Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento to Tow My Boat?


I'm looking at buying a Hyundai Santa Fe Elite Or Kia Sorento SLi with heavy duty tow bar & tow assist kit (need to tow a 1600kg boat) and carpet mats. Would appreciate any help in deciding which would be the best car for me - Jo

Images (at right): Top - Hyundai Santa Fe. Bottom - Kia Sorento.
(Click to enlarge.)

Discussion about Kia Sorento -V- Hyundai Santa Fe generally >>


Jo, only the Santa Fe is available with the Load Assist Kit. The Sorento has no equivalent accessory, and its maximum towball download is 100kg. (The Santa Fe without the Load Assist Kit is also 100kg, but adding the kit increases that to 150kg.) This is an important consideration for your 1600kg boat, and could easily be the deciding factor in your vehicle choice here - I'd suggest the Hyundai Santa Fe is objectively superior here, for your application. 

FYI, Kia offered a similar load assist kit on the previous Sorento, but they elected to drop it on this model. I suspect this will cost them some sales.

The two critical specifications you need to know for towing are the vehicle manufacturer's maximum tow capacity, and the maximum towball download limit. You need to ensure that the boat plus the trailer plus the load don't exceed either of these specs.

You can measure both weights imposed by your boat at a public weighbridge, or if you only need to know the trailer's towball download you can take it to a specialist tow place (like a Hayman-Reese retailer) and they'll probably have a scale you can measure it on. It should be possible to tweak the setup on your boat/trailer to get the load under 150kg. (But make sure it is before buying the vehicle.)


I was just speaking to my partner and he said that the boat, motor & trailer is 1618kg manufacturer's specs,  fully laden with petrol and gear let' say it gets to 1800kg will the Santa Fe still be OK?  The trailer is dual axle.

I have spoken to your brokerage team and he is in the process of getting quotes for me. - Jo

Ask me how the brokerage team can save you thousands on a new vehicle >>


Santa Fe has a maximum tow capacity of 2000kg (auto models - it's 2500kg on manuals) so you are likely to be operating it 20 per cent below that, which is more than comfortable. You still definitely need to confirm the towball download, however, because you should not operate the vehicle in excess of that specification.

I would definitely get the Hyundai Genuine Load Assist Kit fitted, which ups the towball download limit to 150kg, as discussed, and I would ensure the boat is loaded onto the trailer to deliver no more than that download on the towball, using a weighbridge, or the scales at a specialist tow place to confirm.

Subject to meeting those conditions, I think the Santa Fe will be fine towing the boat, and you will have the peace of mind knowing it conforms to all required rules and regs. This way, you'll have no warranty or insurance compliance issues.