Subaru Forester: Towing --- CVT or 6-sp?

Clutch

<---Pass
Was going to post a thread asking about how well CUV's towed, but saw this one.

We rented a Nissan Rouge Sport back in October, no intention of renting a specific car but that is what they gave us, and to my surprise I liked it. Was able to pull an easy 35 mpg's out of it (at least that is what the computer was telling me).

Soooo...are all the CUV's are pretty much the same? They tow ok if you keep it around 700 lbs? Pretty much like everything else, keep it about half capacity and it will be fine, eh?
 
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cdthiker

Meandering Idaho
For what my .02 cents is worth...

I had a 2010 Subaru with the 2.5 and the five speed. I had a very small light weight ( harbor freight hunk o crap) trailer that was in short, a metal frame with some plywood. The whole thing was less than 300 lbs. I used to to tow my 99 BM# 650. The whole package weighed right around or less than 1000 lbs.

Flat, it was fine. Stop and go around town it was just OK, anything that was even close to a mountain pass was brutal...

It was a gearing and tourque problem. Sure the 2010 Subaru had more HP than my 2012 tacoma 2.7 5 speed 4x4. And, I tow 3,000+ pounds all day long no problems with the truck.


I can not say that I have every towed with thd Subaru CVT, but I will tell you that after about a week of towing that trailer around from place to place and a rocket box on the roof of the Subaru, I went and bought the tacoma. It was that Bad...
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
The subaru legacy/OutBack easily tows 1300-1500lbs thats my typical camping mode 21mpg big trip tank averages are the norm in that range 4x6 trailer

My 1800lb all up with trailer 8.5ft wide sailboat which was about roof line height I ran 16-18mpg windage was the bigger factor.

A tall box 5x8 trailer loaded at 1300lbs will give you a 16-17mpg average vs my 4x6 thats about rear window height at 21mpg at 1300lbs.

The nissan cvt is very different than the Subaru cvt in its drive belt design Subaru uses a braided chain type belt Nissan last I looked used a different material for its belt.

As for cvt performance the modern ones are quite good and are returning fewer failures per miles driven than the far more complex 6-7-8spd ATs out there today.

After having our 2010 OB cvt lots of towing I have no concern getting another. Im eyeing the 8pass Ascent Subaru to replace two vehicles the OB and my Sequoia.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
For what my .02 cents is worth...

I had a 2010 Subaru with the 2.5 and the five speed. I had a very small light weight ( harbor freight hunk o crap) trailer that was in short, a metal frame with some plywood. The whole thing was less than 300 lbs. I used to to tow my 99 BM# 650. The whole package weighed right around or less than 1000 lbs.

Flat, it was fine. Stop and go around town it was just OK, anything that was even close to a mountain pass was brutal...

It was a gearing and tourque problem. Sure the 2010 Subaru had more HP than my 2012 tacoma 2.7 5 speed 4x4. And, I tow 3,000+ pounds all day long no problems with the truck.


I can not say that I have every towed with thd Subaru CVT, but I will tell you that after about a week of towing that trailer around from place to place and a rocket box on the roof of the Subaru, I went and bought the tacoma. It was that Bad...

I am getting a little tired of putting gas in my Tacoma for my 60 mile round trip commute is what has gotten me thinking of getting a car of some sorts...a Hatchback, Sportwagen, or a CUV since they have nice large area for a MX gear bag. Believe I used my Tacoma as a "truck" a whole 4 times last year. 3 times camping, and 1 hauling a yard of compost for the garden (on a trailer). Honestly could of had that compost delivered. Wondering how much I really need a truck anymore.

Have been eyeballing new trucks for quite some time, but now...what if the new truck is a car instead? 90% of the time... more like 98% of the time it is used as a commuter. The other 2% percent as a dirt bike hauler on the weekends, and camping...0.03%??? :D Think I can get the weight to around sub 500lbs for both bike and trailer. Saw this on Northern Tool, all it needs is a single rail for the bike and gas can holder. It is only 195 lbs, and the bike is 250lbs. 5 gallons of gas I usually bring with me is 31.5 lbs.

Still would keep the truck as beater back up.


Thinking something like this.

 
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Clutch

<---Pass
The subaru legacy/OutBack easily tows 1300-1500lbs thats my typical camping mode 21mpg big trip tank averages are the norm in that range 4x6 trailer

My 1800lb all up with trailer 8.5ft wide sailboat which was about roof line height I ran 16-18mpg windage was the bigger factor.

