Kia Sorento gets upgraded tow pack

7 February 2013
, CarsGuide
Kia Sorento gets upgraded tow pack
Kia sold 30,758 vehicles last year - 3276 of them were Sorentos.

The pack comes hot on the heels of its revamp of the Sorento SUV, which wears a similar skin but sits on the new platform shared with Hyundai, with a 120kg ball download rating.

The manual variants listed the braked towing capacity of 2500kg, while the automatic rated an even two tonnes (due to cooling and weight distribution requirements), but the ball download figure is critical.

Kia has developed an upgraded tow bar package which increases the Sorento's ball download figure to 150kg by means of a new heavy-duty towing package. 

Chief among the changes for the towing set-up is a set of uprated rear springs to cope with the increased down ball weight - but the changes don't impact the maximum braked towing capacity. The heavy-duty package, which costs $977.34 plus fitting at Kia dealerships, can be fitted to both front and all-wheel drive models of the Sorento.

Kia also says customers who have already bought a genuine Kia tow bar kit that is rated to a 120kg down ball weight can upgrade - for $239.78 plus fitting - to the 150kg set-up by way of  an new set of heavy duty springs and corresponding labels.

The company says it was mindful of the suspension changes not effecting the locally-tuned ride and handling characteristics of the seven-seater SUV. The company also says a load-distributing hitch can be used without voiding the car's warranty, provided it is used correctly as per the vehicle's manual to avoid undue stress on the vehicle's body.

Kia Australia's spokesman Kevin Hepworth says customer inquiries about heavier towing applications for the car had warranted the heavy-duty tow pack being made available.

"The heavier-rated towball was something that Sorento users had indicated a strong interest in, to meet that demand Kia has moved to ensure its availability," Kia Australia general manager of public relations Kevin Hepworth.

The Sorento range has either a six-speed manual or automatic in front-wheel drive or (with a 60kg weight penalty) four-wheel drive, which is an "on-demand" drivetrain that can be locked into 50/50 front to rear up to speeds of 40km/h.

Among the changes made to the Sorento for 2013 was a stronger bodyshell (18 per cent stiffer) as well as stronger sub-frames on which to mount the front and rear suspension, using larger bushes to reduce vibration.

The big SUV has also benefited from locally-tuned suspension and steering for better ride and handling, something that Kia has been doing with some success in its recently-updated range.

Kia sold 30,758 vehicles last year - 3276 of them were Sorentos - and maintained its momentum for the start of 2013. Kia Australia chief operating officer  Tony Barlow says the brand is gaining market traction and not just spiking sales with the arrival of one outstanding model.

"One of the most pleasing aspects of 2012 has been the across-the-range growth in demand for Kia cars," he says.

Kia Sorento
from $38,290
Warranty: 5 Years/Unlimited km
Resale: 54% (51% Petrol 2WD)
Service Interval: 12 Months/15,000km
Safety Rating: 5 Stars
Engine: 3.5-Litre V6, 204kW/335Nm; 2.2-Litre 4-Cyl Turbo Diesel, 145kW/421Nm (436Nm Auto)
Transmission: 6-speed auto, 6-speed manual, FWD/4WD
Thirst: 9.8l/100km (diesel 6.6l man, 7.3l auto), 235g/km co2 (diesel 174g, 192g) tank 64l
Dimensions: 4.6m (L), 1.8m (W), 1.5m (H)
Weight: 1439kg