Kia vs. Hyundai: Differences and Similarities between Sister Brands

Kia vs. Hyundai: Differences and Similarities between Sister Brands

South Korean automaker mainstays Kia Corporation and Hyundai Motor Company both come from humble beginnings.

Kim Cheol-Ho, the founder of Kia, started with a business making nuts and bolts for bicycles. In 1944, he founded Kia to manufacture bicycle parts, and from there, things snowballed. Kia went on to manufacture entire bikes, then motorcycles and small trucks, and eventually compact cars in 1973. Shortly after entering the US market in 1994, Kia had to declare bankruptcy. Enter Hyundai, which came to the rescue by purchasing one-third of the company.

Chung Ju-Yung, the founder of Hyundai, was expected to take over his family farm but was determined not to. A talented man with unwavering passion, he nevertheless faced many challenges before opening an auto repair shop. Known for its quick and efficient work, the shop quickly grew and evolved into Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company in 1947 and eventually Hyundai Motor Company in 1967. They entered the US market in 1986.

Today, both motor companies are household names around the globe whose vehicles excel in both reliability and quality. While their lineups may seem the same at first glance, their vehicles come equipped with notable differences that set them apart.

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What do Kia and Hyundai have in common?

With motor companies like Honda owning Acura and Toyota owning Lexus, nobody would blame you if you thought it was the same with Kia and Hyundai. Technically, Hyundai is a parent company of Kia in that it owns one-third of the auto manufacturer. However, aside from sharing powertrains, platforms, and other parts, they are two independent companies.

Both Kia and Honda offer a full line of vehicles, save for pickups and sports cars. They offer their customers some of the most extended warranties with a limited powertrain warranty of up to 10 years or 100,000 miles. Kia and Hyundai also offer a vehicle for almost everyone, with multiple choices in cars and SUVs with variety in their trim levels.

What’s the difference between Kia and Hyundai?

Kia designs its vehicles with a sporty aesthetic, while Hyundai offers a more luxurious and flowing design. Reaching a broader target market with a slightly more diverse selection of vehicles, Kia’s lineup includes a minivan, the Sedona. Meanwhile, Hyundai offers a luxury line of cars under the name Genesis.

You can get into a Hyundai car for slightly less than a Kia by way of two of their smallest cars: the Accent, whose base price starts at $15,395, and the Rio, starting at $16,050. However, when it comes to SUVs, the Kia Soul is slightly less at $17,590 than the Hyundai Venue at $18,750, which made its US debut in 2019.

Lightweight champions: the Kia Rio vs. the Hyundai Accent

The Kia Rio

The Kia Rio

Available in two trim levels, the Kia Rio is a subcompact car powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine. It’s the smallest vehicle that Kia offers, but its spacious interior and comfortable seating offer you a relaxing driving experience. The Rio comes standard with an eight-inch touch-screen display and rearview monitor that acts as a second set of eyes while the car is in reverse.

With a fuel efficiency of 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, you won’t need to worry about making many pit stops. If you want to get into a Rio for less cash, you can pick up a used model, with listings as low as $8,950.

Until recently, the Rio was available as a hatchback, but now that Kia discontinued the hatchback in the US, it’s on a more level playing field with the Hyundai Accent.

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The Kia Rio

Available in two trim levels, the Kia Rio is a subcompact car powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine. It’s the smallest vehicle that Kia offers, but its spacious interior and comfortable seating offer you a relaxing driving experience. The Rio comes standard with an eight-inch touch-screen display and rearview monitor that acts as a second set of eyes while the car is in reverse.

With a fuel efficiency of 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, you won’t need to worry about making many pit stops. If you want to get into a Rio for less cash, you can pick up a used model, with listings as low as $8,950.

Until recently, the Rio was available as a hatchback, but now that Kia discontinued the hatchback in the US, it’s on a more level playing field with the Hyundai Accent.

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The Accent

The Accent

Offered in three trim levels, the Accent is Hyundai’s subcompact car. It provides the same spaciousness for the driver, passenger, and cargo as the Rio, with almost identical dimensions. Under the hood is a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that achieves the same fuel efficiency of 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

While it likely isn’t a deal-breaker, it’s worth noting the Accent comes standard with a touch-screen display that, at five inches, is three inches smaller than the Rio and bumps up to seven inches in the higher trim model. But it’s still quality tech, just the same. Also, like the Rio, you can save when buying a used Accent, some of which go for $9,950.

