The days of people complaining about inferior Korean quality are over. Many of Hyundai and Kia’s cars are now made in America, offer ample amounts of standard amenities for the money, and win awards for their quality every year.
This shift really began back in 2004: Hyundai shocked everyone when it tied Honda for initial brand quality in a study by J.D. Power and Associates. It then placed third overall in J.D. Power’s 2006 Initial Quality Survey, trailing only Porsche and Lexus. Kia has been busy cleaning up as well, winning awards for its safety, design, and ingenuity, with its J.D. Power award for best initial quality being the most recent feather in its cap.
8. Get loaded on luxury
In 2016, Hyundai dropped the Equus name and spun Genesis into its own luxury line. Meanwhile, Kia reworked the Cadenza so it can stand out as an affordable yet still opulent alternative to its flagship K900 sedan. While other car manufacturers require adding package after package in order to get to a certain set of results, Kia and Hyundai employ a more direct approach where a base model comes packed with accoutrements, and package options are limited to a select few additions to cut down on confusion. The result is a Mercedes competitor at a shockingly affordable price.
9. They’re fit for the whole family
Let’s be honest about something: Kids are a massive pain in the ass for automakers. From countless dollars in warrantied-out interior components, to strenuous government child safety LATCH system requirements, the list of things that factor into making a family car is difficult to fathom.
Fortunately, employees at Kia have their own kids, so designing a Sedona minivan with the right ride height, seat-folding skills, and door angles happened about as naturally as it could have. Hyundai, on the other hand, remains focused on safe sedans and hatchbacks of all manner, be they subcompacts or SUVs, which continue to outsell sedans due to their practicality.
10. The future looks bright
Kia Motors America’s longest running nameplate, the Sportage, is now classified as the best in its segment according to Cars.com; a heavy overhaul earned it the title of “Best New Compact SUV” of 2017. Meanwhile, Hyundai continues to sweep up awards from KBB and IIHS for safety suites and low ownership costs in the Sonata line.
But the big news is Kia’s 2018 Stinger sport sedan, a twin-turbo, rear-wheel drive sport sedan designed to take on BMW. While it’s early, the Stinger certainly looks like the real deal. Between that and the Genesis line, Hyundai and Kia are looking to move upmarket, and they seem to be doing everything right.
Love or hate them, once you take into account all of the accomplishments and advantages, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Korean automakers have earned their keep and have one hell of a success story to tell.