10 reasons why we would really like to own a Korean car
Korea may not be mentioned in the same vein as Germany, Britain, Italy, the United States or even Japan when it comes to car production, but the country has shown that it does has what it takes to make fantastic vehicles. Korean automakers have gone from practically non-existent to a significant market share that seems to be growing every day.
Yet it has always been like this. Around two decades ago, Korean automakers were seen as a lower-quality and cheaper alternative to already cheap Japanese brands. Fast forward to today, and Korean automakers are producing cars with the style, performance and value to compete with the best of their Japanese, European and American rivals, led by the country’s two largest manufacturers – Kia and Hyundai. Let’s explore ten reasons why Korean cars are so popular right now.
The main reason Korean cars have exploded in popularity over the past two decades is their low price. Like their neighbors, Korean automakers realized early on that the only way to access the US and European markets was for their cars to be much cheaper than those of their competitors.
This is the reason why Korean cars are generally among the cheapest of all segments. For example, the Hyundai Venue is the second cheapest subcompact crossover in the United States, while the Kia Rio is among the cheapest sedans you can buy in 2021.
They have the best warranty offers
Buying a car involves many financial risks. Everything could go wrong, leaving the buyer with huge repair costs. This is where guarantees come in. A warranty is almost like manufacturer’s insurance coverage because it can cover thousands of dollars worth of repairs for free.
When it comes to warranty offerings, Korean manufacturers are second to none. It all started in the early 2000s, when Hyundai and Kia shocked the world after offering the industry’s first 10-year / 100,000-mile warranties. To this day, both brands still offer the best warranties in America.
In the mid-2000s, Kia and Hyundai identified design as the most important area of interest if they were to break into the European market. As such, Kia hired former BMW designer Thomas Burkle to head its design department, while Kia hired famous Audi Peter Schreyer.
As a result, Korean cars are some of the most beautiful in the world today and feature designs that can easily be mistaken for European cars. The Genesis brand perfectly demonstrates this point. The G90, for example, is arguably better looking than any American luxury sedan ever made, and some gearboxes will even pick its design over European heavyweights like the BMW 7 Series.
High quality interiors
Korean manufacturers want drivers and passengers to enjoy every second they spend in their cars, so they are equipping them with the best interiors. Unlike American cars, whose interiors are full of plastic and other shoddy materials, Korean cars have high-quality leather and comfortable seats.
And it’s not just Korean luxury cars that have high-quality interiors. Even the Hyundai Elantra – which costs around $ 20,000 – has a leather interior and heated front seats.
Lots of luxury options
The best luxury cars are usually made in Europe – brands like Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Bentley come to mind. However, Korean manufacturers have honed their luxury car building skills over the past two decades and are now making luxury cars that can compete with European options.
The Genesis G90, for example, is a Korean luxury sedan that many reducers have called “The Mercedes Killer”. It has all the elements of a luxury sedan: a magnificent design, a high-quality interior with premium materials, advanced technology and pleasant driving dynamics.
No one likes cars that break down and force them to spend money on repairs, which is one of the reasons many reducers don’t like American cars. Japanese automakers have always been considered the kings of reliability, as their cars can survive for decades with minimal repairs.
Korean manufacturers have borrowed a sheet from the Japanese book and are now making some of the most reliable cars. According to Consumer Reports, Hyundai is the fifth most reliable automotive brand in 2021.
Excellent safety scores
Safety standards have increased over the past decades, which means that most cars coming out of production facilities are now almost as safe. However, a few stand out from the crowd, and some of them are Korean.
For example, the 2021 Kia K5 received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA and a 2021 Top Safety Pick + award from the IIHS. Most Korean cars also come standard with advanced driver assistance systems such as forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist.
We have already mentioned that Korean cars are cheap compared to cars made in other countries, but even at their affordable prices, they still manage to give customers better value for money. Features that are typically reserved for high-end European cars can now be found in many affordable Korean vehicles.
It’s not uncommon to find amenities like a nappa leather interior, heated front and rear seats, ventilated seats, and advanced driver assistance systems in budget models like the Hyundai Sonata. This “more for less” philosophy is exactly why Korean manufacturers continue to win.
They are ecological
The automotive industry is moving towards the production of more environmentally friendly vehicles, and Korean manufacturers are not left out. Hyundai and Kia quickly joined the hybrid movement and now have a wide range of hybrids like the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Kia Niro and Hyundai Ioniq.
The two Korean manufacturers are also among Tesla’s biggest competitors in the growing electric vehicle market. For example, the Kia Niro EV and the Hyundai Ioniq Electric are among the cheapest electric vehicles on the market today.
Superior initial brand quality
Initial brand quality is a measure used to classify the build quality of new cars. The ranking is based on the number of problems reported by owners of new vehicles in the first three months after purchasing their car.
According to the 2019 JD Power Initial Quality Survey, Genesis took the top spot, with just 63 issues reported per 100 vehicles. Kia and Hyundai were just behind Genesis, placing in the top three all-Korean. According to the 2020 report, Hyundai and Genesis both fell in the rankings, but Kia was in first place.
The British driver absorbed a 10 second penalty imposed after a lap 1 incident with points leader Max Verstappen.
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