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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My GF wants a car that can pull a tear-drop camper weighing up to 1500 lbs. or so. She has a Fiat 500L right now that she likes, but can't tow anything.

We went and looked at the Fiat 500X today. Nice styling IMHO. I have always appreciated Fiat's design elements, though I'm not a big fan of how her current vehicle drives. (Not as bad as it could I guess is a way to put it.) Not great reviews, though. Comes in about $28K.

She really likes the Outback, but a new 3.6 is well in the 30's.

Not a big fan of Jeep or American vehicles.

So, maybe a used Outback would be the way to go? Any other ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I don't think I would want to stress the transmission and suspension of the WRX, even if it could pull something. (The Little Guy, IIRC, weighs about 1000#.)

We had an Avalanche previously that pulled a popup Jayco--didn't even break a sweat. Nice ride, but too big and expensive.

We have an RV right now (Itasca Navion) that we will be selling, then looking at a teardrop for short trips.

She would prefer a small SUV or crossover like the Outback. Probably not a truck or sedan.
 

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The current generation WRX is not tow rated. I believe there are some aftermarket receivers out there, but Subaru does not give it an official tow rating, and does not recommend it.

The current Forester and CrossTrek are tow-rated for 1500lbs. All current Outbacks, both the 4cyl and H6, are rated for 2700lb towing, so don't preclude yourself from the 4cyl Outback unless you GF absolutely requires more power (and the H6 is noticeably more powerful than the 4cyl in pretty much all types of driving).

I have a 2007 Outback H6. It has no problems towing my little utility trailer around, which is about 1500lbs fully loaded. All Outbacks are pre-wired for a trailer light harness. There's a Molex connector hidden behind the paneling behind the left taillight. Lots of places online sell the cheaper adaptor box for that Molex so your trailer has brake and turn signal lights.

Just note that your gas mileage (never the Outback's strong suit) will take a hit when towing. I only get about 17mpg around town when towing. It usually gets about 21mpg in the city.
 

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Find a used late model B9 'Tribeca'? The later models don't look that bad or find a 2008-2010 OB GT wagon? Outside of Subaru there's the VW Tiguan for a smaller sized SUV or a Mazda CX-5


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I don't think I would want to stress the transmission and suspension of the WRX, even if it could pull something. (The Little Guy, IIRC, weighs about 1000#.)

We had an Avalanche previously that pulled a popup Jayco--didn't even break a sweat. Nice ride, but too big and expensive.

We have an RV right now (Itasca Navion) that we will be selling, then looking at a teardrop for short trips.

She would prefer a small SUV or crossover like the Outback. Probably not a truck or sedan.
The WRX is rated for towing 2,000 to 2,500 lbs depending on who you ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't think the WRX is tow-rated for anything. Of course, you can pull a small trailer with any vehicle, it's just unwise to tow ~1000 or more unless the engine components and chassis are designed for it. In addition to stress on the frame, there are strains on the brakes and cooling systems.

Not too long ago I saw someone with a BMW M4 pulling a 19' Airstream--now that was like an ant pulling a cockroach. I wouldn't do it myself, but it is tow-rated for IDK 6600 lbs or so.

I think it's important to have a relatively heavy vehicle with a broad wheelbase, otherwise it's hard to control a heavy rig.
 

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When we got our cars, I had the dealer put a hitch on my wife's Forester. I have an 1100lb (empty) landscape trailer and the Forester handles that just fine, even loaded with hogs or firewood up to around 2000lbs total. But towing anything depends so much on how one drives. Gradual starts and gradual, sooner-braking stops allow one to tow a much heavier load. (Emergency stops can be an issue, though.) I find our stock Forester fine for handling (and stopping) around a ton. Much more and I opt to use the full size GMC van to tow the trailer.
 

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That's a Class 1 hitch. I wouldn't tow ANYTHING with a Class 1 hitch. This is intended to be used with a hitch-mounted bike rack, or similar utility rack. If that's all you wanted, it would be perfect for that. I have a Class II hitch, which has the same 1-1/4" hitch opening, but is rated for 3500lbs towing, 250lb tongue weight; specs that a just a touch over the factory tow ratings for my Outback.

But towing anything depends so much on how one drives. Gradual starts and gradual, sooner-braking stops allow one to tow a much heavier load. (Emergency stops can be an issue, though.) I find our stock Forester fine for handling (and stopping) around a ton.
While 2000lbs probably isn't going to kill a Forester (and yes, I know full well tow ratings for identical vehicles are often much higher outside of the US), there's more to it than just driving style. Yes, leaving lots of room to slow down is important, but there are mechanical stress and cooling factors as well. A Forester might even handle a 4000lb trailer around flat level ground, but you'll probably run into transmission issues if tried to haul that load up a long grade. This is why manufacturer tow packages often include transmission coolers, larger fans, etc. But as you said, a Forester should be able to handle a 2000lb load just fine.
 

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I would recommend looking at the new Honda Ridgeline. Still rides and handles like a car. Great flexibility, comfortable and dependable, too. The new generation has a little more power, better gas mileage and higher towing capacity. Mine is now 6 plus years old and I still rate it as the best vehicle I've ever owned.
 

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I would recommend looking at the new Honda Ridgeline. Still rides and handles like a car. Great flexibility, comfortable and dependable, too. The new generation has a little more power, better gas mileage and higher towing capacity. Mine is now 6 plus years old and I still rate it as the best vehicle I've ever owned.
I agree with you on all points but with the proviso that the Gen1 Ridgelines got absolutely garbage mpg relative to their power output. They made about the same power as an Outback, but had a 3.5L engine and literally weighed 1000lbs more. My parents Ridgeline gets about 15mpg around town, and 19-ish on the highway. Other than that, they're great to drive.
 

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I agree with you on all points but with the proviso that the Gen1 Ridgelines got absolutely garbage mpg relative to their power output. They made about the same power as an Outback, but had a 3.5L engine and literally weighed 1000lbs more. My parents Ridgeline gets about 15mpg around town, and 19-ish on the highway. Other than that, they're great to drive.
This was the one area that was a known issue when I purchased my 2011, in October 2010. Even cursory research revealed that gas mileage was bad (period). The new version has ~30 more HP and returns 3-4 more miles per gallon. Not great, but livable. It still retains the trunk in the bed and all of the other great ride / handling characteristics.
 

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I would recommend an Avalanche - pulls great, lots of storage in the lockable bed. I have one with 220K and other than a little rust (getting a body-job) runs great. 16-20mpg.
All depends on how big you want to go.
This is a decent suggestion, but OP said his wife doesn't want any trucks. Plus, you've been lucky, I wouldn't trust any Chevrolet over 120k miles.

Personally, I would look into the Outback. Also, seeing that you wish to do towing with it I would most absolutely NOT consider the 4cyl. I would only buy the 3.6r. The 4cyl is a turd even when hauling just 2 people in the car.... Also, Forester, Ford Explorer, Ford Escape (this is a great option if you don't want the size of a full SUV or don't like the Outback for some reason), Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Audi q5, Toyota 4 runner, Cadillac SRX and I'm sure there are more.

Unfortunately, if you want something that's not going to struggle towing, ie do it safely which is most certainly what I would prefer, you are going to be stuck looking in the mid-sized SUV/Crossover category here.
 
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