A tall box 5x8 trailer loaded at 1300lbs will give you a 16-17mpg average vs my 4x6 thats about rear window height at 21mpg at 1300lbs.

The nissan cvt is very different than the Subaru cvt in its drive belt design Subaru uses a braided chain type belt Nissan last I looked used a different material for its belt.

As for cvt performance the modern ones are quite good and are returning fewer failures per miles driven than the far more complex 6-7-8spd ATs out there today.

After having our 2010 OB cvt lots of towing I have no concern getting another. Im eyeing the 8pass Ascent Subaru to replace two vehicles the OB and my Sequoia.
Thanks for the info.

Truck prices are just dumb anymore, even the most basic 4WD Tacoma is pushing $30K OTD. So I keep on looking for a used Tacoma with less than 30K miles on it, for under $20K...impossible to find. Seems like any Tacoma that is sub $20K..has 100K miles on it, that and they still get marginal fuel economy, or the lack there of. With that I keep on questioning how much do I really need a truck anymore.

I drive 25K+ a year, so if I am going to buy something slightly used, I want it with low miles. $20K in the used car/CUV market opens up a lot of options. Getting 30+ mpg hwy sounds a lot better too with all the miles I drive.

Looking at VW Golf/Golf Sportwagen, Honda Civic/HR-V/CR-V, Subaru Crosstrek/Forester, Nissan Rouge, Toyota Corolla iM, (spied a Scion iM for only $14K) Rav4, Ford Edge I think, says the ecoboost can tow 3500 lbs....and a few others. The Subaru's seem like the better of the choices, because I still do like driving down dirt roads. Where the Golf, iM and Civic wouldn't be too happy.

The ones with available manual trans are higher on the list since I like driving manuals better.
 
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phsycle

Adventurer
Thanks for the info.

Truck prices are just dumb anymore, even the most basic 4WD Tacoma is pushing $30K OTD. So I keep on looking for a used Tacoma with less than 30K miles on it, for under $20K...impossible to find. Seems like any Tacoma that is sub $20K..has 100K miles on it, that and they still get marginal fuel economy, or the lack there of. With that I keep on questioning how much do I really need a truck anymore.

I drive 25K+ a year, so if I am going to buy something slightly used, I want it with low miles. $20K in the used car/CUV market opens up a lot of options. Getting 30+ mpg hwy sounds a lot better too with all the miles I drive.

Looking at VW Golf/Golf Sportwagen, Honda Civic/HR-V/CR-V, Subaru Crosstrek/Forester, Nissan Rouge, Toyota Corolla iM, (spied a Scion iM for only $14K) Rav4, Ford Edge I think, says the ecoboost can tow 3500 lbs....and a few others. The Subaru's seem like the better of the choices, because I still do like driving down dirt roads. Where the Golf, iM and Civic wouldn't be too happy.

The ones with available manual trans are higher on the list since I like driving manuals better.
Plus, the Subaru AWD is considered to be best in class. Although other AWD will most likely be adequate for what I would do, not a bad thing to have that capability. Additionally, there is at least one company making skid plates. I had a friend in a RAV4 cut an oil supply line going on a mild dirt road. Some freak rock must have flipped up and cut it.

Golf Alltrack is another option. Better clearance. But still pales in comparison with the Forester.

One thing that adds complexity for me is, maybe once or twice a year, I like going down to central and southern Utah. How would the Forester do on roads like the White Rim? Flint? Can it even attempt the Dollhouse? This is 1% of my usage, if that. Yet, if I make the Subaru capable enough to do all that, meaningbigger tires and a lift, am I better off just keeping what I’ve got or getting a 4Runner? Completely stock with good AT tires, it’ll do everything I want. But man, I wouldn’t mind that 33MPG!
 

Clutch

<---Pass
Plus, the Subaru AWD is considered to be best in class. Although other AWD will most likely be adequate for what I would do, not a bad thing to have that capability. Additionally, there is at least one company making skid plates. I had a friend in a RAV4 cut an oil supply line going on a mild dirt road. Some freak rock must have flipped up and cut it.

Golf Alltrack is another option. Better clearance. But still pales in comparison with the Forester.

One thing that adds complexity for me is, maybe once or twice a year, I like going down to central and southern Utah. How would the Forester do on roads like the White Rim? Flint? Can it even attempt the Dollhouse? This is 1% of my usage, if that. Yet, if I make the Subaru capable enough to do all that, meaningbigger tires and a lift, am I better off just keeping what I've got or getting a 4Runner? Completely stock with good AT tires, it'll do everything I want. But man, I wouldn't mind that 33MPG!

