David Motton

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Following a recent update, read on to discover what tow car ability the latest version of the Kia Sorento has – could it be a hit with caravanners?

Overview

Few tow cars command such a loyal following as the Kia Sorento. However, the second generation had a mixed reputation.

This incarnation of the Sorento may look like a mid-life facelift, but it’s a very different machine under the skin. So it looks similar to the old model, but is much improved dynamically.

A new chassis, revised suspension and self-levelling on all but the entry-level version promise to make the big Kia a much better tow car – and that promise is largely fulfilled.

Towing

We towed a Swift Expression 586 with a 1576kg MTPLM on our test. With so much power and torque from the 2.2-litre diesel engine, the Kia Sorento feels like it should comfortably haul even heavier caravans – accelerating from 30-60mph with the Swift in tow took just 10.8 seconds.

The engine really is one of this Kia’s strengths. It allows the Sorento to hold speed on steep gradients and makes for confident overtaking, even when towing.

At motorway speeds the Sorento is secure and stable, rarely needing the driver to work at the wheel to stay straight and true. Pushed really hard in an emergency lane-change manoeuvre the front of the car tends to push wide.

In terms of noise, when travelling at motorway speeds, engine rumble settles into the background, although wind and road noise are noticeable.

Space

The interior of the new Kia Sorento is improved, but it is not as good as its best rivals.

Seven people can come along for the ride in this tow car, and there’s enough head and legroom for adults in all three rows – just about. Seats six and seven are fine on short journeys, but you wouldn’t want to draw the short straw on longer journeys.

Like most seven-seaters, the Kia is short of luggage space with every seat occupied. However, fold the third row into the floor and there’s a generous 515 litres to fill.

Running costs

The Sorento may not be the bargain it once was, but it is competitively priced and well equipped. Combine that with reasonable economy (47.9mpg on the combined cycle), strong resale values and a seven-year warranty, and you have a compelling all-round package.

Technical specs

Kerbweight1819 kg
85% KW1607 kg
Towball limit100 kg
Maximum towing limit2500 kg
30-60mph10.8 seconds

Verdict

Following our exhaustive test, we thought that the Kia Sorento makes a practical all-weather tow car. With seven seats to accommodate even the largest of families and a strong engine, it is a great tug.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Much improved over its predecessor
  • The 2.2-litre diesel engine pulls very well

Cons

  • With seven seats in use, luggage space is compromised
  • Road and wind noise at speed are noticeable
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