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Old 11-15-2021, 02:56 PM   #1
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Experience towing 17 with Kia Sedona?

Hi there,

I'm assessing RV options for my family of 4 and ideally, we would tow a lightweight RV with our current 2019 Kia Sedona LX (3.3-liter V6). It's rated for 3500 lbs, and my friend suggested an older Escape 17 may be suitable (2005-2017).

I'm wondering if anyone has experience towing an Escape 17 with a Sedona, and if so, how it went:

Did the van have enough power to tow the Escape? Were you towing in flat or hilly terrain?
Did you experience any mechanical issues while towing (e.g., overheating) or long-term (e.g., transmission issues)?
Did you install any upgrades to your Sedona, beyond the towing kit?
Would you recommend it? why or why not?
Any other suggestions?

I'm aware that a more powerful towing vehicle is usually preferred for RVs, however, I'm hearing great things about the Escape and want to explore this option.

The other option we're looking at with the Sedona is the RPOD 172, but I think the Escapes are much higher quality.

Thanks,
Katie
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Old 11-15-2021, 08:42 PM   #2
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We have a 2015 Escape 17A, towed with a Honda Pilot: 3.5L approx. 250 HP/250 Ft.Lb. torque; 3500 lb. tow rating. The Kia was on our short list, but the higher HP and torque of the Honda or the Toyota Highlander were the top two, with the higher performance values. Reliability: Honda and Toyota are the winners there, but our camping buddies have had outstanding reliability from their Kia's. (not in a towing config. though; they have used a tent).
We have traveled extensively throughout the mountain west with our 17A (About 2000 lbs. dry weight). Tow weight is typically 2600 lbs. w/ all our gear and full tanks, two people, and the Honda does fine.
So, based on our experiences, I would say that your Kia ( with 4 people, and I'm assuming the heavier B model with the bath and gray and black tanks, and your British Columbia location that would mean mountain driving ) is going to be doable but underpowered for for a satisfying towing experience. Also, though we have the factory tow package, we added an additional transmission cooler, to keep fluid temperatures in an acceptable range.
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Old 11-16-2021, 01:53 AM   #3
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Hello. We tow our 17a with a 2014 town and country. It has a bit bigger V6 engine than what the previous poster mentioned his vehicle had. I find the need to stay in 5th gear but that is not atypical I don't think. I have a jeep gc too and do the same with it
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Old 11-16-2021, 04:46 AM   #4
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Traveling Robert on YouTube started with old Kia, as he calls it.

Roberts my favorite Youtuber. I think 40 million views. I have watched this video many times. Very talented, writes all his own music. A great story teller.



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Old 11-16-2021, 11:23 AM   #5
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I selected a first gen 17B specifically because they are lighter than the new ones. Keep in mind that the older 17B's will still be about 2600-2800lb empty. Mine has A/C, a front storage box and double propane bottles so it weighs 2800lb dry. If you go with a 17A then it will be lighter.
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Old 11-16-2021, 12:09 PM   #6
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No experience with Kia, but with a similarly powered Honda, I had no problems with a new 17B going across the mountains to Calgary. I'd look seriously at transmission cooling, that may be the limiting factor. And you need patience, you will be in the truck lane going 75 kph on long uphills.
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Old 11-16-2021, 12:44 PM   #7
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We towed our 2015 17B with a 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe with absolutely no problems.
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Old 11-16-2021, 08:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flynfrfun View Post
I selected a first gen 17B specifically because they are lighter than the new ones. Keep in mind that the older 17B's will still be about 2600-2800lb empty. Mine has A/C, a front storage box and double propane bottles so it weighs 2800lb dry. If you go with a 17A then it will be lighter.
Our 2007 Escape 17B was way lighter than our 2020 Escape 19. No, I didn't weigh it, it just seemed way lighter. Mine was a dry bath meaning, no shower, only toilet. In hindsight I wish we would have kept it. The upgrade cost more than I thought it would.
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Old 11-20-2021, 12:51 AM   #9
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Thanks so much to everyone for the responses. I really appreciate the advice to:
a) temper my expectations re: towing power
b) be mindful of the year and specific options on the trailer (that affect weight)
c) consider an additional transmission cooler