Since the Subies are popular there is a ton of after market for them I am finding out, never really paid attention to them before. My newish commute has me now looking at fuel economy numbers. Went from 5 miles round trip to 60. I would save roughly $2200/year in fuel not buying a new[er] Tacoma and getting a CUV instead. Not to mention saving about $10K right off the bat, since trying to find a used Tacoma with the requirements I want is impossible, seems like all the Toyotas I find for under $20K have 100K miles on them. The thought of spending $20K on a Tacoma with a 100K on it, doesn't thrill me, might as well buy a new one.

Stock 4Runner or Tacoma would do everything I want, but price and fuel economy is awful, plus not really into wheeling anymore since I ride bikes, do like running down dirt roads though...anything tougher rather be on the bike. Will have to sit down and do the math, but the percentage of time my truck is on dirt of the 25K miles a year I drive is an extremely small percent. Doesn't make sense to buy another vehicle based on the fraction of a percent usage. Plus I am keeping the truck as a beater, heck I was going to keep it if I bought another truck.

I do really like the VW's, styling is more subdued over the Subies, and they drive a little nicer. Got to drive my buddies for a day once. Have been finding lift kits to get the ground clearance close to what a Forester is, though it will kill the mileage. I am not into making a vehicle into something it's not either. Extra ground clearance would be nice for winter, but would stick with a more highway oriented tire. Though a Forester is pretty much done, wouldn't have to touch it. We had a Jetta years ago, it was the biggest POS vehicle that we ever owned, not sure I could trust VW again.



Looked at Mercedes Metris too, could haul the bike inside...they get "ok" mileage, priced right, could sleep inside better than a CUV, or get one of those hard shelled RTT's...but no AWD. Not sure if I would want to daily a van which would be its' use 90%+ of the time, the cons seem to out weigh the pros.

https://www.mbvans.com/sprinter/mod...rsdPD2sOjEMDk72E5PRpybCp5fHW5ac8aAln9EALw_wcB

http://www.tfltruck.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/mercedes-benz-metris-worker-1024x623.jpg

https://scontent-ort2-1.xx.fbcdn.ne...=ef6bb427536d200341b761c77b135f94&oe=5AE13699
 
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ry3w

New member
I think the CVT is great for towing as long as it has the paddle shifters so you can manually select a lower ratio.

Problem is, they never put the paddle shifters on a non-turbo Forester. I'm not a fan of a turbo for a daily driver, as they're a kind of high maintenance (sounds like you've already ruled it out).


That said, I probably wouldn't let the towing characteristics sway my decision. I've never driven a Subaru with a CVT and no paddles, but when I'm in one with paddles, I use them fairly regularly.....


I personally prefer the manual transmission, so that's probably what I'd choose.

My '14 Forester Limited CVT has the paddle shifters witch are great for grade shifting
i put on a curt hitch use it for the occasional trip with a small open top uhaul
you can feel the trailer back there but as long as you stay in the weight limits you wont have any issues
 

phsycle

Adventurer
Since the Subies are popular there is a ton of after market for them I am finding out, never really paid attention to them before. My newish commute has me now looking at fuel economy numbers. Went from 5 miles round trip to 60. I would save roughly $2200/year in fuel not buying a new[er] Tacoma and getting a CUV instead. Not to mention saving about $10K right off the bat, since trying to find a used Tacoma with the requirements I want is impossible, seems like all the Toyotas I find for under $20K have 100K miles on them. The thought of spending $20K on a Tacoma with a 100K on it, doesn't thrill me, might as well buy a new one.

Stock 4Runner or Tacoma would do everything I want, but price and fuel economy is awful, plus not really into wheeling anymore since I ride bikes, do like running down dirt roads though...anything tougher rather be on the bike. Will have to sit down and do the math, but the percentage of time my truck is on dirt of the 25K miles a year I drive is an extremely small percent. Doesn't make sense to buy another vehicle based on the fraction of a percent usage. Plus I am keeping the truck as a beater, heck I was going to keep it if I bought another truck.