Both the Rio and the Accent are quality, reliable cars. Choosing which one is right for you will likely come down to the finer details. Do you like the sporty look of the Kia or the luxurious look of the Hyundai?

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The Accent

Offered in three trim levels, the Accent is Hyundai’s subcompact car. It provides the same spaciousness for the driver, passenger, and cargo as the Rio, with almost identical dimensions. Under the hood is a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that achieves the same fuel efficiency of 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

While it likely isn’t a deal-breaker, it’s worth noting the Accent comes standard with a touch-screen display that, at five inches, is three inches smaller than the Rio and bumps up to seven inches in the higher trim model. But it’s still quality tech, just the same. Also, like the Rio, you can save when buying a used Accent, some of which go for $9,950.

Both the Rio and the Accent are quality, reliable cars. Choosing which one is right for you will likely come down to the finer details. Do you like the sporty look of the Kia or the luxurious look of the Hyundai?

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Heavier-weight champions - the Kia Sportage vs. The Hyundai Tucson

The Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage

Like its name suggests, the Kia Sportage is a much sportier-looking option compared to the Hyundai Tucson. Available in four trim levels, this midsize SUV comes standard with the same eight-inch display as the Rio, and unlike its smaller sibling, a standard list of driver-assist features.

The Sportage features a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes for a fuel efficiency of 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. New base model Sportages start at $24,000, but with used models listed at $16,000, you’re likely to find a more loaded version within your budget.

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The Kia Sportage

Like its name suggests, the Kia Sportage is a much sportier-looking option compared to the Hyundai Tucson. Available in four trim levels, this midsize SUV comes standard with the same eight-inch display as the Rio, and unlike its smaller sibling, a standard list of driver-assist features.

The Sportage features a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that makes for a fuel efficiency of 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. New base model Sportages start at $24,000, but with used models listed at $16,000, you’re likely to find a more loaded version within your budget.

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The Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson appears more sophisticated than the Sportage. Available in three trim levels, this midsize SUV also comes standard with an eight-inch display, moving up to 10 inches in the second and third trim levels. The Tucson's screen size outsizes the Sportage's by a couple inches, but the tech is of equal quality in both. You can travel at ease knowing the Tucson, like the Sportage, also comes standard with a list of driver-assist features.

The Tucson offers slightly more cargo space than the Sportage, with a maximum cargo space of 80 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, while the Sportage maxes out at 60 cubic feet. It also achieves a slightly better fuel efficiency of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. While it may seem like the better option of the two, the price of a new Tucson is higher, with a starting MSRP of $24,950. If you'd prefer to spend less on a more loaded used model, some go for just under $12,000.

How will you choose between the two? Are you a fan of the Sportage's sporty look? Or do you prefer the extra cargo space of the Tucson?

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The Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson appears more sophisticated than the Sportage. Available in three trim levels, this midsize SUV also comes standard with an eight-inch display, moving up to 10 inches in the second and third trim levels. The Tucson's screen size outsizes the Sportage's by a couple inches, but the tech is of equal quality in both. You can travel at ease knowing the Tucson, like the Sportage, also comes standard with a list of driver-assist features.

The Tucson offers slightly more cargo space than the Sportage, with a maximum cargo space of 80 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, while the Sportage maxes out at 60 cubic feet. It also achieves a slightly better fuel efficiency of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. While it may seem like the better option of the two, the price of a new Tucson is higher, with a starting MSRP of $24,950. If you'd prefer to spend less on a more loaded used model, some go for just under $12,000.

How will you choose between the two? Are you a fan of the Sportage's sporty look? Or do you prefer the extra cargo space of the Tucson?

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Kia vs. Hyundai, which is better?

Choosing between Kia and Hyundai ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both offer an extensive line of vehicles, with a choice of trim level and packages that tailor them to the driver.

If you came here for the SUVs, you may be interested in seeing how the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson compare to other SUVs in their class or perhaps explore some of the best electric SUVs. Whichever make and model you decide is the one, Shift’s certified mechanics perform an extensive 150-point inspection on every auto in their inventory. They also offer complete history reports, so you can get to know your vehicle ahead of time and know it feels as good as new. 

Now, that’s an excellent choice.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team