Kia vs. Hyundai: How Do the Brands Differ?

Car buyers have a long list of automobile brands from which to choose. Every brand offers an extensive lineup that features sedans, compact cars, SUVs, trucks and maybe even hybrid or electric models, too.

Kia and Hyundai are affordable brands and are headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. How do the cars from these brands differ? Are they the same company? In a matchup of Kia vs. Hyundai, the most popular models for each will be compared by price, fuel efficiency and safety. The matchups are:

  • Hyundai Accent vs. Kia Rio
  • Hyundai Elantra vs. Kia Forte
  • Hyundai Venue vs. Kia Soul
  • Hyundai Palisade vs. Kia Sorento

Is Kia Owned by Hyundai?

Buyers might wonder if Kia is owned by Hyundai. In fact, Kia Corporation is owned by Hyundai Motor Company. While the brands are separate, Hyundai Motor Group purchased a majority share in Kia Corporation in 1998.

Think of Kia and Hyundai a bit like GM and Chevrolet. General Motors has GM and Chevrolet as brands (or divisions). GM and Chevy models, though, sometimes overlap in features and specs. When comparing Kia and Hyundai, car buyers also shouldn’t be surprised if there are more similarities than differences.

The Matchups: Kia vs. Hyundai

When comparing Kia versus Honda, buyers might need to look closely to find differences. Again, buyers shouldn’t be surprised to find some similar specs. 

Hyundai Accent vs. Kia Rio

First up, the Hyundai Accent vs. the Kia Rio. Both models are compact vehicles, and they are the most affordable models for their respective brands. The Hyundai Accent has a base price of $16,645 and the Kia Rio has a base price of $16,250. For price, the Rio has a slight edge.

How do these two models compare for fuel efficiency, though? The Hyundai Accent offers an estimated 41 MPG on the highway, while the Kia Rio also offers 41 MPG on the highway. Both models are perfectly matched in this regard. Both also featured similar safety scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The Winner: the Rio, but only because it’s slightly less expensive.

Hyundai Elantra vs. Kia Forte

While the Rio and the Accent are subcompact cars (very small), the Elantra and the Forte are considered small in size. The Hyundai Elantra is designed like a small or compact sedan and has a base price of $19,950. The Forte has a base price of $19,090.

Both the Elantra and the Soul offer decent fuel efficiency. The Elantra can get up to 43 MPG on the highway, and the Forte gets 41 MPG on the highway. The Elantra has the slight edge in this category.

The 2022 Hyundai Elantra received a Top Safety Pick rating (when equipped with certain headlights) from IIHS.

The Winner: The Elantra for safety and fuel efficiency. However, the Forte offers the best price.

Hyundai Venue vs. Kia Soul

The Hyundai Venue and the Kia Soul are both smaller SUVs. However, the Soul is designed in the body type of a wagon. The Venue has a base price of $19,000, and the Kia Soul has a base price of $19,290.

Both are fairly fuel efficient for SUVs. The Venue can get up to 33 MPG on the highway, and the Soul can get up to 35 MPG on the highway. Both are evenly matched in this regard.

Which model is the safer choice? The Kia Soul received a Top Safety Pick (when equipped with front crash prevention and specific headlights) rating from the IIHS. The Hyundai Venue also received a Top Safety Pick rating (with specific headlights).

The Winner: The Venue wins for offering a lower price.

Hyundai Palisade vs. Kia Telluride

The Hyundai Palisade and the Kia Telluride are both full-size SUVs. The Palisade has space for up to eight passengers, and the Kia Telluride has room for seven or eight (depending on the choice of the buyer). Both offer the third row that many families need.

How do these models compare related to price? The Hyundai Palisade has a base price of $33,350, and the Telluride has a base price of $33,090.

As both models are larger SUVs, fuel efficiency might not be as ideal as smaller vehicles. However, both the Palisade and the Telluride can get up to 26 MPG on the highway.

The Hyundai Palisade also received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS, and the Kia Telluride received a Top Safety Pick rating (when equipped with specific headlights).

The Winner: The Telluride offers the best price, while the Palisade has the best safety rating.

Kia and Hyundai: Is One Brand the Better Brand?