I do really like the VW's, styling is more subdued over the Subies, and they drive a little nicer. Got to drive my buddies for a day once. Have been finding lift kits to get the ground clearance close to what a Forester is, though it will kill the mileage. I am not into making a vehicle into something it's not either. Extra ground clearance would be nice for winter, but would stick with a more highway oriented tire. Though a Forester is pretty much done, wouldn't have to touch it. We had a Jetta years ago, it was the biggest POS vehicle that we ever owned, not sure I could trust VW again.



Looked at Mercedes Metris too, could haul the bike inside...they get "ok" mileage, priced right, could sleep inside better than a CUV, or get one of those hard shelled RTT's...but no AWD. Not sure if I would want to daily a van which would be its' use 90%+ of the time, the cons seem to out weigh the pros.
My commute will go from 4 miles to about 40 miles later this year. So I am conscious about MPG as well. This morning, I was only getting 14MPG in the Tacoma going to work. Tank average now sits at 16MPG. Granted, it's very short drives and doesn't give the truck a chance to warm up. But I'm guessing on my 40 mile commute, I will probably see 18-19MPG (half city/half hwy).

So I keep coming back to a Forester. It will be great on MPG. Not as good as something like a Honda Accord. But then again, it snows here and I want an AWD. It has enough off-road capability to tackle a ton of (mild) trails. I WILL have to skip some of the tougher, more remote type of places, but I am thinking my family wouldn't enjoy them anyway. And it'd be a place I could take tow my dirt bike to and just go on a ride by myself in 1/4 of the time it would've taken a Tacoma/4Runner. The only mod I would do on the Forester is some sort of undercarriage protection for random rocks. Whether it's Primitive Racing skids, or some sort of DIY, plastic sheets I could bolt up there. Then some A/T tires, and I'm good to go.

I would not want to drive a van on a daily basis. No AWD and low ground clearance is the deal killer for me.

By the way, that VW Alltrack is killer. Love the steel wheels and BFG tires. It's exactly how I would set it up.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
My commute will go from 4 miles to about 40 miles later this year. So I am conscious about MPG as well. This morning, I was only getting 14MPG in the Tacoma going to work. Tank average now sits at 16MPG. Granted, it's very short drives and doesn't give the truck a chance to warm up. But I'm guessing on my 40 mile commute, I will probably see 18-19MPG (half city/half hwy).

So I keep coming back to a Forester. It will be great on MPG. Not as good as something like a Honda Accord. But then again, it snows here and I want an AWD. It has enough off-road capability to tackle a ton of (mild) trails. I WILL have to skip some of the tougher, more remote type of places, but I am thinking my family wouldn't enjoy them anyway. And it'd be a place I could take tow my dirt bike to and just go on a ride by myself in 1/4 of the time it would've taken a Tacoma/4Runner. The only mod I would do on the Forester is some sort of undercarriage protection for random rocks. Whether it's Primitive Racing skids, or some sort of DIY, plastic sheets I could bolt up there. Then some A/T tires, and I'm good to go.

I would not want to drive a van on a daily basis. No AWD and low ground clearance is the deal killer for me.

By the way, that VW Alltrack is killer. Love the steel wheels and BFG tires. It's exactly how I would set it up.
Have been doing this commute for 3.5 years now...really starting to think about gas mileage. I am getting 17-18 out of my Tacoma, that is setting the cruise at 65 with no stop and go traffic, as I can schedule my day to miss the bulk of the asrejackery. Even though I can afford it, not sure if getting another truck is a good idea for how much driving I do. 15K is commuting, the other 10K is driving around to trail heads. and a couple camping trips. Better gas mileage sure would be nice on road trips.

Now that I thought about it, skids would be a good idea for often I like to run down dirt roads, which seems about once a week.

Looking at all off the brands, everything is about the same price...Subaru would probably be the best choice for all the after market that is available, that and one of the few with an available manual trans. Resale shouldn't be an issue either since they are so popular. My neighbor across the street has a Crosstrek that I keep eye balling, they also have a Tacoma too...we could be twinsies! Ha! Forester appears to have a little more cargo room, and doesn't have as much plastic. Like both of them, so it would be a toss up.

Really diggin' that VW, always been a fan of VW styling, from the aircooled days until now. But after such a horrible experience with our Jetta, my Aunt's Beetle, my mom's cabriolet, my grand mother's diesel Rabbit...have a couple friends with late model TDi's that had fuel system failures, that was before deezulgate ....man, I don't know if I could take the chance. Might be one of those either lease or buy and turn it back in before the warranty is up, but I have always been a person that buys a vehicle for the long haul.

They do look awfully good though.



