Can the Subaru Crosstrek Tow a Camper?

The Subaru Crosstrek is a popupar SUV with a very modest towing capacity. Here are some things to consider when towing with your Crosstrek.

silver subaru crosstrek towing popup camper

The Subaru Crosstrek is quickly becoming one of the most popular compact SUVs on the market. Crosstrek owners love to get outdoors, but not everyone wants to sleep on the ground in a tent.

Fortunately for those of us that like a softer place to sleep, the Subaru Crosstrek has enough gusto to pull a camping trailer.

If you want to pull a trailer with your Subaru Crosstrek, it’s important to manage your expectations. While the Crosstrek is relatively powerful, small trailers are your best bet.

Before you run out and buy a camping trailer, you should make sure you understand exactly what the towing capacity of your Subaru Crosstrek is.

What is the Subaru Crosstrek towing capacity?

Photo by Sonny Mauricio / Unsplash

Across the board, the Subaru Crosstrek has a standard maximum towing capacity of 1,500 pounds. This towing capacity makes the Crosstrek an ideal vehicle for pulling some of the smaller travel trailers or camping trailers on the market.

The 1,500 pound towing capacity also means that the Crosstrek can be used for towing other stuff, like your flatbed garden trailer, bicycle trailers, or a small U-Haul.

And while towing capacity is good to know, you’ll also want to be familiar with the performance of your Crosstrek’s engine when you’re making your trailer purchase. Newer Crosstreks come with an optional, more powerful engine which can be a huge plus if you’re pulling a trailer.

Can a Subaru Crosstrek tow a camping trailer

Yes. It is important to note however, that you’ll not be pulling one of those beastly travel trailers with all the comforts of home.

However, if you’re OK with one of the lightweight, smaller travel trailers or camping trailers that are on the market today, your Crosstrek will do well towing a camping trailer.

Specs and performance

The Crosstrek is a mash-up of the Subaru Impreza hatchback with an SUV. It is easy on the eyes, and this all-wheel drive crossover is likely popular because of its sporty styling. However, it’s a Subaru with more than just good looks.

Let’s start with engine performance. 2020 model year and older, the Crosstrek came with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. While this option was great for fuel efficiency, it left something to be desired when it came to power.

With only 152-horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque, the 2.0L engine is great for city driving, but struggled with more demanding conditions, including pulling a trailer.

In 2022, Subaru introduced the Crosstrek with a bigger engine on the Sport and Limited models. For the driver that wants more from their Crosstrek, these models jump to a whopping 182-horsepower with 176 lb-ft of torque, thanks to a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine.

This boost in power on the Sport and Limited models make them perfect for pulling a small trailer, without feeling like you’re losing ground or being dragged down. There is a slight loss in fuel economy with the larger engine, but it’s so small, on your daily commute, you won’t really notice the difference.

Since you’ll have some gear, it’s nice to know that the Crosstrek has plenty of interior space. Except for the Crosstrek Hybrid, you get a whopping 55.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo space with the backseats folded down (or 20.8 cubic feet with the seats up).

Though the Crosstrek looks more car than SUV, it has a decent amount of ground clearance at 8.7-inches, which makes it comparable with other compact SUVs on the market.

For those of us that just can’t let go of our manual transmission, the base Crosstrek and Crosstrek Premium models do come with a really nice, optional 6-speed manual transmission.

Oh, and it’s probably wise for us to point out that the Crosstrek does come in a gas-electric hybrid option as well. If pulling a trailer is your goal, you may want to skip the hybrid. It has a smaller towing capacity, which significantly limits your trailer options.

Special features about the Crosstrek

The Crosstrek line comes with some handy amenities that make towing a trailer a little easier and a bit safer.

First, we find that the EyeSight driver assist technology that is standard on the Sport and Limited models, and optional on the base and Premium models, is really handy at helping with blind spots when you’re towing a trailer.

The EyeSight Driver Assist lets you know if there is an issue and can even steer the car away from danger if needed.

The other unique safety feature that makes towing with a Crosstrek a little more comfortable is the X-MODE option combined with the Symmetrical all-wheel drive. X-MODE provides more control to the transmission ratio when you’re in snow, mud or sand.

If you’re stuck in the mud with your trailer or are hit with an unexpected snow storm, the X-MODE will help you get out of trouble, without wheel-spinning and loss of traction.

The Sport and Limited models also come standard with Hill Descent Control which can help you save your brakes when going down steep hills. This is particularly helpful when pulling a trailer.

Standard on all Crosstrek models are anti-lock brakes, traction control and vehicle dynamics control for added safety and control.

Which campers can the Subaru Crosstrek tow?

You’re pretty limited in your camper options if you’ll be using your Subaru Crosstrek.

With a maximum towing capacity of only 1,500 pounds, you’ll be best served to consider lightweight and ultra-lightweight options such as teardrop campers, some small pop-up campers, and small stand-up campers.

Once upon a time, these small, lightweight camper options were hard to come by, today, however there are hundreds of options to choose from, and you’re sure to find a great trailer that your Crosstrek will easily handle.

Here are our favorite lightweight campers perfect for your Subaru Crosstrek:

❤️ Make/model 🚙 Camper type ⚖️ Dry weight
1. The MeerKat Stand-up 920 lbs
2. Colorado Basedrop Teardrop 1,000 lbs
3. Happier Camper HC1 Stand-up 1,100 lbs
4. 13′ Scamp Stand-up 1,200 lbs
5. FR Rockwood Geo Pro G12RK Teardrop 1,252 lbs
6. TAXA Outdoors TigerMoth Stand-up 1,360 lbs
7. Forest River Flagstaff 176LTD Pop-up 1,465 lbs

✅ The pros of towing with a Subaru Crosstrek

  • The Crosstrek has a comfortable ride
  • Good ground clearance for off-road adventures or deep snow
  • 1,500 lbs of towing capacity
  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Lots of safety features are standard

❌ The cons of towing with a Subaru Crosstrek

  • Base model lacks in power and performance
  • Base model engine is noisy
  • The seats aren’t terribly comfortable
  • The center console gets in the way

Final thoughts

Subaru Crosstrek owners will be pleased to know that their sporty car will do a reasonable job at towing a lightweight trailer. For the outdoor adventurers this means you can upgrade from your tent to a small trailer with an actual bed.

Subaru’s 40-years of experience with all-wheel drive vehicles, combined with more standard safety features and plenty of cargo space, makes the Crosstrek a nearly perfect car for hauling your camping trailer.