Kia vs Hyundai

Kia vs Hyundai

On the surface, Kia and Hyundai look very similar. Both are South Korean manufacturers that partly own each other. (So, if this is a rivalry, it’s like a sibling rivalry.) Both primarily make sedans and SUVs. And both make incredibly reliable cars with unbeatable warranty coverage. But there are differences that set these automakers apart. And those differences are weighty ones. In this comparison guide, we’ll cover what makes a Kia the car to pick.

Kia Optima

Selection: Kia

Kia and Hyundai compete in many of the same vehicle classes: Forte versus Elantra. Sportage versus Tucson. Optima versus Sonata. But, just looking at the numbers, Kia has a leg-up in terms of model count. Kia offers 18 different vehicles to choose from, compared to Hyundai’s 13 models. Strong showings in the Kia lineup include minivans, sport utility vehicles, sedans, hybrids, EVs, and hatchbacks. Hyundai just announced the large Palisade crossover, coming in 2020. But Kia has moved to compete with the Palisade with their own large SUV: the 2020 Kia Telluride.

Styling: Kia

A subjective category, of course, but we prefer the Kia look. Sharper lines mean a bolder, sportier look for Kia cars and SUVs. Hyundai have flowing lines, which mean they’re slightly more aerodynamic but a little less exciting. Even Hyundai is having second thoughts, it seems, with their styling. For example, Hyundai has redesigned the 2019 Elantra to look more like the Kia Forte.

Kia Stinger

The best-looking Kia vehicle in the lineup is the 2019 Stinger. Long, lean, bold, aggressive. Functional side vents route air from the front to the fender vent down the side of the car. Meanwhile, the hood vents aren’t functional, but look awesome. Crisp lines and finely-sculpted sheet metal make the Stinger a beautiful machine, more than enough to compete with luxury sedans.

Infotainment: Tie

Though this category finds Kia and Hyundai in a virtual tie, we wanted to emphasize how wonderful these infotainment systems really are. Kia boasts the UVO infotainment system while Hyundai features Blue Link. Both are easy to interface, with physical buttons and knobs on most models. And both systems are wicked fast. There’s a little more emphasis in the UVO system on car functions over entertainment, but both benefit from smartphone integration.

Safety: Kia

Kia has made great strides in recent years to not only make more and more safety features available, but also make them affordable. Among their many safety features are cornering brake control and electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist system and hill start assist control, lower anchors and tethers for kids, tire pressure monitoring system, electronic stability control and traction control system, front and rear crumple zones, rollover mitigation and vehicle stability management system. Hyundai has a good retinue of active and passive safety features too, just not so many.

In the showdown of this sibling rivalry, Kia has the edge over Hyundai. Kia, at a blistering pace, has caught up, and surpassed, its closest competitor.