Those vans do drive awfully nice, but as a daily...don't think I could do it...too many other negatives. Maybe if they were AWD/4WD...but that would certainly throw the budget and fuel economy out the window. Though I do like to drive to the park by my work for an hour lunch, and take a little nap, van would be nice for that. :D

 
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phsycle

Adventurer
Have been doing this commute for 3.5 years now...really starting to think about gas mileage. I am getting 17-18 out of my Tacoma, that is setting the cruise at 65 with no stop and go traffic, as I can schedule my day to miss the bulk of the asrejackery. Even though I can afford it, not sure if getting another truck is a good idea for how much driving I do. 15K is commuting, the other 10K is driving around to trail heads. and a couple camping trips. Better gas mileage sure would be nice on road trips.

Now that I thought about it, skids would be a good idea for often I like to run down dirt roads, which seems about once a week.

Looking at all off the brands, everything is about the same price...Subaru would probably be the best choice for all the after market that is available, that and one of the few with an available manual trans. Resale shouldn't be an issue either since they are so popular. My neighbor across the street has a Crosstrek that I keep eye balling, they also have a Tacoma too...we could be twinsies! Ha! Forester appears to have a little more cargo room, and doesn't have as much plastic. Like both of them, so it would be a toss up.

Really diggin' that VW, always been a fan of VW styling, from the aircooled days until now. But after such a horrible experience with our Jetta, my Aunt's Beetle, my mom's cabriolet, my grand mother's diesel Rabbit...have a couple friends with late model TDi's that had fuel system failures, that was before deezulgate ....man, I don't know if I could take the chance. Might be one of those either lease or buy and turn it back in before the warranty is up, but I have always been a person that buys a vehicle for the long haul.

They do look awfully good though.

Those vans do drive awfully nice, but as a daily...don't think I could do it...too many other negatives. Maybe if they were AWD/4WD...but that would certainly throw the budget and fuel economy out the window. Though I do like to drive to the park by my work for an hour lunch, and take a little nap, van would be nice for that. :D

One thing that does give me pause, though, are road washout situations and unexpected "obstacles" that may just be a little too much for a Subaru. I am thinking of roads like the one in the video below. Stock 4Runner/Tacoma, not a big deal. Stock Forester....probably not. Add slightly bigger tires, a little lift, with some stacking....probably. Then again, you're now talking a big hit on MPG. So at best, you'd be what, 27-28MPG highway? That's not too far from what a stock Toyota gets at 23-24MPG. That's $230 a year difference, if you drive 12k miles.

 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
First water crossings are not ideal for any vehicle. I doubt that 4runner owner thought about diff vent extensions, and greased up/ sealed wiring harness plugs. Wheel bearings etc.

The Toyota is no more water capable than Subaru other than intake height.
 

Clutch

<---Pass
One thing that does give me pause, though, are road washout situations and unexpected "obstacles" that may just be a little too much for a Subaru. I am thinking of roads like the one in the video below. Stock 4Runner/Tacoma, not a big deal. Stock Forester....probably not. Add slightly bigger tires, a little lift, with some stacking....probably. Then again, you're now talking a big hit on MPG. So at best, you'd be what, 27-28MPG highway? That's not too far from what a stock Toyota gets at 23-24MPG. That's $230 a year difference, if you drive 12k miles.

My fuel savings at 25K miles/year would be about $2200, so would save roughly $11K in 5 years. Maybe a little more, since I run 91 in the Tacoma, and if I got a Subaru I would do 87. For some reason my Tacoma does not like the lower octane when I have tried running it.

I am keeping my current Tacoma, so anything like that...I'll just take the Tacoma, and to be honest I rarely do water-crossings in the Tacoma, as I usually park it at the trail head and use the bike.

There was a couple miles of this in one of the areas I like to go. Couple "oh chit!" deep spots along the way, was trying not to get wet that day too...

 
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calicamper

Expedition Leader
My fuel savings at 25K miles/year is about $2200. Maybe a little more, since I run 91 in the Tacoma, and if I got a Subaru I would do 87. For some reason my Tacoma does not like the lower octane when I have tried running it.

I am keeping my current Tacoma, so anything like that...I'll just take the Tacoma, and to be honest I rarely do water-crossings in the Tacoma, as I usually park it at the trail head and use the bike.

There was a couple miles of this in one of the areas I like to go.

My 4.7 L sequoia doesn’t like low octane either. Nor did the 3.2l v6 in my buddys 4runner.
 

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