How To Put A Kia Sorento In 4WD Or AWD

KIA Sorento is a delight to drive, comfortable to ride in, and has powertrain choices. To drive off the road or on rough terrain, you need to engage your Sorento on AWD or 4WD. To know how this mechanism works, we have researched for you to provide the answers below.

Better control of your vehicle when driving on a slope, muddy, wet, or slippery road is made possible by adding traction using one of the following systems, depending on the one available in your KIA Sorento:

  • Auto-Mode AWD - You have to press the auto-mode button on your steering wheel.
  • Automatic engagement on full-time AWD - Your car will automatically adjust to this mode.
  • 4WD - No action is necessary to activate this mode unless you have a part-time 4WD where you need to shift either a lever or a switch to 4x4.

Keep reading to know how to use the AWD or 4WD system in your KIA Sorento. We'll also delve into the pros and cons, and tips on how to properly handle your car with these systems. 

Kia New Sorento car is running on the mountain road in test drive, How To Put A Kia Sorento In 4WD Or AWD

How Do You Put Your KIA Sorento In AWD Drive?

Kia Sorento car is running on the mountain road in test drive

The AWD system transfers the torque power to both the front and rear axles of a car. There are two types of AWD in a KIA Sorento. Let’s explore each below:

Auto-Mode AWD

When your car is on auto-mode, power is sent out evenly to all four wheels. When you press the auto-mode button that is on your steering wheel, your car will distribute the torque to all 4 wheels to suit the various conditions on the road. 

That means you can press the auto-mode whenever the road conditions change. For example, when it starts raining or snowing, you can quickly press this button to give you better traction to help you drive through a slippery or icy road.

Also, if you are moving up a slope or have to make a turn, putting your car on auto-mode will give you traction to maneuver through. 

The video below explains how the auto-mode engages your KIA Sorento on AWD for safe driving:

Automatic Engagement On Full-time AWD

In this type of AWD, your car will automatically sense when the tires are slipping due to a wet road and send power to the rear axle and the attached wheels to improve traction. 

This system is suitable for driving on normal roads. It adjusts automatically when you go off-road and assists the driver to have maximum control of the vehicle, thus ensuring a smooth ride.

This is an intelligent system that constantly checks on the traction of all four wheels and sends out power to the wheels that seem to be losing it.

This system will help you save on fuel because it uses the AWD when required and not all the time.

Below is a video that explains how the latest AWD technology works on your KIA Sorento:

What Happens When Your Automatic Engagement AWD System Fails?

Your KIA Sorento is fitted with a system that indicates when there is a problem with the AWD system. It will alert you by lighting up some warning messages that will appear on your dashboard.

Therefore an AWD Off or Check AWD will show up to alert you there is a problem, and you need to take action.

If it says you need to check the system, it means there is a problem, and the car needs to be examined to find out what the real problem is. If it indicates it has shut, you cannot drive your car on AWD. It will remain this way until it is serviced to solve the problem.

It’s important to note, however, that the AWD can also shut off if the tires on the axle are of different diameters or air pressure. To revert to AWD, your mechanic will have to address these issues.

How To Put Your KIA Sorento On 4WD

Kia New Sorento car

Your Kia Sorento will be on 2WD mode when driving on a smooth road such as the pavement or tarmac.

However, if you have to drive on a surface that requires more traction such as on a muddy, slippery, or wet road, changing to 4WD will be necessary. The engine distributes the torque to the front and rear wheels to give you better control of your vehicle.

But, once you go back to the normal roads, it is best to revert to 2WD.

For a part-time 4WD, all you need to do is to transition between the 2WD and 4WD on your Kia Sorento. While driving, you can do so by shifting your car's lever or switch, depending on what your car is equipped with.

What To Expect From An AWD or 4WD

KIA Sorento compact SUV on display during the 2015 Brussels motor show

These two systems are quite similar, but they have their good sides and downsides. Whereas the AWD and the 4WD system help one to drive in tough road conditions, let us get a full view of what you'll get from this system:

Advantages Of AWD And 4WD

The benefits of engaging your KIA Sorento to AWD or 4WD include:

Excellent Traction On Difficult Road Conditions

When the road becomes difficult to drive through because of rocks or rough terrain, the AWD or 4WD system in your KIA Sorento changes the scenario, making it much easier to control the vehicle. 

Reduces Spin When Your Car Engages A Corner

This mechanism especially comes in handy when you suddenly find yourself at a corner that you have not anticipated or seen, thus your car will not spin.

Disadvantages Of AWD And 4WD

The following are the drawbacks of these two systems:


You can get a false sense of safety. Despite the traction that the wheels in your car receive, do not overestimate the danger you expose yourself to as you drive through difficult road conditions.

For example, your car will accelerate through a slippery road, but you could end up driving too fast. Also, you could end up spinning out of control in winter. 

What this means is that you need to slow down, even though your car can handle the challenging conditions on the road brought about by adverse weather conditions.

Increased Costs

The purchase and maintenance costs increase when the car is fitted with either the 4WD or AWD system.

With technological advancement, some AWD systems are fitted with driveshaft software, at least one extra differential, several clutches, and much more. These extra additions to a car during the manufacturing process to incorporate the AWD system add to the costs.

Besides, the complexity of the AWD systems comes with additional repair and maintenance costs. 

Higher Fuel Consumption

It is inevitable that for your car to function at its optimum under these systems, extra fuel is needed. The consumption will be higher than a 2WD.

Increased Braking Distance

As mentioned above, with the extra weight added, it takes longer to brake before coming to a stop. Hence, the distance covered before a complete stop becomes longer with a heavier car. That is why it is easier to prevent a collision with a lighter car than a heavier one.  

Tips On How To Take Care Of Your AWD KIA Sorento

 Kia New Sorento car is running on the mountain road

While your AWD KIA Sorento will provide traction to the tires by enabling your vehicle to move on slippery or rough roads, you can take extra caution by taking note of the following:

Type of Tires

Tires play an important role in the proper functioning of the AWD system of your car. For example, if you live in an area that receives a considerable amount of snow and ice, you will need to replace the all-season tires with winter tires. These tires improve the overall working of the AWD system in your car.  

Correct Fluid Levels

For the AWD system to work optimally, it needs the correct fluid levels. When the fuel levels are low, the system transmission can lead to challenges in other parts of the car such as the gears. For example, they become difficult to change. 

Correct Size Of Tires

For the AWD system to work properly, the manufacturers recommend that you strictly adhere to the correct size of tires for your KIA Sorento. 

As discussed earlier seen in this post, the wrong size of tires, like the wrong diameter can interfere with the proper functioning of the AWD system.

Lower The Use Of Fuel

Cars with an AWD system consume a lot of fuel. Also, as seen with the automatic AWD engagement, you can save on fuel because you only get to use the system when needed. 

However, you can also observe general guidelines on how to handle your car to reduce the consumption of fuel. For instance, you can drive only when you have to, adjusting to cruise control while on the highway and replacing the air filters often. 

In Closing

Kia New Sorento car is running on the mountain road in test drive

The AWD or 4WD system provides utmost control and safety on your KIA Sorento. Driving becomes enjoyable because you can drive off-road whenever you need to.

The AWD system comes in auto-mode where at the press of a button, the torque is distributed evenly to all the wheels providing better traction on the road. It can also be automatically engaged to send power to the tires when needed. 

Technological advancement today has allowed the AWD system to alert your car early enough of the oncoming adverse road conditions and adjust accordingly. 

If you're interested to learn more about Kia cars, check out these posts:  

Does Kia Soul Come In AWD? (Or 4WD)

 Where Are Kia Cars Made?

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