When will manufacturers start to issue proper tow ratings? This time the mismatch between ball and towing capacity of the Kia Sorento has a reader asking questions…

Hi Practical Motoring, 
I’ve got a question about my tow vehicle… We have a new Kia Sorento but the towball download rating is 100kg (low for the 2t towing capacity). I am exploring the idea of selling this six-month old car for a proper tow vehicle. I have a Jayco Swan (being towed with my BA Ford Falcon at present), which has an ATM of 1500kg, but I want to allow for a ‘van upgrade in the future.
We are looking for a seven-seater, diesel, minimum towing of 2500kg, auto, have okay rough road capabilities but nothing extreme, at most 5 years old, ideally less than 60k kms and good as a daily drive for ferrying around kids. Oh and around $45k. I am now familiar with ratings of GVM, GCM, ATM, GTM, downball weights etc as I realized my Sorento couldn’t legally tow my Swan after I bought the Swan (Swan has a compliance downball weight of 129kg.)
Any vehicle stand out to you that would suit us? I mainly see the Prado, Pajero and MU-X come back in my searches, what’s best here? Any others?
Hi G,
You’re not the first person to buy a car based on its headline tow capacity only to find it falls short in reality. Low towball ratings are a case in point. The 2016 Sorento has a braked towing capacity of 2000kg, but a mere 100kg maximum towball mass. At least Kia were honest enough to make this clear in the specs, unlike most others who hide it. Anyway, you seem to have figured out various tow ratings, but for those that haven’t, this article explains it all.
For your new car I’d stick to low-range vehicles as I suspect “ok 4WD capabilities” means more than a softroader, especially given you want a 7-seater. We wrote a bit about softroaders here.
As for your shortlist; yes, those three. I’d advise against a Pajero as its third-row seat option is terrible (full review here). Both the Prado and MU-X will do the job, but the Prado is the better all-rounder – and more expensive. Colorado 7 is also worth a look.
Other potentials for your list are the Discovery and Fortuner. You might also consider a Nissan Y62 Patrol as these represent good value and will tow easily.

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  1. You should do an article about Electric Brake Controller, and the fact they are required by law to tow more than 2 tons. None of the utes/wagons (apart from the American HD trucks) sold here come with EBC as standard fitment, yet Ford, Holden, Toyota claim their vehicles can tow 3.5 tons.

  2. Hello G.
    If it is not made in Australia, Japan or America, don’t trust the ratings. These 3 countries have tested and proven the tow ratings. Anything built in Korea, Thailand or similar, treat the tow ratings as mere suggestions.

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