If you’ve been paying attention to the various competitions among carmakers, you should know Kia and Hyundai run neck-to-neck. Not only that, but they’re both top contenders in more than one category. It’s hard to imagine these automakers were once considered mediocre at best. Now we’re seeing sites like Kelly Blue Book comparing the Hyundai Genesis G70 to the Infiniti Q50—with the Genesis G70 coming out on top. Notably, the G70 is smaller and competes with the BMW 3 Series. The Mercedes S class competes more with the K900.
Kia hasn’t given Hyundai too much breathing room.
In 2012, Kia introduced the K900 (the K9 in Korea and the Quoris in Canada) featuring 311 and 365 horsepower (hp) engines. In 2018, Kia’s second-generation K900 introduced an AWD model boasting a 419 hp 5.0-liter Tau GDi engine. Let us not forget to mention that every trim model was equipped with an eight-speed transmission. The 2020 K900 begins at approximately $61,000, while the 2020 Mercedes S class starts at $94,250. A huge price gap if there ever was one!
All large and small cars aside, each brand competes for affordable luxury. But who comes out on top?
Comparing Kia and Hyundai’s compact SUVs
Kia and Hyundai manufacture decent entry-level to mid-level vehicles as well. While using its luxury line to boost its image, Kia is remolding the compact SUV segment. At the top of the list, we have the Kia Telluride, its latest SUV model. The 2021 Telluride is marketed as a deluxe family SUV built for rough environments while maintaining comfort, capability, and luxury. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for a base model runs $31,000, with the pricier SX all-wheel-drive (AWD) model costing $44,000.
On the other side of the spectrum, the Hyundai Venue is a compact SUV under $20,000 that doesn’t look cheap. The base trim is priced under $18,000 but surprises drivers with numerous standard features found in more expensive compact SUVs. The top SEL trim only costs $22,000, which gets you 17-inch alloy wheels, heated seats, blind-spot monitoring, etc. The Venue Denim Edition also costs $22,000, featuring two-tone blue and white paint with a blue-themed interior.
Fast and stylish sports sedans by Kia and Hyundai
In 2017, Kia unveiled its five-door liftback Kia Stinger sports sedan at the North American International Auto Show. Kia hired former BMW M Vice President of Engineering Albert Biermann to engineer it and German automobile designer Peter Schreyer to design it. Of course, Kia’s Chief Designer Gregory Guillaume was at the helm.
The Kia Stinger offers two engine options: a 252 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine and a 365 hp twin-turbo V6 engine. According to Kia, the Stinger accelerates from zero to 60 in between 7.7 and 4.9 seconds. Car and Driver backed up these claims during a test drive of a GT 3.3T AWD. Using Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, the test driver achieved zero to 60 in only 4.6 seconds. Other test drives using different tire brands only earned around 6.6.
Hyundai hasn’t yet produced a sports sedan that is an equal competitor. However, the new 2021 Hyundai Elantra underwent a clean-sheet redesign. Hyundai is becoming increasingly associated with innovating bold automotive designs. The 2021 Elantra exemplifies this spirited approach with its angular exterior details and upscale cabin. It’s taking some of the spotlights away from heavy hitters like the Nissan Sentra, Toyota Corolla, and Honda Civic. On top of that, Nissan announced that it would add a hybrid Sentra soon.
Between Kia and Hyundai, it’s clear who would pick one over the other.
The notable 2021 Kia Seltos
Kia features eight new vehicles in its 2021 line up. The Seltos is a sporty subcompact SUV crossover that debuts this fall for the 2021 model year. It resembles some of the Telluride’s styling while etching out a unique niche of its own with a few aesthetic innovations. Car.com referred to the Seltos as a “tweener,” meaning it’s between the compact Sportage SUV and Soul hatchback.
Some people might compare it to the Hyundai Kona, but they’re on totally different platforms. Despite its small size, its smart design allows it to compete with larger subcompacts like the Nissan Rogue Sport and Mazda CX-30. The 2021 Seltos’ 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 146 hp with a two-speed continuously variable automatic transmission (CVAT). For $23,150, you can get into a Kia Seltos S with added features.
Overall, when comparing both brands, Kia seems to be slightly ahead of Hyundai. With a fresh new 2021 line of vehicles coming out and promises of new models in the future, Kia is a brand to watch. Whether you want high-end luxury or high-quality at an affordable price, Kia offers something for everyone. After all, Kia is creating a buzz with the Telluride and the upcoming Sorento.