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For those who don’t know, Hyundai owns Kia, which it bought in 1998. Car models from the two South Korean automotive brands share many of the same characteristics. In fact, there are mechanically-similar models that share the same platform, such as the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson compact crossover SUVs. Also, many models from both brands are very affordable. However, what’s cheaper: Hyundai or Kia cars?

Hyundai and Kia have the greatest number of affordable cars sold in the US

Front angle view of red 2023 Hyundai Tucson, showing which car brand is cheaper: Hyundai or Kia?
2023 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai

Kia and Hyundai offer some of the most affordable models available. For the 2023 model year, five of the 10 cheapest models sold in America are either Kia or Hyundai vehicles. This includes the 2023 Kia Rio subcompact sedan (3), 2023 Kia Forte compact sedan (4), 2023 Hyundai Venue subcompact crossover SUV (5), 2023 Kia Soul subcompact crossover SUV (6), and 2023 Hyundai Elantra compact sedan (10).

Here are the 10 most affordable new cars sold in the United States:

  1. 2023 Nissan Versa: $15,730 MSRP
  2. 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage: $16,245 MSRP
  3. 2023 Kia Rio: $16,550 MSRP
  4. 2023 Kia Forte: $19,490 MSRP
  5. 2023 Hyundai Venue: $19,500 MSRP
  6. 2023 Kia Soul: $19,790 MSRP
  7. 2023 Subaru Impreza: $19,795 MSRP
  8. 2023 Nissan Sentra: TBD (2022 Sentra: $19,950 MSRP)
  9. 2023 Nissan Kicks: $20,290 MSRP
  10. 2023 Hyundai Elantra: $20,500 MSRP

Price comparison between Hyundai and Kia: Which brand has the most affordable models?

Front angle view of green 2023 Kia Sportage, showing which car brand is cheaper: Hyundai or Kia?

To gain a better understanding of which South Korean automotive brand offers cheaper cars, we did a side-by-side price comparison. Here are the 10 cheapest Hyundai and Kia models sold in America:

Kia Hyundai
1. 2023 Kia Rio: $16,550 MSRP1. 2023 Hyundai Venue: $19,500 MSRP
2. 2023 Kia Rio 5-Door: $17,490 MSRP2. 2023 Hyundai Elantra: $20,500 MSRP
3. 2023 Kia Forte: $19,490 MSRP3. 2023 Hyundai Kona: $21,990 MSRP
4. 2023 Kia Soul: $19,790 MSRP4. 2023 Hyundai Elantra Hybrid: $24,400 MSRP
5. 2023 Kia Seltos: $22,840 MSRP5. 2023 Hyundai Sonata: $24,950 MSRP
6. 2023 Kia K5: $25,090 MSRP6. 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz: $25,450 MSRP
7. 2023 Kia Sportage: $25,990 MSRP7. 2023 Hyundai Tucson: $26,450 MSRP
8. 2023 Kia Niro: $26,490 MSRP8. 2023 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: $27,950 MSRP
9. 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid: $27,290 MSRP9. 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe: $28,200 MSRP
10. 2023 Kia Sorento: $29,990 MSRP10. 2023 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid: $30,900 MSRP

While both South Korean automotive brands offer many affordable models, overall, Kia is cheaper than Hyundai. Kia offers four models that cost under $20,000, compared to one for Hyundai. Also, the 2023 Kia Sportage costs $460 less than the mechanically-similar 2023 Hyundai Tucson. 

Other differences between Hyundai and Kia models

Along with Kia being cheaper than Hyundai, there are some other differences between the two car brands. One difference is the designs. Kia vehicles tend to be more sporty, while Hyundai models are more luxurious and refined. Also, unlike Kia, Hyundai offers a luxury division with the Genesis brand. 

However, Kia has a more diverse range of vehicles than Hyundai. For example, unlike Hyundai, Kia offers a minivan (Sedona). Also, after Hyundai discontinued the Accent last year, only Kia offers a subcompact car (Rio) in 2023. Furthermore, as a whole, Kia is more reliable than Hyundai. It made the Consumer Reports top 10 list of most reliable car brands, but Hyundai didn’t. 

While Kia cars are cheaper than Hyundai models, something that adds to the affordability of Hyundai vehicles is a complimentary maintenance plan. Both brands have very generous warranty coverage, with the backing of a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, unlike Kia, Hyundai offers a free maintenance plan — with three years or 36,000 miles of coverage.