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The Difference Between Hyundai and Kia

The difference between Hyundai and Kia isn’t vast; however, some characteristics distinguish the two brands.

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Hyundai and Kia have been on a roll lately. They have consistently dropped quality products at an excellent price point, and have quickly become cars I recommend. Many ask what the difference is between Hyundai and Kia as they seem to be the same cars rebadged, but that is not entirely true.

Hyundai and Kia Simalarities

Without going into the complete history of Hyundai and Kia, Hyundai bought out Kia in 1998 with a 51% stake in the company. Hyundai now owns about a third of ownership in Kia currently. The two companies are mostly sister companies and often share platforms for vehicles. Understandably, many people think Hyundai’s and Kia’s are the same.

I’ve reviewed many products from the Hyundai Kia group, and if we look at the 2020 Hyundai Elantra and the 2020 Kia Forte, we see many mechanical similarities. Both use a strut-based suspension in the front with a torsion beam rear suspension. The two vehicles use the same 2.0l port-injected four-cylinder engine with a chain-driven CVT transmission. Another attribute the two cars share is similar proportions, interior space, trunk space, etc.

Hyundai and Kia Differences

So, what’s the difference? It comes down to the tuning. Hyundai’s are typically tuned to be the quieter and comfortable counterpart to Kia. Kia’s are optimized to be the sportier and “youthful” alternative to Hyundai. Kia’s are typically priced less than Hyundai, which tries to be a bit more upmarket and “luxurious.”

When you drive the new Kia Forte, you notice the electric power steering is tuned to react faster and rides slightly stiffer than the Elantra. The preference is up to you, but I found that both are calibrated perfectly to be satisfactory on public roads. Both companies know how to make a car that is reasonably comfortable and fun to drive in its unique way.

Hyundai and Kia Conclusions

Despite the similarities, the two companies operate separately. I don’t think we the consumers need to care about the logistics on the back end as long as we continue to get quality products. Hyundai-Kia’s strategies have helped transform the companies; it has effectively done a 180 from the past products that got produced.

Now you have the answer to the age-old question answered by an automotive reviewer. My advice is to test drive both counterparts and see which vehicle resonates with you the most. It might be hard, however, since both are so good.

Kevin Meyn is an automotive journalist for Torque News concentrating on Hyundai content. Kevin is the founder of Exhaust Sports Auto Youtube channel, where he does professional car reviews on new and used vehicles. Through the use of various resources and extended Automotive expertise, Kevin documents the latest in automotive news revolving around Hyundai. Kevin graduated from NC State University studying Supply Chain Management but has had a passion for cars since he was a child. Follow Kevin on Twitter and Instagram @exhaustsports.

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