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Shapp
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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone have any of these and tow a light raft trailer.

Looking to replace the car. We have a fish craft raft trailer:
FishCraft
and have a big truck to pull it with a big load.

Wondering if a a subaru outback, forester, or mazda cx 5 could pull this trailer just fine with a 14' raft and light gear. Anyone towing a raft trailer with any of these 3 rigs?
 

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Use to own a 6 cyl Subaru Outback wagon. I pulled a lightweight trailer with it. Harbour Fright trailer with a wood platform on top. It was my beginner raft trailer I eventually replaced. No sure how much your trailer weighs. But the outback pulled a light trailer with a 14' raft and minimal gear no problem. Most heavy stuff, like the cooler ended up in the back of the Subaru. The main disadvantage was the lack of cargo space inside the car, unless you were only traveling with 2 people. But I also didn't have a drybox at the time so that worked out for our family of 4 on multi day trips. So for a light load and a 14 ft raft on a light trailer it worked well. No way I would try to do 2 boats, mostly because of the lack of storage space. I will also say that I prefer not to travel with my raft fully rigged on my trailer. So that's where I'm coming from. Good luck.
 

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I have a light raft and trailer and my subaru outback 2014 handles it just fine. I forget how much tow weight they are rated at, but its quite a bit. I am sure the forester and mazda in question would work for you too.

Personal opinion from personal experience; most cars can tow a light trailer, raft and gear just fine over long distances and long time periods.

I would just get an automatic transmission, clutches go quick towing trailers and going down boat ramps.
 

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If I was trying to buy a mid-sized estate (nice name for a station wagon) or crossover vehicle, I'd buy a diesel. Better mileage and much better torque for towing.

If I was looking at a new vehicle, I'd get the ford transit connect or that new mercedes work van. I believe you cannot beat the versatility of these vans (2500lbs of carrying capacity), the interiors are nice (if you get one with carpet, and back seats), and both the diesel and that ford eco boost engine are great.
 

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I had a Tribeca with the flat 6- it didn't have enough torque for towing over our high passes in Colorado. I got sick of ending up in the breakdown lane with my hazards on- foot to the carpet and creeping along. It was a great vehicle, but not for towing at altitude.

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The tribeca is a fatty at 4500lbs, plus it's gear ratio is all top end. If your towing in high elevation up steep slopes buy a damn truck like an American, or at least something with a real tow package (in most cars it's not just a hitch but several little tweaks and improvements).

Subies are notoriously under powered, I like them but I wouldn't buy one with the intention to tow anything...ever
 

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I towed a flats boat all around the state of Florida with it and it did fine. Altitude was the deal breaker.

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Look at Edmonds or other sites with car data and compare horsepower, torque, and towing capacity. Guys who know more about the practical applications of different torques can chime in with better info. But I've been doing the same lately and can tell you that I'm pretty sure that, of those 3, the Mazda is the most underpowered. Also, test drove one with my mother in law when she was car shopping and I'd rather have a Subaru. My buddy tows his hog island drift boat with a 2006 outback.

K2's comment about buying a damn truck is valid - floated the Blue below Green Mtn last summer with another buddy who backed his trailer down from the parking area to the top of that crazy steep put-in, then slowly rolled right back up and outta there. Probably cut 20-30 minutes off our prep time. I was immediately envious of his 4x4 F150 - I could NEVER do that with our Honda Element.

Let us know what you decide on...
 

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Anyone have any of these and tow a light raft trailer.

Looking to replace the car. We have a fish craft raft trailer:
FishCraft
and have a big truck to pull it with a big load.

Wondering if a a subaru outback, forester, or mazda cx 5 could pull this trailer just fine with a 14' raft and light gear. Anyone towing a raft trailer with any of these 3 rigs?
Shapp, I know you have a truck when you need one, I actually read the whole post. I have pulled our raft with my dad's outback several times and it was ok. We also used to pull our 14' john boat with 25 hp outboard and wood floors (similar weight to day rig raft and your trailer) all over Oregon when I lived there. Tthat was back in the early 90's so not an outback (until 1996 I think) but certainly less power then modern Outbacks.

