Join Date: Sep 2017
Drives: 2016 Sorento LX+ V6 AWD
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Towing 5000 lbs with the Sorento - Myths and facts
Hi I am Rocky and I'm new to the forum.
I have seen many forums questioning Towing with the Sorento with many people not finding answers due to dealerships not being helpful. Fortunately, my dealer has given me some answers. To clarify, these are for 2016 Sorento with a V6 engine rated to to 5000 lbs.
Myth 1 - As a unibody vehicle, it is not recommended to use a weight distribution system on the Sorento. WRONG!
FACT: If you plan on towing anything heavy enough to need trailer breaks, a WDS is highly recommended for added handling and safety. It is recommended to use a WDS with built-in sway control rather than a seperate sway bar.
Myth 2 - If something were to happen while towing a large load, warrantee will not cover. WRONG!
FACT: As long as you tow within the limits of the vehicle described in your owners manual, warrantee will cover. NOTE: The tongue weight of the trailer must be accounted for when calculating the GVWR of the tow vehicle (Sorento). If the GVWR of your Sorento is 1100 lbs (as my 7 seater is) and the tongue weight of your trailer is 450 lbs, you only have 650lbs left of person and cargo carrying capacity inside the Sorento. The trailer's weight can still be up to 5000 lbs.
Myth 3 - Using a weight distribution system can increase your trailer weight and tongue weight capacity by 25%. WRONG!
FACT: Using a WDS is what gets you to the max of 5000 lbs. Doing so without one would be very unsafe and ill-advised.
Myth 4 - Running wires through your Sorento for trailer breaks is very costly and can affect your warrantee.
FACT: It is difficult to run these wires and it can become a warranty complication if you have future electrical problems in the car, as this new wiring will not be covered due to them not being a standard feature of the car. The best way to avoid this is to use a wireless break control module such as the Tekonsha Prodigy RF. It is more expensive to buy, but much easier to install and avoids any future warrantee questions. It can also utilise the stock 4 pin plug with a simple 7 pin adapter.
With these clarifications, I would also like to add some advise or recommendations for towing in general as people seem to have misunderstandings. First off, it is completely normal to see higher RPMs while cruising with a trailer. This is true even in pickup trucks. The engine RPM is not the biggest concern, but more the transmission temperature. In trucks and some vans, there is a TOW HAUL mode, which is not featured in the Sorento. However, the SPORT MODE does something quite similar in that it lets the engine rev higher in order to save the transmission from having to shift often for every slight incline change in the road. It is especially important to try to avoid shifting often as the Sorento features no transmission temperature gauge. Follow these considerations and the only thing you have to keep an eye on is your engine temperature.
The Sorento is by no meens a pickup truck, but that doesn't meen it can't tow. In fact, it has won many awards in Europe for being a good tow car as pickup trucks are a rarity. However here are extra considerations when towing.
Cruising at higher then unloaded RPMs is normal, but pushing the car to tow a trailer at faster highway speeds is NOT GOOD, and that is a fact for any towing vehicle. In sport mode, the Sorento will stay on the highway mostly in 4th gear and show approximately 2800 RPM at 90 kph. This is a great towing speed on flat ground. Going any faster will cause extra stress on the vehicle and worse gas mileage...and for how much gain? In this setting, you'll see better than 20L per 100km of gas mileage. IF YOU ARE IN A RUSH TO GO CAMPING, YOU ARE DEFEATING THE PURPOSE OF CAMPING IN THE FIRST PLACE. Also, when you see an uphill coming, increase your speed to gain momentum without shifting (staying in 4th, not exceeding 100 kph) and then letting the speed bleed off slowly as you are climbing as to try to get to the top without shifting into 3rd. If you have a long steep incline, just putt putt up the hill at 70kph. IF PEOPLE BEHIND YOU GET IMPATIENT THAT EASILY, THEIR PROBLEMS WERE ROOTED LONG BEFORE YOU SHOWED UP. Camping is meant to be relaxing and the towing experience should be the same. Don't let others ruin your trip and don't wreck your car trying to content others. Besides, they're probably just jealous of your new rig :P.