Tow Rating - Forester

Mar 14, 2005
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I purchased my Subaru in the US and the literature states a Tow Rating of 2400 lbs. I have checked the Tow Rating on Subaru websites outside the US and consistently find a Tow Rating of 1800 kg (almost 4000 lbs). Why the discrepancy?
 
Mar 14, 2005
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European manufacturers, and importers, use a basic test of ability to restart on a 12% gradient (1:8 approx) to determine a vehicle's towing limit but then reduce this figure if any mechanical component doesn't cope, eg cooling. US manufacturers and importers probably use different criteria. Vehicle specifications are very often different between US and Europe, even for the apparently identical model.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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American vehicles generally have much more conservative tow ratings than their European counterparts. Their product liability laws are practically the only regulartory controls over towing ability. There are no standard towing tests as in Europe. We all hear about astronomical awards that are sometimes paid in cases of product liability in America so it is only natural that the car manufacturers play safe and specify very low towloads.
 
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Hello John, This is an interesting one. The way towing capacity is assessed will be different in the US to EU. There could be some unseen differences in the vehicle that affect the tow capacity. However I believe that UK statutes will look at the published figures for the model of vehicle in question, as the product is of US specification, it will apply the US figure. Daft as this may seem, the courts cannot make assumptions about likeness. If you were to contact Subaru, and ask for a review of the towing capacity, and they agree to up the limit, the change must be fully documented and related to your vehicle (referenced to VIN and Chassis numbers). I think Lutz may wish to add chapter and verse to my answer.
 
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John, most family sized cars in the US have low tow ratings. This isn't because they aren't physically capable of towing heavier loads, but in the US, most people use 4x4's & pickups for towing, so there is no real need for family saloons to be tested to see what the maximum load capacity is. A lot of family saloons are quoted as being "unsuitable for towing", including the Cadillac Catera, which is simply a re-badged 3.0 Vauxhall Omega (rated with a max. tow of 1600kgs in the UK). It is also possible that US versions of "foreign" cars have other equipment which de-rate the towing performance (emission control equipment etc). Your best bet is to contact Subaru for clarification.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The Cadillac Catera is not quite a rebadged Vauxhall Omega. There are minor changes to the underbody and it does have a different rear bumper to meet US FVMSS rules. An Omega towbar will therefore not fit a Catera without some modification. However, the differences are minor and would not explain why the Catera is quoted as 'unsuitable for towing' whereas the Omega rated at 1600 kg. The reason has more to do with the fact that in the US towbar body mounting points are not type approved as they are in Europe. US car manufacturers therefore have no influence over the design of towbars and consequently take a very conservative approach to tow ratings in order to cover themselves against unsuitable designs which may be on the market.
 

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