Quality of Kia/H vs Toyota, Nissan or Honda

I’m looking to purchase a mid size SUV in the near future. I’ve noticed that the prices for a Kia/Hyundai are significantly cheaper than say Honda, Toyota or Nissan. My question: Is the quality, workmanship and materials as good in the Kia/Hyundai as those used by say Honda, Toyota and Nissan?

They don’t have a strong a history as the big three rice eaters, but they’ve come a long way, especially Hyundae. See what Consumer Reports has to say.

Models for the last 4 years or so are nearly equal in quality to Toyota and Honda, as well as Mazda. The difference is very small and the premium for the Japanese makes is mostly based on reputation. A friend owns a 5 year ol Hyundai Elantra and it has been extremely reliable. But a 4 year old 4 cylinder Hyundai will likely have a timing belt, while Toyotas, Hondas, and Mazda 4 cyl. models now have timing chains. But I would not go back more than 5 years, especially with Kia.

Consumer Reports now rates the Elantra as the best compact car.

Is this a used SUV? Honda and Toyota are way overpriced as used vehicles. Reliability, especially for late model vehicles, is very close among almost all manufacturers. BTW, I own a Honda Accord that I bought new, and it was an exellent bargain. If you can afford a new vehicle, then consider the traditional Asian brands. Otherwise, look at Hyundai, Kia, Chevrolet/GMC, and Ford.

My SO bought a Hyundai Veloster last year. After driving it for a year, and after driving their Genesis Coupe a few times, I wouldn’t buy a Honda today, and that’s coming from a guy who’s bought Hondas almost exclusively since his first car and still owns two.

Hyundai used to be godawful, but as TSM said, they’ve come a long way, and in my opinion are cranking out cars of the quality and spirit, so to speak, of 90’s Hondas.

I’m biased but I think you will find Honda/Acura shops much better to deal with than Toyota, at least from a lot of the comments here, Toyota dealer repairs seem to really have a problem with customer service. Don’t know much about the others but what you save today, you may lose in resale value tomorrow.

Hyundai and Kia share some models I believe. I wouldn’t be ready to commit to one personally. But, I would take one if it were godawful cheap…IMO, that would be the key. It will be worth much less used so there may not be a heck of of lot difference in buying it then trading later in cost difference. Just try it out long enough to make sure you can live with it. An advantage of Toyotas is they are such bland autos, they don’t inspire or offend much and people tend live with them longer.

Have You Ever Perused Technical Service Bulletins For The Korean Cars ?
This Is My Opinion, But It Gives Me The Impression That The Cars Were Built In Somebody’s Basement.


Most automotive things tend to evolve to a higher level eventually, and I suspect that the quality of the TSBs for these brands will evolve to a higher level also. I am reminded of the Owner’s Manual that came with my brother’s Datsun SPL-311, a late '60s-early '70s Japanese clone of the British MG.

Not only was that Datsun of very low quality, but its Owner’s Manual was like a stereotype of pidgin-English. Among the language gems that I recall (there were many, but I only recall a few) were, “Your wiper have two kind speeds”, and, “Check oil so that it be between Min and Max”–with no explanation of exactly what “Min and Max” actually meant.

Among the memorable design gaffes with that car was the placement of the twin side-draft carburetors. They were so close to the inner fender structure that it was impossible to remove the air cleaner’s cover in order to replace the air filter cartridge–unless you unbolted the carbs from the intake manifold. Nice, huh?

There were so many water leaks around the windshield that riding in the car during a rain storm resulted in getting almost as wet as if you were standing outside in the rain. The tonneau cover that came with the car was about 1/2 an inch too small to be attached to the snaps that were fitted all along the perimeter of the passenger compartment. There was also an issue (the exact nature of which I don’t recall) that made replacing the brake pads into a major project. All of the chrome on the car was completely rusted within a little over a year.

And, to make the entire experience even more dreadful, at that time Datsun was awarding dealerships to essentially anyone. The local dealership where the car was purchased was run by two brothers in shiny suits who could have been the models for the characters in the TV show, The Sopranos. Their “service department” consisted of one elderly man whose only job was to wash & vacuum cars. Any actual service (which we learned to our dismay) was “performed” by the local Gulf gas station, where the staff had little knowledge–and even less interest–in trying to fix these abominable early Datsuns. If you brought the car back to the dealership because of an unresolved problem, the guys in the shiny suits made thinly-veiled threats in order to convince you that returning again would not be in your best interests.

While it took about 20 years, eventually those two crooks lost the Datsun/Nissan franchise.

So, in view of how Datsun (Nissan)–and the other Japanese manufacturers–have evolved in all ways, I suspect that in a short space of time, the Korean manufacturers will do likewise.
Or not…

I Could Consider A Korean Car If I Could Consider The Nearest Dealer, 3+ Hours Away, To Be Convenient. (And What If Service/Parts There, Stink ?) Nice Support Network.


@Bing Toyota dealer repairs seem to really have a problem with customer service.
I am going to venture the word…arrogance. Just because the car sells itself sometimes just by name (drinking the Toyota coolaid ), they have the feeling they personally are the reason.

Dealerships are independently owned. So why do ALL Toyota dealers have a problem with customer service?? They get together for customer bashing conferences??

There are several Toyota and GM dealerships in the Boston area. If you get your toyota serviced at this dealership…it’s going to be different then the people who get their GM serviced?? Same service shop…and same service people…some of the Techs even work on both vehicles.

@VDCdriver That sounds like the guy that put our HVAC in. Finally refused to come back anymore, warranty or not.

I did not mean to imply “all” Toyota dealers, but from comments here just seems they have a greater share is all. Totally subjective on my part though. In view of that I would just do a double check on the service department I planned on using first.

I think the Kia is a good car esp if you like all the modern conveniences at a lower cost. I imagine though that the cost/quality/service compromise will be seen down the road, as the car approaches 100K miles and beyond. Cons Reports has a “total cost” index for cars, which includes not only the initial sales price, but the expected cost for gasoline and service. But that probably only includes the first 5 years. I would expect the big repair cost differences will occur in further out years.

Maybe shop around at auto repair shops. Ask how much to replace a head gasket on a Toyota vs a Kia. A water pump. A power steering pump. A radiator. Ask about ignition and fuel and brake system problems they’ve seen.

I think if you only plan to keep the car for 5 years or so and not beyond 100K, a Kia is a reasonable compromise. Esp if you like all the gadgets options.

Also compare the used car prices of Toyota vs Kia for cars priced new at the same price. That would give you some idea of how the car will be valued in out years.