Kia and Hyundai models tend to be comparable in price and fuel efficiency. Some models score better than others related to safety ratings, and this might be a key area that buyers research when determining their best option.

The two brands offer similar automobiles, and, in fact, their models are often quite similar in many ways. Kia’s reputation, though, has always been about offering budget-friendly, economical vehicles. When it comes to affordability, Kia offers some of the best prices on the market.

Hyundai, though, doesn’t offer prices that are far beyond that of Kia. While Hyundai models might differ from a similar Kia model by a few hundred dollars, this is a minimal difference for automobiles.

Both brands offer models with great fuel efficiency. When the similar models for Kia and Hyundai are compared, their MPG specs are often identical.

Some buyers might simply prefer one brand over another brand. Again, Kia and Hyundai are a bit like GM and Chevrolet. They are very similar, but there are a few differences. A test drive could be a determining factor when buyers are trying to decide which brand is best for their needs.

Are Kia and Hyundai the Same Company?

Kia and Hyundai are owned by the Hyundai Motor Company. However, in regards to Kia, Hyundai Motor Company owns the majority stake of Kia Corporation. Kia is a corporation, and it’s also a brand. Hyundai Motor Company also includes the luxury brand Genesis. While Kia and Hyundai are owned by the same company, they also function as different brands.

Kia vs Hyundai

Do Kia and Hyundai Offer Hybrids or Electric Models?

Some buyers might be interested in the fuel efficiency offered by hybrid or electric models. Both Kia and Hyundai offer hybrid and electric models.

Hyundai’s energy-efficient models include:

  • Kona Electric
  • Tucson Hybrid
  • Tucson Plug-In Hybrid
  • Santa Fe Hybrid
  • Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid
  • IONIQ 5
  • NEXO Fuel Cell
  • Elantra Hybrid
  • Sonata Hybrid
  • IONIQ Hybrid
  • IONIQ Plug-In Hybrid
  • IONIQ Electric

Kia also offers a large selection of hybrid and electric models. Kia’s energy-efficient lineup includes:

  • Niro
  • Sportage Hybrid
  • Niro Plug-In Hybrid
  • Sorento Hybrid
  • Niro EV
  • EV6
  • Sorento Plug-In Hybrid

Kia’s most expensive fuel-efficient model is the Sorento Plug-In Hybrid, which has a base price of $45,190. The Niro (hybrid) is the most budget-friendly option, with a base price of $24,690.

Hyundai’s most expensive fuel-efficient option is the hydrogen fuel cell model, the NEXO. It has a base price of $59,435. The least expensive model is the Elantra Hybrid, which has a base price of $23,850.

Kia vs Hyundai

How RelayCars Helps Buyers Explore Kia and Hyundai Models

Choosing between Kia and Hyundai models might not be easy for buyers. Both offer similar vehicles, so how can buyers explore their options when shopping at home?

The RelayCars app and the RelayCars website provide car shoppers with immersive solutions for car exploration. The RelayCars app lets shoppers preview vehicles using 3D immersive and interactive imagery or in virtual reality (for consumers who have Google Cardboard).

The RelayCars website lets shoppers use 3D imagery or augmented reality to explore different vehicles. However, the augmented reality option is only available when accessing the website via a mobile device.

How do these immersive tools help buyers in their decision? With 3D imagery, car shoppers can use their fingers to turn the model of the vehicle around; they can look at the car from any vantage point. With virtual reality, shoppers are transported to a virtual showroom where they can view the vehicle of their choice.

Augmented reality offers the option of previewing a car in any space. Using a camera on a smartphone or a tablet, a 3D car image can be transported into any area. View a car model in the garage or in the driveway.

RelayCars also provides shoppers with specs and data for thousands of makes and models. For those comparing models from Hyundai and Kia, use RelayCars to find the MSRP and other details.

If shoppers are experiencing RelayCars via the website, they can open two different browser pages for the site and explore models from different brands simultaneously. Once buyers find their ideal vehicle on RelayCars, they also can connect to a site within the app to find that car in their area.

RelayCars lets buyers research and explore any car model that they want, but they also can use the app to shop for that vehicle, too. RelayCars is a one-stop shop for car research and for finding the best vehicle prices, too!