Cheers,
Katie
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Old 11-20-2021, 04:48 AM   #10
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Escapes are great trailers, the best on the market. The only con is they are small. We are a family of 4 and we made it work. Our kids would rather sleep in the tent or the truck than with us. When we sold it, a family of 4 bought it, they had a toddler and a newborn. One trip and it was for sale again. I contacted to ask if there was a problem, they said they had too much gear, it was just too small. We made it work because we had a truck, having a suv might be the deal breaker.

Consider all the gear you would take with you before you buy. I would steer you towards a tent trailer. They're light and you have a lot of living room when set up.
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Old 11-20-2021, 08:25 AM   #11
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I feel like I could expand a bit on what Doug2000 mentioned as I've been there and done that with a few different RVs.

We have four kids in total, 22, 20, 16, 14 years old. The eldest two are now gone and the youngest two are getting close and often busy with their own activities.

In 2003 we bought a used Coleman Pop-up camper and towed it with a minivan. That pop-up served us from the start (two small kids) to 2010 (four kids ages 3-11). The biggest advantage to a pop-up is maximum sleeping space in something small enough to easily tow with a minivan. The biggest disadvantages are that literally everything has to be shifted and stowed in a new spot when you set up and take down. You have to re-make the beds at every campsite. And if there is dew, frost, or rain, you have wet bunks that will have to be set up again and dried. Finally, you have a tiny fridge and inconvenient or no toilet.

We owned a Rockwood Roo 3-bunk hybrid trailer from 2010 to 2020. The biggest advantage of the hybrid was it could sleep six adult size people in a trailer that could be pulled by a large-ish SUV like a Chevy Traverse or M-B GLE. It also had a full size fridge and most things could be stored in one place for travel or camping. Still, like the popup you have to deal with tenting in wet conditions and you have to set up and tear down beds every time you move campsites. Oh, and the bunks had leaks causing delamination which caused the end of that trailer.

Any RV that is large enought to be really comfortable for 4-6 people and not a hybrid is going to be pretty big and will require a full size truck or SUV (think Tahoe, or F-150).



Now we own an Escape 19. It is like all Escapes (IMO) a perfect trailer for two people. When the kids are with us, they like to sleep in a tent (my son) or hammock (my daughter). We really bought it as it's functional enough now and will become perfect in the next few years as the last two kids fledge.



I think the Escape would work also for a family with 1-2 very small children, but then you are in a trailer that you are going to outgrow. Kids get real big, and you can't squeeze two teens on a small dinette.
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Old 11-20-2021, 06:03 PM   #12
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Sorry to see that you haven't found anyone who towed a 17 with a Sedona specifically. But hopefully the generalities of other, similarly powered vehicles has helped.

With that engine output you should expect to tow at around 60 mph, with overdrive locked out, and be aware that when climbing long, steep grades you will be slowing down (perhaps as much as 35-45 mph depending on conditions) and downshifting to bring up your engine RPM for greater torque output. Engines will do fine at 4,000 or 5,000 RPM, although the sound can be annoying. Of course, those steep grades often are curvy so you'd have to slow down anyway.

The 17' Escape will tow more easily than the RPod at highway speed because it will have less aerodynamic drag. People often get 14-15 US mpg with the Escape, but from what I've read elsewhere RPod owners are more likely to get about 12 mpg; this shows the lower drag of the Escape since the two are about the same weight. So the Escape will be easier on the drive train.

