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Would a 2005 Subaru Forester be a good car to buy to haul a pop up camper husband and 2 children?

My sister in law is here visiting and looking to buy a new used car which has the ability to pull their pop up camper on their camp trips. I know the Forrester would be a good car to buy but I am a little unsure about how well suited a Forrester would be to pull a pop up camper. Is there anyone with experience with the Forrester in this area?

The towing capacity is the first factor, how heavy is the camper, it looks like 2000 to 2400 lbs is possible. The next question is where will you be towing the camper, flatlands or mountains makes a big difference!

It really depends on the “loaded” weight of the trailer, and how much other gear is to be loaded into the Forester. Basically this is not a great tow vehicle. A pop up trailer isn’t very helpful. Some of units are small and lightweight and others can get pretty heavy. You aren’t providing much information, so my answer is no - this isn’t a good choice for towing a pop up trailer.

Weight? Only if it’s EXTREMELY light would I use a Forester. The drivetrain is not what I’d call heavy-duty. It might be better to find something with a V6, like a Pilot or a Highlander.

Even if the weight is within the rated towing capacity the driveline will still take a beating; especially if hills are involved. With an automatic transmission a fluid cooler would be a must.

You’re also talking about a car going on 9 years old and how well it tows is going to be related to total weight, engine condition, transmission or clutch condition, etc, etc.

Something with more cylinders and torque would be a better option.

I’ll echo the majority here and advise you to find a vehicle more suited to towing. The Forester is weak in that area.

I would strongly advise against it. A compact pickup truck with a crew cab would be a good choice, as would be many rear drive SUVs.


No. A pickup or real suv not a want -a-be suv. Only way to go.

@UncleTurbo is absolutely right. Don’t have a clue without knowing the weight. General discussions on towing anything without knowing the weight is a non starter. Any car can tow; no car should tow beyound it’s capacity.
These questions keep popping up, there are a bunch of guesses, we recycle the same comments and finally OP mentions a weight…which should be the starting point. Please, do so !
Without knowing, my standard answer will be…most pop ups are between 1500 and 4000 lbs…an emphatic NO !

We have a very small pop up (Coleman Columbia - 1990) and have successfully towed it a relatively short distance (2-1/2 hours) up some fairly step and long hills with a series of Outbacks (all 4 cylinder). Power is not great. The trailer unloaded is 900 lbs, loaded, add another 200 to that. Car is loaded with food and clothing for four days of non-hookup camping for four adults.
I do routinely tow a 4x8 utility trailer, but that rarely exceeds 1000 lbs loaded. Subarus are not the best choice for hauling, but it can be done. I agree, trailer load and terrain are major factors.

rarely exceeds 1000 lbs @Gibane
The key IMHO.