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Why all the Hyundai hate?

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I’ve seen it referred to a few times now that Hyundai Motor Group is not known for quality and that it has been on a downward trend since 2010. Yet, they (and siblings Genesis and Kia) offer one of the best, if not THE best, standard warranty in the industry and, in recent years, have topped or been near it on several JD Power “Initial Quality” and “Dependability” lists. They rank lower in CR rankings, but are still typically listed among the more reliable brands. The Telluride/Palisade have been very well-reviewed in their segment since their introductions to the market as well.

Outside of Kia inexplicably introducing CVTs to a couple of their models in the last year or so, what makes these brands so bad in 2021? I fully understood poor sentiments in the early 2000’s, but not today. Whatchagot?

32 Answers

There are many topics here if you search.

You realize there's a crap ton of "Hey Scotty, my Toyota is doing XYZ....what's wrong???" threads, too, right? People come here with car problem questions, so I'm not surprised.

Many of the issues on this forum are Kia/Hyundai-related. And it’s also the experience and assessment of mechanics like Scotty and Car Wizard and others that I personally know.  I also know plenty of family, friends, co-workers who owned Hyundai Motor Group products and never went back - they switched to Toyota and Honda due to issues and lousy experience. Also, you also cite Consumer Reports and JD Power like they are a credible source - take what they say with a grain of salt. BTW, I am a fan of reliability, durability, longevity, good engineering regardless of brand. When they and any other carmaker builds good, long lasting products I will recommend them. I myself own 2 GM products that have beat the odds, but I cannot recommend GM and not ashamed to say GM is bad. I am honest with myself.  I don’t understand why people who own all these other products from automakers with less than stellar reliability get all up and arms when the truth comes out about a brand they own.

And Scotty Kilmer must be full of it too, to not recommend Hyundai Motor Group products, right?  I am sure the GM, Ford, BMW, FCA, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, etc., folks think so, never mind he has 53+ years experience working on cars (many thousands, tens of thousands), and has seen it all.


Here we go again Roll  

Kia is the best. Who doesn’t like impromptu bonfires. I’m sure those awards are completely legit and trustworthy. JD power is definitely not a for-hire marketing company

Sorry, I saw a couple of other recent threads, but most were spent addressing the warranty. Seems most think they offer it because they need it and quality vehicles don't. I would beg to differ as GM vehicles are rarely quality products. Same with Dodge. If the aforementioned thought process were true across the board, those two should be expected to produce quality near the level of Toyota. They do not. They never have. I run operations for a college campus and we have a fleet of Kia Optimas, some hybrid, some just gas. They all feel solid, no creaking, no rattling, and drive very smooth. I've taken them on long trips with zero issues and they're quite comfortable. I will pick them over our Impalas any day of the week and twice on Sunday (but that's likely to be expected). We've had a Sedona as a rental while my wife's Odyssey was being fixed once and it, too, felt good and solid. I bought a Santa Fe Sport new in 2013 and an Elantra new in 2017 and only traded that one in a couple years later when my wife wanted a bigger SUV and I took over her second Odyssey. Never had so much as a hiccup with that car and it drove very well. Also never developed so much as a rattle. Our Odysseys, btw, weren't without issue. Couple of times the sliding doors quit working (no big deal). Had the A/C compressor go out while on vacation one year and then almost a year later, went out a second time (thankfully still under warranty from the previous replacement). Those issues were on our 2005. Had a 2008 white one (our second) that when we had to have the windshield replaced, the paint on the roof came off when we removed the tape. The PAINT. Turned out, it was a known defect in a number of Hondas and by the time it happened to us, there was no recourse. That's a low-quality defect if there is one and should have NEVER happened. I was livid. Anyway, just saying.....I deal with a multitude of Kias more than most and have had a couple Hyundais myself and never felt they were subpar quality. I test drove a Subaru a couple of years ago and it felt like I was riding in my dad's old 1986 Corolla. Didn't feel "cheep" so much as it just reminded me of a light, low-tech Japanese car. Nothing wrong with that, just a different feel. My Hyundais felt more like a Volkswagen when I closed the doors and not an 80's car. Totally anecdotal, I guess.