Other possibilities to consider (and more plentiful on the preowned market) are Boler, Scamp, and Casita (not the 17' front bath Casita though, they are too hitch heavy).
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Old 11-20-2021, 10:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
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With that engine output you should expect to tow at around 60 mph, with overdrive locked out...
The idea of locking out overdrive dates from the days of 4-speed automatics with crude controls, and is obsolete. There even used to be a button for it, combined with a PRND2L shifter, instead of a proper PRND321 shifter.

In this case, the Sedona has an 8-speed automatic transmission in which the top two ratios happen to be overdrive, but there's no magic to whether a transmission ratio is greater or less than one.

In some cases, tow/haul mode continues to use all ratios, but keeps the torque converter locked more. For any vehicle, the manual should be consulted for appropriate operating procedures. The 2019 Kia Sedona doesn't have a tow/haul mode and there is no "overdrive lockout"; the owner's manual explains the shifter (PRND+- pattern; the + and - are for manual shifting between any of the 8 forward ratios) and in the trailer towing section says:
Quote:
Operating your vehicle in D (Drive) when towing a trailer will minimize heat build up and extend the life of your transaxle.
That means letting it shift automatically, choosing whatever gear it finds appropriate.
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Old 11-21-2021, 12:08 AM   #14
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even with the 6 speed manual on my Tacoma 4.0L V6, I rarely used 6th when towing, instead I used 5th and kept the revs higher. long steep grades would require 4th and sometimes even 3rd

regardless of how the transmission is shifted for built, the highest gears have smaller pinions and are more subject to excess wear under heavy loads. and your engine is happier under a heavier load if you keep the RPMs somewhat higher (that was over 3000 RPM for that Taco V6, its over 2000 RPM for my 7.3L diesel).
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Old 11-21-2021, 02:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
even with the 6 speed manual on my Tacoma 4.0L V6, I rarely used 6th when towing, instead I used 5th and kept the revs higher. long steep grades would require 4th and sometimes even 3rd

... and your engine is happier under a heavier load if you keep the RPMs somewhat higher (that was over 3000 RPM for that Taco V6, its over 2000 RPM for my 7.3L diesel).
Of course use under heavier loads leads to lower gear ratio selections, and the automatic transmission controller will do that in "Drive". That doesn't mean that arbitrarily excluding any ratio taller than 1:1 makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
regardless of how the transmission is shifted for built, the highest gears have smaller pinions and are more subject to excess wear under heavy loads.
Pinions? Do you mean planet gears? No one is even capable of manually designing a modern automatic planetary-gear transmission, which uses gear sets in various combinations to achieve more overall ratios than gearsets. They're exercises in computer-based design and optimization; it takes the same software to determine the tooth loads on each gear, and gear widths are chosen to suit the loads. There's no good reason to believe that any particular ratio uses a stronger gear combination. Again, this isn't the 1980's. The transmission control computer won't kill the transmission by overloading it in an inappropriate gear combination.

I couldn't find internal details of the Hyundai/Kia transverse 8-speed transmission, but here are two variations of the Ford/GM 8-speed gear schematic, showing how it gets 8 forward ratios and one reverse out of four gearsets, two clutches, and four brakes (typically engaging two of the clutches or brakes at a time)... so, which gears have the most heavily loaded teeth? I can't tell.
Attached Thumbnails
FordGM8-speed-1.JPG   FordGM8-speed-2.JPG  
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Old 11-24-2021, 03:20 PM   #16
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I have a 2008 Lexus SUV (r400h), a 6-cylindrr hybrid with 3,500# towing capacity; prior owner used to tow a 2015 Escape 17B saying that it was 2,800# full and he had no trouble. I tow a 2011 17B and also do fine, but I only do short trips and less than 10 a year. Both of us have traveled solo; although not I completely as Murphy dog comes. My mechanic warned me not to travel more because car couldn't handle it. As a prior responder mentioned, there are more factors to consider than towing capacity. Besides, 2800 is just the trailer weight; car load and hitch need to be factored. For me, 3,500 is not enough for long term towing a 17B.
I wish you well on your family adventures.
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