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There is no doubt Kia and Hyundai have a lot in common. Both popular car brands are based in South Korea and are known for producing reliable vehicles.
Yet they each have something different to offer the driving public. With unique lineups and designs, Kia and Hyundai are worthy competitors in the automobile industry.
While Hyundai is often associated with sleeker, luxury designs, Kia's vehicles have a younger, more sporty vibe. Which brand is better is mostly a matter of taste and style preferences, but there are distinguishing differences that may raise one above the other.
How are Kia and Hyundai similar?
Hyundai and Kia are often mistaken as being the same company. It is true Hyundai stepped in to acquire approximately one-third of Kia's shares when the company was having financial problems.
Despite that, the automakers remain distinctively unique, running independent engineering, design, and marketing departments.
Both automakers produce cars with mechanical similarities and both offer a full line of reliable vehicles. Midsize SUV models like the Hyundai Palisade and the Kia Telluride share much in common.
The near-luxury vehicles are almost equally priced with only subtle differences in overall design, space, and performance. Many of their other models are comparably alike. Yet Hyundai and Kia are easily distinguishable by the brand's design signature.
Hyundai's models have more refined curves and lines meant to present a bolder and more luxurious look. Kia sticks to its sporty, easygoing style intended to attract younger buyers.
How are Hyundai and Kia different?
Hyundai is the quieter, more comfortable counterpart to Kia. The automaker's latest models are known for quality reliability and top-of-the-line safety scores. The brand was recently recognized as one of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's "Top Safety Picks".
Like its corporate rival Hyundai, Kia also continues to get great scores for overall performance and safety. The company may have gotten off to a bad start, but it has since earned its place among respectable automobile brands.
Kia is the leader of the pack in producing a more diverse range of car models than Hyundai. As far as performance, Hyundai vehicles consistently rank ahead of Kia. On the other hand, the newest version of the Kia Stinger might give Hyundai some stiff competition.
Which is the better brand?
Comparing Kia and Hyundai is a matter of looking at details. Since both brands offer a stellar selection of SUVs, sedans, electric vehicles, and hybrids, the individual rankings of different models are key.
The Hyundai Elantra, a brand staple for decades, is still ranked as one of the brand's most reliable small cars. The modern sedan recently upgraded its engine and gets great scores for fuel economy and affordability. The Hyundai Sonata hybrid, the Santa Fe, and the Kona are not far behind.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the 2021 Kia Forte ranks third in compact cars with only the Honda Civic and the Mazda3 beating it. The 2021 Kia Rio was awarded the number one spot for subcompact sedans. Overall model scores and rankings place Kia above Hyundai in most categories.
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