The New Subaru Ascent as a Tow Vehicle for a 17 foot Casita - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2018, 07:46 AM   #1
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Name: Debra
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The New Subaru Ascent as a Tow Vehicle for a 17 foot Casita

Hi All....the Suburu Ascent is finally at my local dealer. It has a 2.4 L 4 cylinder tubrocharged engine, continuous variable speed transmission --- not that I understand what all this means. It is rated to tow 5,000 pounds. I will learn more but wanted advice on what you folks thought about buying a vehicle with an engine this size. Motor Trend says it is the first time used; the Subaru dealer just told me on the phone that a 2.5 4 cyliner turbocharged has been used before, on a model I was not familiar with. Not sure I want to be a test case for a new engine although I do like Subarus. The torque is 277 and the HP is 260. Any advice? I plan to put in my order for a Casita 17 ft delux very soon (All this delayed by trying to sell my condo!) and want to travel in all sorts of terrain. Thanks for advice.
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Old 07-07-2018, 08:06 AM   #2
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Welcome back, Debbie!

Tough decision. I know what I'd do, as I've never been an early adopter. I'd stick with the proven quantity. Highlander, Pilot, or better- for a Casita 17 and a desire to travel in "all sorts of terrain"- a 4Runner, used if new is too expensive.

I never buy a brand new model or one that's had a major redesign. My favorite strategy is to wait until they redesign a well-regarded model and look for deep discounts on the old model, new old stock or gently used.

This is the highest tow rating I've yet seen for a 4 cylinder gas turbo, and combined with a CVT... uncharted waters. Insist on looking at the owner's manual (or you may be able to download a PDF online). Other Subaru models come with significant caveats on their tow ratings that make them less than they appear at first glance.

Best wishes!
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Old 07-07-2018, 08:47 AM   #3
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I would have to agree with Jon on this. Even the best manufacturers can't seem to get all the bugs out of a new design before they start selling a vehicle. I know this from experience, having once bought one of the first Ford Focuses off the line. Even though it had been sold in Europe for years, it still had recall after recall. I would especially be concerned about the transmission since Subaru has been pretty careful in the past with their tow ratings using the CVT. And now they say it's good for 5,000 lbs? My advice--wait at least two model years.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:17 AM   #4
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I towed an Escape 17B (3100 & 345 lbs loaded) with a 2010 RAV4 3.5 liter (213.5 cu in) 269 hp & 246 ft lbs torque. Similar torque & horsepower, but it was a V6. Never had a problem with towing the trailer, but the small gas tank and low ground clearance were problems.

That said, i agree with others - wait a bit on new models to see how things work out.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:46 AM   #5
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Go 6 or 8 cylinder.
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Old 07-07-2018, 09:59 AM   #6
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From my experience , I would shy away from a CVT transmission for towing
Two of my daughters towed with vehicles that had CVT transmission and both suffered transmission failures , one at only 66,000 miles
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:39 AM   #7
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Think about where you will tow. In the mountains, Rockies and/or Appalachians?

2.4L engine is pretty small, don't do it, buy something larger.

Be sure to consider the size of the brakes.

I tow with a 2011 Toyota Tundra, 4x4, 5.7L engine, tow package, fiberglass camper shell with bed slide. I like to take chairs, various stoves, Clam awning, EZ up awning, Hydraulic jack, spare gas can, extra 10 lb propane bottle for stoves, 2 gals of extra water all in the back of the truck. 3K gen on tongue of Casita, with (2) 20 lb tanks of propane. I am over my payload.

381 HP, pulls well. Going down certain of the hills in the Rockies, I put in low gear and the speed continues to increase to the point where I have to use the brakes now and again. I had a previous vehicle that had the brakes fade...this one has not done that yet, but there have been times, many times, when I wish I had a 3/4 ton truck going up and down those hills: My next one will be.

My point is that you probably will be able to pull and stop in flat to slightly hilly country just fine. It's when you get to the fun stuff, the white knuckle stuff, that you will begin to think maybe you should have bought a bigger rig.

However, the new small turbo engines are very powerful; the Ford F150 Ecoboost engine is a good example, and seems to do well towing.

