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It’s Clear Who Should Buy a Honda and Who Should Buy a Hyundai

Toyota and Honda may historically be the biggest rivals from Japan, but Honda has a new competitor on the block. Hyundai is a Korean automaker that makes some of the best cars on the road. Here’s a look at which automaker is better.

What Honda does better 

As U.S. News wrote, Honda does a lot of things better than Hyundai does. U.S. News said that the Japanese automaker’s cars generally have better performance figures and better interiors than Hyundai models do. This isn’t especially surprising since, while these vehicles tend to be very safe and comfortable to drive, Honda isn’t afraid to put some oomph in a few of its cars.

Furthermore, Honda also has a more diverse lineup of cars. This is because while both automakers make great sedans and SUVs, Honda has the Odyssey, which is a minivan, and the Ridgeline, which is a pickup truck. Hyundai currently doesn’t offer a minivan or a pickup truck, though Hyundai will soon offer the Santa Cruz, which is a truck. 

Honda also beats Hyundai in a handful of segments. U.S. News said that Honda makes the better small and midsize cars, the better compact SUVs, and the better hybrid and electric cars. That said, while Honda won out in many categories, Hyundai actually won in a few surprising areas.

What Hyundai does better

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Honda, like its rival Toyota, is well known for making safe and reliable cars. But, in a total upset, U.S. News said that Hyundai actually beats Honda in terms of safety and reliability. To be clear, U.S. News said that Hyundai barely beat Honda when it comes to safety, and in terms of reliability, the difference wasn’t that massive either. Still, it’s surprising that Hyundai managed to beat its Japanese rival on the things that people know Honda for.

Furthermore, Hyundai wins in price. As U.S. News said, Hyundai’s cars are cheaper than its competitors in all but two segments. The differences between the two aren’t massive, but they are significant. For example, the Hyundai Accent starts at about $15,000, while its competitor, the Fit, starts at $16,000. That $1,000 difference may be significant for some buyers, but it may also be insignificant for others.

In terms of segments, however, Hyundai also wins a few segments. U.S. News said that Hyundai makes the better subcompact SUVs, the better midsize SUVs, and the better hybrid and electric SUVs.

Who should buy which

Although U.S. News ultimately gave the win to Honda, based on which automaker won which category, it’s clear who should buy what. For example, since Honda swept the sedan segments, if you’re looking for a sedan of any kind, a vehicle such as a Civic or an Accord, is clearly the best bet for you.

However, things get a bit more complicated for SUVs. Basically, if you want a CR-V, then get a CR-V. If you want an SUV that’s smaller or bigger than a CR-V though, Hyundai’s your best bet. For instance, the Hyundai Palisade is in the midsize SUV segment, and its rival midsize SUV offering, the Passport, just doesn’t stand a chance. This is a similar story if you’re shopping for a hybrid or electric SUV, as Hyundai won that segment too.

But of course, if you need a truck or a minivan, then it’s not even a contest. Hyundai currently doesn’t offer either of those types of cars, while Honda does. That said, Hyundai’s Santa Cruz does seem like a pretty decent truck on paper, and it has a lot of similarities with the Ridgeline. The Santa Cruz will debut in 2021, so until then, minivan and truck lovers may have to settle with Honda.