Understanding the Towing Capacity of a Subaru Crosstrek

Subarus have a well-earned reputation as reliable, rugged vehicles ready for adventure. For many people, that means towing along a favorite outdoor toy, like a boat, camper, or dirtbike. Before you run out and hook up a Subaru Crosstrek trailer hitch, you should take some time to learn more about the towing capacity of this sporty compact crossover.  

1st Generation Subaru Vs. Current 2nd Generation

The Crosstrek is Subaru’s entry into the compact crossover segment. It is sporty enough to zip around the city but comes with the brand’s signature off-road amenities to allow for off-road fun. First introduced in 2012, the Crosstrek underwent enough changes for 2018 to be considered a second-generation model. 

Subaru didn’t make many changes to the towing capacity of the Crosstrek between the first and second generations. Some of the things they did change may impact how you feel while towing, however. 

Horsepower and torque both saw a slight increase from the first to second-generation Crosstreks, so you may feel a little more confident with added weight behind you. An available 6-speed manual transmission will also help you control the compact crossover a touch neater. 

Transmission Fluid, Coolant, and Engine Oil

Most Crosstrek models top out at 1,500 pounds of towing capacity. However, a few trim levels can handle more weight, with a max of 3,500 on a properly equipped model. This applies to all generations of the Crosstrek. This can limit what you can hook up to your crossover, so be sure you understand all aspects of the capacity, including tongue weight and total vehicle weight. 

Just like with any tow vehicle, proper maintenance and upkeep will help you get the most out of those limits. Regular oil changes with the correct Subaru Crosstrek oil type according to your owner’s manual will keep engine components lubricated. Also, be sure to check fluid levels regularly, and top them off as needed. Remember that towing can put a strain on the transmission and cooling systems, so you want to make sure they are in good condition. 

Proper Towing Equipment

Your engine and transmission aren’t the only things you need to keep an eye on when determining towing capacity. You also need to have the right tow equipment, including a trailer hitch and electrical connection. 

Trailer hitches come in four main classes for SUVs and crossovers; these range from class I through class IV. A class one hitch is most commonly used for small crossovers like the Crosstrek. These can accommodate up to 2,000 pounds, with a maximum tongue weight of 200 pounds.

That is generally sufficient for a small trailer with a personal watercraft, a few kayaks, or a dirtbike or two. It is also great for hitch-mounted cargo trays. Crosstreks equipped to tow a little more might find the need for a class II hitch rated up to 3,500 pounds and 350 pounds of tongue weight. 

Towing a trailer or cargo rack can help you have more adventures with your Crosstrek. Choose high-quality towing accessories and parts, such as a Subaru Crosstrek air filter, and always refer to your car’s specific towing limits for safety.