Blog Kia Versus Hyundai (Which Wins The Sibling Rivalry)

Kia Versus Hyundai (Which Wins The Sibling Rivalry)

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When considering Kia versus Hyundai, first note that both are Korean and technically have common ownership in South Korea. In the U.S., they also share a technical and design center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And while they share lots of bits, parts and engineering platforms between the two lineups, their products are sufficiently different to evaluate them separately. Kia vehicles tend to be priced a bit below those of Hyundai, though there are some exceptions, and they aim to have a bit more sporty designs. After evaluating and comparing the two lineups–2018 models, 2019 models and some 2020 models­–we reached some conclusions, based on test drives and probes of the interiors, about which models in the Hyundai and Kia showrooms are best when compared with one another. Both Kia.com and Hyundai.com are well-designed websites that make research and comparisons very easy for consumers.

Which brand has better performance?

Hyundai and Kia share engines. Kia’s “performance” car is the Stinger, and presents people a legitimate alternative to the Ford Mustang, though we like the Mustang styling better. The Hyundai “performance” model is the Veloster, the styling of which is polarizing. The Kia and Hyundai family of engines are spritely, fuel efficient and modern. Hyundai and Kia are tied on performance.

Which dealers provide better customer service, Kia or Hyundai?

Customer Service: Hyundai wins.

Which has better interiors, Hyundai or Kia?

Interiors: Kia wins.

Does Kia or Hyundai’s  lineup have better prices and values?

Kia offers one of the lowest price entry cars in the market. This will be important going forward because Ford, for example, seems to be mostly vacating the sub-$20,000 category as it phases out the Focus and Fiesta.

Because the companies generally have very good overall quality and reliability, their aggressive budget pricing means excellent values for their buyers. And both brands have captive finance companies that frequently offer good financing deals on top of good pricing deals for the vehicles. Price and Value: Kia and Hyundai tied.

Which is more reliable? Hyundai or Kia?

There are two kinds of reliability measured in the auto industry–short term (90 days) and longer term (three years). Both brands score very well, which make them not only good, solid new cars, but very good pre-owned and certified pre-owned vehicles.

Reliability: Hyundai wins.

Which brand has better safety ratings, Hyundai or Kia?

Because the two brands’ vehicles are developed in tandem, and usually off the same vehicle architectures and engineering platforms, crash safety ratings tend to shake out to be nearly equal. And Hyundai and Kia leadership have staked out safety as something they want to lead on over other Asian makes and Detroit.

Safety: Hyundai wins

Both Hyundai and Kia have small cars. Which are better?

All of the Kia and Hyundai small cars score very high for performance, design, features and handling. These vehicles are going to get greater consideration with Ford ceasing sales of its Fiesta and Focus models.

Small Cars: Kia is winner

Kia or Hyundai: Which has better Midsized Cars?

The Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima are a virtual tie in the Midsized sedan category. Both reflect excellent price/value. Both have similar safety features. And both make excellent use of quality materials–cloth and leather. The biggest differentiator here is that Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics is better than Kia’s UVO. Mid-Sized Sedans: Hyundai wins.

Which Has Better Large Sedans, Hyundai or Kia?

Hyundai no longer has a large sedan, having discontinued the Azera model.

Large Sedans: Kia wins.

Buying a Subcompact SUV: Hyundai vs. Kia

Subcompact SUV: Kia wins.

Which Has Better Compact SUVs, Hyundai or Kia?

Kia engineers and designers seem to be in competition against their Hyundai counterparts, if this popular category of SUV is any indication.

Compact SUVs: Kia wins

Which Has Better Midsize SUVs, Hyundai or Kia

The Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe are extremely close by comparison. The Santa Fe was redesigned for the 2019 model year.

Mid-size SUVs: Kia wins.

Kia vs. Hyundai: Hybrids and EVs

The good news for the green consumer is that Hyundai and Kia both have an aggressive strategy for providing consumers with electrified vehicles.

Hybrids and EVs: Kia Wins.


Hyundai vs. Kia is a difficult competition to call. The two companies, joint affiliated ownership in South Korea, share parts and engineering. But each brand also works hard to distinguish itself and differentiate from the other. Both companies excel at achieving reliability, and both can do better on safety. One brand does a bit better than the other when you compare Kia versus Hyundai. Overall Decision: Kia Wins.