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Understanding the 2017 Kia Sorento’s Towing Capacity

Towing Capacity

Pickup trucks and full-size SUVs usually come to mind when thinking about vehicles with serious towing capacities. However, midsize crossover SUVs like the 2017 Kia Sorento can haul more than you might expect.

As an automotive expert running the Antich Automotive blog, I want to provide an in-depth look at the 2017 Sorento’s towing capacities. This article will explain in clear, simple terms the key specs, limits, and recommendations for safely towing with the different Sorento trims and configurations.

Overview of the Sorento’s Tow Ratings

The maximum towing capacity of the 2017 Sorento ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 pounds depending on the engine, drivetrain, and axle ratio. Lower trims with the base 2.4L 4-cylinder can tow up to 2,000 pounds. Higher trims with the available 3.3L V6 can tow up to 3,500 pounds with front-wheel drive or 5,000 pounds with all-wheel drive.

It’s important not to exceed the Sorento’s maximum tow rating capacities, as doing so can overload the drivetrain and chassis, potentially leading to damage or towing-related accidents. Always consult the owner’s manual or door jamb sticker for the exact towing limits.

Towing Equipment and Features

To tow safely and effectively, the 2017 Sorento needs to be properly equipped. Here are some key towing features available:

  • Trailer hitch: A Class III hitch is standard on most trims for towing up to 3,500 lbs. The EX and SX trims have a Class IV hitch for 5,000 lb towing capacity.

  • Wiring harness: A 7-pin wiring harness is included to connect trailer lights.

  • Transmission cooler: Helps prevent overheating when towing. Standard on V6 models.

  • Tow/Haul mode: Adjusts transmission shifting for better towing performance.

  • Trailer stability assist: Helps keep the trailer stable if swaying is detected.

  • Integrated trailer brake controller: Makes it easy to operate electric trailer brakes.

  • Backup camera: Provides better visibility when backing up with a trailer.

Towing Capacity by Trim Level

The Sorento is available in several trim levels, each with different standard or optional engines and drivetrain configurations. Here’s a breakdown of the maximum tow ratings for each:

  • L – 2.4L 4-cyl, FWD: 2,000 lbs

  • LX – 2.4L 4-cyl, FWD or AWD: 2,000 lbs

  • EX – 2.0L Turbo 4-cyl, FWD or AWD: 3,500 lbs

  • EX – 3.3L V6, FWD: 3,500 lbs

  • EX – 3.3L V6, AWD: 5,000 lbs

  • SX – 3.3L V6, FWD or AWD: 5,000 lbs

  • SXL – 3.3L V6, FWD or AWD: 5,000 lbs

The 3.3L V6 paired with AWD delivers the maximum 5,000 lb tow rating. Go with this configuration if you need to haul heavier boats, campers, or cargo.

Towing Capacity by Axle Ratio

The axle ratio also affects towing performance and capacity. Higher numerical ratios provide more torque for towing, while lower ratios favor fuel economy. Here are the Sorento’s axle ratios and corresponding max tow ratings:

  • 3.51 axle ratio: 2,000 lbs capacity

  • 3.20 axle ratio: 3,500 lbs capacity

  • 3.32 axle ratio: 3,500 lbs capacity

  • 3.65 axle ratio: 5,000 lbs capacity

When comparing trims or looking at options, take note of the axle ratio along with the drivetrain configuration.

Weight Distribution Considerations

Properly distributing weight is critical for safe and stable towing. The trailer tongue weight (vertical weight on the hitch) should be 10-15% of the total loaded trailer weight. Too little tongue weight can cause the trailer to sway, while too much can overload the rear axle.

Payload also needs to be managed carefully. This includes all cargo and passengers inside the Sorento itself. Consult the door jamb label for payload and seating capacity limits. Proper weight distribution allows maximizing towing capacity while staying within safe operation ranges.

Trailer Brake Recommendations

For towing heavy loads near the Sorento’s capacity limits, trailer brakes are highly recommended:

  • Up to 1,500 lbs: Trailer brakes optional
  • 1,500-2,000 lbs: Trailer brakes recommended
  • Over 2,000 lbs: Trailer brakes required

Electric or electric-over-hydraulic trailer brake systems are common options. The Sorento’s integrated trailer brake controller makes operating electric trailer brakes simple.

Towing Tips and Best Practices

Here are some key tips for safely towing with the 2017 Kia Sorento:

  • Verify all towing equipment is properly installed and connected.

  • Adjust side mirrors to provide optimal rear visibility. Consider extended tow mirrors.

  • Allow extra distance for braking when towing. Avoid sudden stops.

  • Watch speed and don’t exceed 55-65 mph when towing.

  • Monitor engine temperature closely, especially when stopped.

  • Use lower gears for better control and cooling when going downhill.

  • Load the trailer properly with around 60% of the weight in the front.

  • Secure the load properly in the trailer to prevent shifting.

Common 2017 Sorento Towing Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the 2017 Sorento’s towing capabilities:

What’s the smallest Sorento that can tow 5,000 lbs?

The EX and higher trims with the 3.3L V6 and AWD can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Can a 2017 Sorento tow a small camper or RV?

Yes, it can tow lightweight travel trailers or pop-up campers within its tow rating capacities. The V6 AWD models can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

How much tongue weight can the hitch support?

The general rule of thumb is 10-15% of the total loaded trailer weight. This often ranges from 300-600 lbs for the Sorento.

Is the towing package required to tow?

The towing package is optional but recommended if regularly towing near the vehicle’s limits. It includes useful features like a transmission cooler, wiring harness, and integrated brake controller.

Concluding Thoughts

Understanding the 2017 Kia Sorento’s towing capabilities is important for hauling cargo, boats, campers, or other trailers safely and confidently. Match the maximum towing capacity to the actual loaded weight of the trailer and distribute the weight appropriately. Equip the Sorento properly for towing and follow some basic best practices for safe, stable handling. With its versatile powertrain options, capable towing features, and family-friendly design, the Sorento can meet a wide range of hauling needs.

Kia Sorento Towing Review with The Camping and Caravanning Club

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