Since then that's all my dad has ever owned and pulled the same boat. I think he's owned 4 outbacks; all of them, including his 2010, have pulled that boat and the latter has pulled it here in Montana up to some mountain lakes. It's not ideal but it will get the job done. I'm not sure about the forester, but you should be able to compare that on paper with the info you've gotten on outbacks. I have no clue what a cx 5 even looks like and I think I'm happy about that, but who knows maybe I'm missing something.
 

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Shapp
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Discussion Starter #11
If I was trying to buy a mid-sized estate (nice name for a station wagon) or crossover vehicle, I'd buy a diesel. Better mileage and much better torque for towing.

If I was looking at a new vehicle, I'd get the ford transit connect or that new mercedes work van. I believe you cannot beat the versatility of these vans
Did you read the post, I have a big jacked up pickup for big towing. I am looking at replacing our car and wondering if a mid-sized can also tow our trailer for light trips. My truck can drive over logs yo!
 

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Shapp
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Discussion Starter #12
Shapp, I know you have a truck when you need one, I actually read the whole post. I have pulled our raft with my dad's outback several times and it was ok. We also used to pull our 14' john boat with 25 hp outboard and wood floors (similar weight to day rig raft and your trailer) all over Oregon when I lived there. Tthat was back in the early 90's so not an outback (until 1996 I think) but certainly less power then modern Outbacks.

Since then that's all my dad has ever owned and pulled the same boat. I think he's owned 4 outbacks; all of them, including his 2010, have pulled that boat and the latter has pulled it here in Montana up to some mountain lakes. It's not ideal but it will get the job done. I'm not sure about the forester, but you should be able to compare that on paper with the info you've gotten on outbacks. I have no clue what a cx 5 even looks like and I think I'm happy about that, but who knows maybe I'm missing something.
Thanks for the feed back on my actual question!,

To all others, I have a big ass truck already that I am extremely happy with with all types of engine and suspension after market upgrades:
 

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Shapp
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Discussion Starter #13
We have researched the 3 vehicles I posted already on capacity ect. Outback has the greatest tow capacity, the forester and mazda cx5 are similar.

Would be nice to get some first hand accounts of the Forester though.

We are also looking at the Mazda CX5 potentially cause the exiting car we have that we are getting rid of is a mazda and it has been a good vehicle over the last 12 years.
 

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Did you read the post, I have a big jacked up pickup for big towing. I am looking at replacing our car and wondering if a mid-sized can also tow our trailer for light trips. My truck can drive over logs yo!
I did, you even consider that I wasn't talking to you. The guy with the tribeca was commenting about his not making it over the mountains...I said to buy a truck.

I think you could make a better decision than buying a subie or that Mazda, considering you want to tow a little and use the rear for hauling gear and people.

So all you want to know is if a midsize can tow...yes

What a useful thread.

BTW...ur truck ain't jacked...what are those 30's lol
 

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Shapp
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Discussion Starter #15
So all you want to know is if a midsize can tow...yes
I had a specific question about 3 rigs, yes that is the question, and not only a mid-size but those specific mid-size rigs. I won't be hauling people etc. etc. This a car replacement and I am wondering if I might also be able to tow the trailer occasionally with light load and wanted some actual feed back from folks that may have direct knowledge on those rigs. I know it must be hard not to respond on topic.

Start your own thread to discuss anther topic. PS on the truck it isn't the size of the tires but the clearance that is key. What you can't see is some significant work underneath that adds 5" of additional clearance even though there is on only a 3 inch lift. In addition to a completely altered running gear setup.

If you want to argue off topic start another thread and we can sling arrows.
 

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The Subarus are all equipped with a CVT tranny these days. Major deal breaker for me- and shit for towing.

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Shap,

You should be fine hauling the raft & light loads on that trailer with an Outback.

