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The Kia Telluride is capable of towing up to 5,000 LBS, once equipped with a towing hitch, included in the optional $795 Towing Package on S, EX and SX models. It's an impressive number for the segment after factoring in the other towing features that altogether, make the Telluride perfect for trailers ranging in size from small to medium.

Towing Features
  • Towing Capacity (lbs): 5,000
  • $795 Towing Package: Tow Hitch, Self-Leveling Rear-Suspension
  • $475 Tow Hitch w/ Harness
  • Trailer Stability Assist (TSA)
  • 3.8L V6: 291-hp & 262 lb-ft of torque
  • AWD: Optional

A lot of the 5,000 lbs towing capacity comes standard thanks to features like the 3.8L V6, 8-Speed Transmission and optional AWD. Active vehicle control and stability systems like TSA (trailer stability assist), ESC (electronic stability control), VSM (vehicle stability management) and HAC (hill-start assist control) should also help under varying towing conditions, especially with mitigating trailer swaying and oscillation.

Now, while all of this information from Kia looks great on paper, it's vague and creates a lot of skepticism. How much can actually be towed safely on each Telluride model hasn't been disclosed. Even torque distribution is questionable. Previous versions of the 3.8L V6 made peak torque after 4,000 rpm. In the Ford Explorer, it's from 2,500 rpm. Likewise with other rivals.

In defense of the Telluride, it's a well rounded mid-size plus SUV and positioned well in the segment, just not with towing, so far.

What's left now is to clear the confusion on what exactly we have to work with as some have already done:

I'd like to understand more about Kia's towing capacity rating. It seems to only be rating the engine's ability to pull (and to some undisclosed criteria), rather than an overall rating that accounts for weight differences between trim levels and associated braking effectiveness, and any body or frame or suspension differences both across trims and across FWD vs AWD.

Every other brand has different tow ratings for different trims, and for AWD vs FWD (because they are rating the overall vehicle package, not just the engine).

Some manufacturers voluntarily rate towing capacity per the SAE J2807 standard. Kia can't possibly be testing to that standard, or different trims would have different capacity.

Also note that in the manual, pg 5-148, 5-149, it shows:
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Lambda II 3.8 GDI ATK engine:
without trailer brakes: 1650 lbs
with trailer brakes: 5000 lbs

Maximum tongue weight 351 lbs

The trailer tongue should weigh a maximum of 10% of the total loaded trailer weight, within the limits of the maximum trailer tongue load.
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So, even the 5000 with trailer brakes needs a caveat. If 351 lb tongue weight is 10% of maximum, that becomes the limiting factor and the maximum loaded trailer weight is 3510 lbs, and only with a trailer having brakes, which most single-axle and utility trailers do not have.

I'm left confused. What are the real ratings by trim level, for SAFE trailer towing across a range of driving conditions and grades?

Kia seems to be playing a game with the specifications similar to the way shop-vac manufacturers play games with "horsepower ratings."

Claims about trailer towing ratings are important not just for the safety of owners, but also for the safety of people who may be driving near a Kia owner who is towing a trailer+cargo weighing 5000 lbs.
 

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I see the Telluride as an SUV for those that want the flash but for some exorbitant amount of $$$, thus for 80% of people buying these either won't need to tow or have very minimal needs to tow. A mistake I think Kia made. Why not make it a "real" mid-size SUV?
 

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I spoke to a dealer who is ordering my SXP with towing pkg. I asked him about the discrepancy between towing weight and tongue weight. It seems KIA has cleared this up stating the tongue weight of 351 lbs was a typo. Corrent tongue weight is 500 lbs. See KIA statement attached below.
 

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