It really just comes down to what safety margin you want, and how healthy your heart is...
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Old 07-07-2018, 10:49 AM   #8
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And, it's not just tow capacity to consider ( 5,000 lbs ). Another important number is the maximum tongue weight.

Tongue weight should be 10 - 15 per cent of the trailer weight, so maximum tongue weight on the Subaru Ascent should be at least 500 lbs. If it's not, it's just another Subaru that isn't suitable for the claimed tow capacity.
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Old 07-07-2018, 11:19 AM   #9
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I'm very interested in it, too, but am going to wait for more reports on actual towing experience. Did you look at it? How is the size in reality compared to a Highlander (nice size) or Pilot (new ones are tanks)?
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Old 07-07-2018, 12:58 PM   #10
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A web search will reveal quite a few reviews. I skimmed Edmunds, and didn't notice tow specs., beyond 5,000 lbs. As many know it has 3 rows of seats, so total GVWR, hitch weight, would be interesting.
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Old 07-07-2018, 03:25 PM   #11
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"That" engine has been around, at least as far as those letters and numbers are concerned. But unless you think a WRX is a good tow vehicle (I'd only tow trophies with it) I'd look elsewhere.



But as others may have noticed, I'm very, very much against a CVT in a tow vehicle.
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Old 07-07-2018, 07:39 PM   #12
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Lighter weight escape 17

We thought we were going for a casita. But then discover escape 17 B. Less weight more space. Our order placed for dec. finish date.
With some additional added options. 30,500 Canadian.
Dollar USA. .77 USA =1.00 CDN.
OUR final cost ,deliver to Washington state @ 24,500 USA was an extra gift.
Just sharing as each family picks what is best for them
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Old 07-08-2018, 12:55 PM   #13
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Exchange rate varies constantly. I hope it goes even lower for you before you have to pay the bill!
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Old 07-08-2018, 01:11 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Selleck View Post
We thought we were going for a casita. But then discover escape 17 B. Less weight more space. Our order placed for dec. finish date.
With some additional added options. 30,500 Canadian.
Dollar USA. .77 USA =1.00 CDN.
OUR final cost ,deliver to Washington state @ 24,500 USA was an extra gift.
Just sharing as each family picks what is best for them
Would you mind sharing the weights?
Thanks,

Jim
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Old 07-08-2018, 03:10 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by widgetwizard View Post
Would you mind sharing the weights?
Thanks,

Jim
Listed dry factory weights

17 ft Casita SD = 2480 lbs
17B Escape =. 2400 lbs


I can’t see how 80 lbs would change your tow vehicle or your towing experience but?
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Old 07-08-2018, 03:18 PM   #16
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IMHO, far more important is the GWR for the trailer as thats really the weight you should plan for, unless you always travel very light.
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:19 PM   #17
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From the Trailer Weights in the Real World database:
(average GVW/average TW)

Casita 17D (3278/417)
Escape 17B (2974/353)

That's a fairly significant difference. Hard to say whether it reflects the trailers or the owners. Both ride on a 3500 pound axle.
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Old 07-08-2018, 05:56 PM   #18
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I know in my case , the money I saved by buying a Casita allowed me to buy and travel with a lot of stuff that I don’t really need.
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Old 07-08-2018, 06:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon in AZ View Post
From the Trailer Weights in the Real World database:
(average GVW/average TW)

Casita 17D (3278/417)
Escape 17B (2974/353)

That's a fairly significant difference. Hard to say whether it reflects the trailers or the owners. Both ride on a 3500 pound axle.

But - as you say those are "loaded" weights.
I was more curious about the figure that "J Selleck" used in his comparison.
(or in truth I would be more interested in the actual weights at pickup time)


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Old 07-08-2018, 07:34 PM   #20
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Wouldn't we all! What we'd really like is the actual build weight of comparable units with the same option list, preferably the ones I want.

Life's rarely easy. To my knowledge, Oliver is the only molded manufacturer that weighs every unit after it is built.

Wouldn't it be great if every manufacturer included a configurator on their website with a weight calculator? Seems feasible but costly.

Danger with that is most people underestimate how much gear they will bring. Even my own trailer weight is a range, not a number.

Average loaded weight data is the best we currently have to make comparisons.
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