Since about 2002 I've been towing a modified aluminum sled bed, first with my 1994 2.2L Legacy Wagon, now with the 2006 2.5L Outback. I haul my boat rigged and loaded everywhere, typically for overnights but have also hauled for plenty of multiday trips. The Suby does 85 easy on the open flat freeway but be ready to drop it into 3rd going over passes and up steep grades. It seems like aerodynamics are a worse drag than weight. The time I tried it, carrying two rafts inflated was a lot tougher going than a heavy load. I'd probably get lots better mileage if I took the roof box off for long trips but am just too lazy...

Other threads about this topic are here and here. One's got a shot of the old Legacy loaded for a trip I took with a couple of other guys, we piled everyone's gear and boats on the raft and drove 1000 miles plus and back. Another's got an economic analysis I did of what you'll save over the lifetime of a car that gets 25 mpg over one that truck that gets 15 mpg:

Assuming a vehicle life-cycle of 200,000 miles, the fuel difference between 25 mpg and 15 mpg results in a fuel consumption difference of roughly 5,300 gallons of gasoline. Assuming an average fuel cost of $3.25/gal over this period, the fuel cost difference between 25 and 15 mpg vehicles is roughly $17,300.
(yeah, gas is cheap this year, but don't count on it staying that way...)

I towed with the '94 Legacy just fine until I got rid of it at about 300K miles, the Legacy does fine, with 150K+ miles.

Good luck finding what works for you,

-AH
 

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Forester, fwiw

I towed my 14' raft rigged for overnight trip from Bend on the Lower Deschutes with a 2011 Forester as an experiment once. 170 horsepower and the 5sp manual did just fine on the highway. Pulling out of the boat ramp at the end of the trip was the issue - too hard on the clutch to make me want to do it again. Mileage was in the upper teens by the time I got home. I have no idea how the new cvt transmission would do, and don't really care to find out.

I just traded the Forester in on a new WRX with a 6 sp. Plenty of HP and torque in that bad boy, but it would be a crime to try and tow anything with it. I've got an '04 Honda Pilot that handles regular towing duties just fine and gets about the same mileage while towing that the Forester did. Not really worth it.

The WRX makes me smile a lot every time I drive it. Since you have a real tow vehicle, I'd ditch the idea of towing with a small SUV and just get a WRX. That was my decision anyway. Best car decision i've made so far!
 

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Jared
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I have a 1995 Legacy 2.2 5 speed That I've towed my raft with plenty of times. I can get it over the top of Mt. Hood in 4th at 55, and I tow my raft inflated on a utility trailer, so it's a hell of a wind sock. I do run the raft upside down though to help deflect wind. I pull it right on to the sand at Oxbow and load a couple rafts on it and pull off the sand and up the long ass grade just out of the park.
The Outback and Forester are very similar mechanically speaking, the Outback does have more cargo space. The CVT cars get better mileage, and I wouldn't be afraid to tow with one. I did find a Euro spec Forester Tow rating of 4000 lbs on the UK Subaru site I think. They are Mechanically the same cars as the US spec cars, the formulas and thresholds they use are different than ours for tow ratings.
That said, I've heard a lot of bad info on the CX-5 engines. Something having to do with the timing set they use in it. I could be wrong, but you may want to look into it a little before you pulled the trigger on one.
Subaru has gotten a pretty bad reputation with the EJ25 2.5 liter engine popping head gaskets. They are running a new engine family that is now direct inject and changed in about every way. Hopefully they have remedied the EJ25's head gasket issues.
Also, the AWD system in the Subarus are much more useful than most car based AWD systems. The manual transmission cars run a differential that apportions torque to the front and rear of the car. The Auto/ CVT cars run a primary drive to the front differential with an electronic clutch pack that will give the rear diff up to 40% of engine torque. The Foresters also have X-mode, it is a soft road traction management system that is supposed to move torque to the wheels that need it most. I've seen some videos on it but haven't gotten to play in one yet.
Given the three cars you are looking at, I'd buy one of the Subarus. I do like the extra cargo area the Legacy wagons afford, but the Foresters are a little more sporty and better on some of our PNW roads. (up the Molalla all the way to Bagby, the Trask, Salmonberry, etc)
 
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