Towing with 2016 Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage


Hi John,

Thank you so much for your informative and entertaining reviews and videos.

I have been looking at the 2016 Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage diesels recently, and slightly prefer the Kia, just because it is a bit “different” to mainstream.

I will be doing some towing, and the tow-ball load in the Kia is a bit of a disappointment. I was all excited for a while seeing it at 1900kg, then seeing the tow-ball load at 100kg made me a bit sad.

Is there a way around this? Are they going to supply a tow pack to beef it up to say the load that the Tucson has? Can the Tucson’s be fitted to the Kia? And why are they so different, being sister cars under the skin?

Also John, do you think that one of these cars is better than the other?

Thank you,

2016 Hyundai Tucson Images

2016 Kia Sportage Images


Dave I think you need to re-check the specs because the absolute towing load limit is 1600kg in both vehicles, not 1900.

Australians are mentally retarded when it comes to towing, generally, and especially in respect of towball downloads. In the rest of the world, a five per cent ball download works just fine, but we dumb old Aussies need 10, apparently. There’s no evidence I’ve seen that 10 per cent is some magic number for towing safely. Five per cent download is fine for dynamic stability.

Hyundai specifies 1600kg as the maximum tow capacity for the Tucson in both 2WD and AWD variants - but the 2WD is limited to 120kg of ball download (7.5%) while AWD Tucsons get 140kg (8.75%). This seems pretty reasonable to me. There's no mention of a Tucson towball load assist kit on the Hyundai website (although one is offered on Santa Fe - see below).

Kia offers 1600kg maximum tow capacity on the Si and SLi Sportage, and 1500kg on the Platinum - and the reduction on Platinum is most likely a tyre-based limitation. (Obviously it's easier to engineer a 55-series tyre, as on the SLi, to carry more load than a 45-series tyre, as on the Platinum.) Maximum static towball download across the board for Sportage is 100kg (6.25%), which in my view is also adequate for dynamic stability. There's no mention of a load assist kit for Sportage in the Kia genuine accessories pages.

Final states of suspension tune and tyre specification is left up to Kia and Hyundai - and for different reasons they've chosen different limits respectively. Also, swapping components from a Kia to a Hyundai may not be advisable - there's no guarantee of compatibility, and also it could void your warranty or make the vehicle dangerous or unserviceable.

More in my report on load limits for towing >>
Plus: Towing with Hyundai Santa Fe >>

The obvious way around this is reposition the movable load in the trailer or extend the drawbar (or make other geometric alterations to the trailer) to modify the fully loaded static ball download.

The 2016 Hyundai Tucson >> and Kia Sportage are fundamentally identical. (There's a slight difference in some powertrain variants, styling and manufacturing locations.)

If considering buying the 2016 Kia Sportage, perhaps you should wait until the ANCAP crash test results are in, to avoid the possibility of a four-star fiasco. This result must be imminent.

You could also consider buying a 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe >> and fit the Genuine Load Assist Kit (new rear springs) that ups the ball load to 150kg. (There is no equivalent Kia kit for the Sorento, unfortunately.) One could speculate about why Kia does not do this: They used to on the previous Sorento. Dropping it in this one is likely to be either a matter of too many warranty claims from vehicles using it, or a general lack of interest in buying the kit. If I had to bet on it, I'd back the former as the most likely explanation.

When you decide what vehicle you ultimately want, you can always contact me here >> We get great discounts on all of these vehicles and it is a quick, painless and obligation-free way to acquire any new vehicle.

You can read what customers say about the process on my testimonials page >>