problem...
Hot day, steep hill, heavy load... Fried transmission. $10K please.
Can't stop in time?
Gee, that's negligence on your part for operating an unsafe vehicle.
Your insurance likely has a clause that claims can be denied for unsafe operation...
Towing an overweight trailer qualifies under those provisions.
 

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One of the best reasons not to tow overweight- if you're in an accident and the person you hit or injure has a clue, they are going to get that trailer weight checked and if its over come after you.

Once your insurance sees you're being sued because the trailer was overweight- you think they are still going to cover you?
 

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2001 Forester
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1,650 Posts
The jury is still out on the maximum towing capacity after I found out that the Aussies Forester can tow 1500lbs(750kg) unbraked and 3000lbs(1500kg) braked. This info is directly from Subaru. So why can’t ours? Well, may be due to liability, multi-state traveling requirements and whatnot.
It has everything to do with the inconsistent trailer weight that require or DO NOT require brakes in the US vs Australia and UK. In the US trailer weights that require brakes vary from state to state. Where as in Australia and UK, it is standardized across the entire country.
 

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2019 Forester - Touring CVT
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122 Posts
Another thing that could be factoring into the different rating is that the US has the Rocky Mountains, and dragging a heavy trailer up long steep grades will definitely put additional strain on engine and transmission, maybe overheating them - maybe to failure, and there may be issues for negotiating long steep descents and overheating brakes. If someone is going to be testing the theory that it's fine to exceed Subaru's ratings, then I think you're asking for trouble if you take it through mountain roads. Certainly there is a big difference between driving 30 miles on level pavement and driving 200 miles through mountain passes - if you have a bicycle and some good hills to experiment on, even your body will have no trouble registering the difference.
 

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2013 Forester 2.0 Diesel
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30 Posts
There are mountain passes in Europe too. The Alps in particular comes to mind. I think the theory of trailer brakes mentioned above could explain the difference in towing weights. It should be mentioned that this difference in towing capacity between US- and Euro-spec cars is not exclusive to Subaru - you will find this on many different car brands.

And in regards of towing in the Alps, a friend of mine told me about this one time he and his family went on vacation to Southern Europe driving all the way down from Norway - and crossing the Alps - in a '84 Mazda 323 (GLC in the US) 1.3l automatic and towing a caravan! As he recalled, they didn't set any speed records going uphill...
 

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2001 Forester
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Another thing to add with the towing capacity differences between US and ROW, is in the US through sales and marketing, we are taught to buy cars based on HP, but the sad reality we drive torque. Torque is your friend when it comes to towing and not horsepower. Your objective in towing anything is to maintain speed and not get up to speed as fast as possible. So from a marketing perspective we would be ticked off if we could not get from 0-60 in under 12 secs., no matter if we are towing or not. But in ROW, drivers are more realistic about towing trailers/caravans, etc....
 

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2020 Forester Touring CVT7
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232 Posts
Subaru used same CVT OEM oil cooler starting from 2012 impreza to 2019 Ascent with 5000lb towing capacity
They also sometime use Engine oil cooler only on Turbo and i think its only on Ascent and WRX
 
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