Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability: A Detailed Comparison Guide

Hyundai vs Kia Reliability

Comparing two cars is not easy, especially when they have the same origin. In the case of Hyundai and Kia, they are not just Korean cars. Hyundai owns a greater stake in Kia’s operations.

In 1998, Hyundai bought Kia with a 51% stake. Although the share has reduced to 33.88%, we can’t dispute that Hyundai Motor Group owns Kia Motors. However, Hyundai’s ownership doesn’t affect Kia’s operations.

Although both car brands tend to share similar designs and features, they operate as independent brands. In this scenario, is it possible to differentiate both cars, to decide between Hyundai and Kia, which is more reliable? We believe Hyundai is slightly more reliable than Kia.

This is a difficult comparison because both brands are largely similar. Kia offers a slightly better build, a higher reliability rating, and better interiors, but Hyundai wins with a better safety rating, fuel economy, lower maintenance cost, and improved versions across different models.

This will be a difficult analysis, but let’s walk you through all you need to know about Hyundai vs. Kia’s reliability.

Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability

FeaturesHyundai Kia
Bold and luxurious designs, refined curves - Appeals to older drivers
Bold designs, better interiors, sporty look - Appeals to young drivers
Hyundai lasts up to 200,000 to 250,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years.
Kia lasts up to 200,000 to 250,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 13 to 17 years.
Gas mileage
Great gas mileage
Great gas mileage
Repair and Maintenance Cost
Lower repair and maintenance cost
Lower repair and maintenance cost
Similar engines
Similar engines

Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability: Which Is Better?

It is hard to decide on Hyundai vs. Kia’s reliability and which is better than the other. Although both car brands have different design shops, engineering teams, and marketing and sales strategies, they share a similar drivetrain, leading to relatively similar performance.

However, there is a thin line between Kia’s and Hyundai’s reliability.

Hyundai offers slightly more reliability than Kia. This is seen in its safety ratings, fuel economy, and lower maintenance cost. More importantly, Hyundai offers more reliable car models than Kia in the subcompact car, pickup trucks, subcompact SUVs, compact SUVs, midsize SUVs, and Hybrid categories.

There are conflicting reports on the reliability ratings of Hyundai vs. Kia. On RepairPal, Hyundai earns a reliability rating of 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking 4th out of 32 car brands, slightly lower than Kia’s reliability ratings, earning a 4.0 out of 5.0 score, but ranked 3rd out of 32 car brands. The ratings are different on US overall scores, as Hyundai earns an 8.4 out of 10 reliability score, slightly above Kia’s 8.3 reliability rating.

To avoid discrepancies, our verdict will be based on our personal experience, study, and surveys of these two car brands and their respective models. Hyundai’s higher reliability over Kia is because Hyundai offers better fuel economy and lower maintenance cost, with more Hyundai cars beating Kia cars in the same category. Both car brands have similar performance, with a tie in the midsize car category.

Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability: Design

Hyundai’s designs are as reliable as Kia’s. We cannot say that Hyundai offers more luxury than Kia. Both car brands have different design interpretations that they pass.

Kia offers bold designs and amazing interiors that present a sporty look. On the other hand, Hyundai offers a luxurious design and bold and refined curves. The design of Hyundai tends to appeal to the older generation, while Kia is designed to capture the interest of young drivers.

Kia and Hyundai’s designs are always unique. There are variations in their different models, with some Kia models performing better than Hyundai and vice versa. For instance: The Kia Seltos and Carnival have impressive designs, just like the Hyundai Tucson and Tucson.

Winner: Both

Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability: Technology

Hyundai and Kia share the same technology package. This makes it difficult to rate one above the other. The Kia and Hyundai technology package share the same perks, features, and gadget lineup.

From the use of UVO, infotainment, telematic system, blue links, and safety technologies, there is no difference between Hyundai and Kia’s tech packages. The differences in the car brands are only visible in their respective models.

Winner: Both

Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability: Safety

Hyundai and Kia cars are made of ultra-high tensile steel frames. Both cars optimize the integration of airbags, seat belt pre-tensioner, and bumper systems to minimize the chance of severe injury during clashes with pedestrians. This is backed up by the numerous safety technologies that promote comfortable rides.

