Car Advice

Reader Question: My Kia Sorento can’t tow my Jayco camper… what to do?

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?
Cheers,
G
 
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.

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a motoring journalist, offroad driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks, and that's when he isn't racing his Nissan Pulsar. Visit his website: www.l2sfbc.com or follow him on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RobertPepperJourno/ or buy his new ebook!