The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe was a lot like the 2022 models and really didn't change when it came to the towing capacity specs, or anything else for that matter. You were still able to achieve a 3,500 pound maximum weight rating if you had the right engine equipped, along with trailer brakes and a standard brake system installed on your vehicle.
That amount could also be reduced to just over 1,600 pounds, if certain criteria were not met, so you do need to know what options you needed to have equipped on your vehicle, along with any other additional equipment, in order to achieve the highest rating possible for these model year SUVs.
Always read through your owner's manual yourself to get familiar with your vehicle and abide by all of Hyundai's requirements and recommendations when it comes to your vehicle.
2021 Santa Fe Overview
Overall Towing Capacity: The overall towing capacity for the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe's ranged from 1,653-3,500 lbs. and was primarily dependent upon what engine you had equipped in your vehicle and the type of braking system you had equipped on your trailer and/or the vehicle itself.
Engine Options: There were two different engines available for the 2021 models and these were the same two options that we saw for the 2022 models. Both of these engines were the 2.5 liter engines, but one of them was a turbo option and is what gave us that highest rating of 3,500 pounds.
Trim Levels: There were a total of five different trim level options for these model year SUVs, but the trim level you had equipped did not directly affect the maximum trailer weight ratings. It did indirectly affect them, however, because certain trim levels only had one engine option available, which was one of the main factors that contributed to the numbers in the chart.
Assumed Weight: I was not able to find any information regarding any assumed weight of a driver or any passengers in the vehicle, regarding the maximum trailer weight ratings that were listed in the chart.
The Tow Chart:
If we look at the chart below for the 2021 model year SUVs, we can see that there are three different trailer ratings listed, one rating without a brake system, another with an optional package brake system that was offered for these vehicles and a standard brake system.
Hyundai wasn't quite clear on the three different trailer weight ratings that were listed and the brake systems, but I do know that some of the trim levels had a standard brake system offered and other trim level options had an optional package that affected the brake system in some sort of way.
I assumed the "without brake system" capacity that was listed in the chart was for trailers that did not have brakes equipped. We can also see that the maximum tongue load weight ratings were also specified below the trailer weight ratings.
Tongue Load Weight Rating...
We already know that the maximum tongue load weight ratings were specified in the chart above and that would be for the maximum trailer weight ratings, which equated to about 10% of the highest ratings that we saw in the chart.
I was also able to find a percentage that Hyundai gives, in case you are well under that maximum rating and they specified a 10% tongue load weight rating, which would be 10% of the trailer's overall weight, including cargo.
For example, if your trailer and all of the cargo in your trailer weighed 1,000 pounds, then you'd want to shoot for a 100 pound target tongue load weight rating.
Trailer Brakes:In the chart above, the 1,653 lb. weight rating was listed for trailers that did not have their own braking system equipped, so that means if you are planning on pulling more than that amount of weight, you will have to have trailer brakes installed, in order to meet Hyundai's requirements.
On a side note, this is only Hyundai's requirements, your state or county may require trailer brakes for less than that amount and you will have to check to see what they require, as you will want to comply with your local laws as well.
The Different Trim Level Options:There were five different trim levels available for the 2021 models and these were listed in the spec sheet as the: SE, SEL, Limited and Calligraphy trim levels. I do want to point out that the Calligraphy trim level did have two different options under that trim level name, which gave us are five different trim level options in total.
In the spec sheet I have linked to at the bottom of this article, I was able to find the five different trim levels listed and their maximum tow capacity, both with trailer brakes and without.
As we can see, all of the trim levels had the same maximum trailer weight ratings, if your trailer did not have brakes equipped, which was set at 1,650 pounds, a little bit different than what they stated in the chart above but only by three pounds. There were different trailer weight ratings for braked trailers and when I study the data, it came down to the engine options that were available for the trim levels.
The SE and SEL trim levels only had the option of having the standard 2.5 liter engine as an option, but the limited and two Calligraphy trim levels had the 2.5 L turbo engine equipped, or at least they had the option to have that equipped, which resulted in a higher overall maximum trailer weight rating capacity.
How About The GVWR, GCWR and GAWR Figures...
GVWR & GAWRs: The gross vehicle weight rating and both gross axle weight ratings can be found listed on the certification label, which you can find if you open your driver side door and look on the door or the door pillar.
The image above shows what one of these safety certification labels looks like and it has all kinds of information posted on it, but it also has the gross vehicle weight rating and gross axle weight ratings listed at the top of the label.
GCWR: I was not able to find the gross combined weight rating anywhere in any of the literature online, so this was quite disappointing. If I do find any information on this figure, I will update this article as soon as possible.
Additional Notes Worth Mentioning:
As I kept digging into the owner's manual for more information, I was able to find a couple a different general notes that I thought were worth mentioning and they talk about using a sway control device with your trailer, and the break-in period for your vehicle, if it is new
There were also a couple of other bits of information that talk about driving speed when going up long uphill grades and cruising speeds, along with any tow kits or accessories that were available from the manufacturer.