Hyundai’s smart sense focuses on safety warning systems, impact, and collision avoidance. Kia takes its safety technology further by including real-time diagnostics and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Irrespective of all these, Hyundai has more safety ratings than Kia such as a 5-star ANCAP rating, four top safety pick ratings, and five top safety pick ratings from IIHS. This is an impressive safety rating, higher than Kia, which only has two cars on the top safety pick rating and seven on the top safety rating.

Winner: Both

Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability: Durability

Kia and Hyundai offer similar standards of durability. They last as much as each other and have the same warranty periods. Hyundai lasts up to 200,000 to 250,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years, while Kia lasts up to 200,000 to 250,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 13 to 17 years.

If you intend to purchase any of these cars, you must understand that their durability relies on how well you manage them.

Winner: Both

Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability: Gas Mileage

Upon closer analysis of Hyundai and Kia’s 2020 lineup, there are certainly no differences in the gas mileage of Hyundai and Kia. 2020 Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe have the same gas mileage of 22 city/29 highway. KIA K5 and Hyundai Sonata share similar gas mileage; 28-29 city/38 highway.

The differences among other models vary, with Kia and Hyundai topping each other on different occasions. Hyundai offers a boost in gas mileage with its hybrid and energy-efficient models, Ioniq 5 and Kona Electric, with an impressive 120 MPGe, and 114 MPGe, respectively.

Winner: Both

Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability: Repair and Maintenance Cost

This is where Hyundai does better than Kia, although the differences are not much. Hyundai has a cheaper repair and maintenance cost than Kia.

Kia has an average repair and maintenance cost of $474. This is higher than Hyundai, which has an average annual repair and maintenance cost of $468. The differences are not much, as you might tend to incur high charges from different dealers.

Both car brands have a 10% probability of a major repair, but Kia has an average of 0.2 chance of visiting the mechanic shop, while Hyundai has a 0.3 chance.

Winner: Hyundai

Hyundai vs. Kia Reliability: Engine

Kia and Hyundai are like two cousins from the same family. They use similar engines, chassis, electronic chains, drivetrains, steering systems, and designs, and their parts are easily interchangeable with each other. It isn’t easy to exclusively differentiate the engine and performance of both car brands as they borrow each other’s engines.

However, you must understand that Hyundai and Kia don’t share their engines all the time. Some engines are exclusively for Hyundai, while some are for Kia. The broad difference in their engine performance is the tuning of the engines.

Hyundai is tuned to achieve more quiet and comfortable rides, unlike Kia, which is a burst of power. Yet, unlike Kia, Hyundai can still not sustain the production of world-class sports cars. The closest attempt is the Veloster N, Genesis Coupe, and Tiburon.

The Genesis coupe was discontinued, the same as the Hyundai Tiburon. The average engine performance of Hyundai and Kia varies across models, with some Kia models doing better than Hyundai and vice versa.

Winner: Both


Hyundai and Kia are owned by the same parent company, so it is normal to say they share similar technologies and design philosophies. The beauty is that both car brands have maintained an impressive level of reliability, low maintenance cost, and less probability of encountering severe damage. The better question shouldn’t be which of these brands is more reliable because both are highly reliable.

It would be best if you focused on choosing the brand that meets your needs. Hyundai offers better smooth rides with conservative designs. Kia is all out for drivers with impressive sporty designs that want a performance burst.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does Kias last?

With proper maintenance and good driving conditions, Kia cars can last up to 13 to 17 years and 200,000 to 250,000 miles. The durability and lifespan of your Kia car depend on your maintenance habits and the driving conditions you subject them to.

How long do Hyundais last?

Hyundais last between 200,000 to 250,000 miles with an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years.  If you are a fan of car maintenance, you should expect your Hyundai car to last up to 250,000 miles with little or no major repairs.

Which is more expensive to maintain: Hyundai or Kia?

Kias are more expensive to maintain than Hyundais. The average annual cost of maintaining a Kia is $474, while that of the Hyundai is $468.