The bottom line is that it's unacceptable for a car brand to have so many spectacular failures. And it's not just what I read on the internet.... my own real life confirms it. Most owner's I talk to have had an engine or transmission replacement within the first few years, on top of many other unresolved outstanding issues. That is WHY Kyundai has to provide such attractive sounding warranties. And the warranties suck, by the way. They only apply to the original owner, so if you buy one used you're up the creek without a paddle. No other company I know does this.


Take it from Scotty. He's been working on cars longer than most of us have been alive.


And if you don't want to believe us or Scotty ... we had an actual employee come to the forum, and he didn't think very highly of them either. He sure as heck didn't want to own one. I'll try to find it for you.


Sure. From now on, we (including Scotty) all love Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Maserati, … you name it. 

BMW and Maserati.....c'mon man! Suspicious Laughing Out Loud

Stellantis all the way!


As long as you don't get one of their cars that has metal shavings in the engine or will spontaneously combust in your driveway (don't keep it in the garage) you'll probably be OK with a Hyundai/Kia product for 100,000 miles or so. However a lot of people here are looking for cars that will last 300,000 miles or more and you're much more likely to get that with a Toyota or Honda.

2008 is prior to Hyundai's and Kia's slide in quality that resulted in severe engine and engine fire problems. They were actually pretty decent from around 2005-2010.


It's all about statistics. There are always outliers, there will occasionally be a Kia going strong with 300,000 miles on it or a Toyota that craters before 100K. It's just a fact though that typically you are much more likely to have trouble with the Korean brands than a Toyota or Honda.


If you believe JD Powers and Consumer Reports, then you probably believe in Astrology and that the earth is flat.


Nothing you say is new. We've heard all the explanations before ...

in fact, we had one user... @papi544 I think
He would make post after post, relentlessly defending Kia to the last breath. Problem was, he was just repeating himself and ignored what everyone else said, so I had to put a stop to it.

Are Kiahhhh! and Hyundon't paying your guys to promote them or something?

Moi? I’m not promoting. I was just asking. I guess I won’t consider a Telluride a few years from now, but everything I’ve heard and read about them has been nothing but good. But don’t get me wrong, I like Toyota and Honda just fine. I’d buy a Hyundai long before a Chrysler, though. Laughing Out Loud

Now, is a Chrysler really a good comparison...


Yes, very reliable in breaking, burning in flames, ....

Haha does that apply only on American ones?

Some American cars are pile of jinks too.

So it's better to avoid any kia/Hyundai cars no matter where they're made?


This is not an isolated incident. It's because of constant, systemic problems like this that most of us here keep warning people against Hyundai and Kia vehicles.


I would beg to differ as GM vehicles are rarely quality products.

I would take a GM vehicle over Korean any day, because they don't do this ...


My Hyundais felt more like a Volkswagen

That's an insult to VW, which is hard to do.

VWs are pretty junky, but at least you don't need to replace engines on them or worry about them burning your house down.

Well, even Scotty has pointed out VW fit and finish feels pretty solid and I agree. But yeah, I looked up the engine fire thing. So that’s a pretty recent development that I hadn’t heard much about. No denying that’s not a good look for them. As you said in one of those other threads, 1 in 100 odds aren’t good. He’s right about that and it’s good perspective.

Y’all settle down. I won’t buy another Hyundai. 🤣🤣🤣

when did he point that out? VW fit & finish is awful and I think he mentions that fairly often


They are not "made like junk."  They ARE junk.

Kia fanboys: "My Kia has 42 000 miles and has no issues at all! They are just as reliable as a Toyota.", "Kia Stingers appreciate, they don't depreciate and Kias now have high resale value!"

Me: these people clearly have no idea what they are talking about.

Also Me: inserts Scotty laugh*


They offer that warranty because you're going to need it. Bottom of the list quality.

That's why the warranty doesn't transfer to a new owner unless its "Hyundai Certified", meaning their tech looks at it, makes sure it has 4 wheels and runs at the time, and slaps a sticker on it so they can get paid AGAIN.

I wouldn't drive/recommend one to anyone, anywhere.

I don't like Hyundai, most of the time I'd suggest getting a different car,
Where I live they have almost 40% marketshare - Hyundai and Kia are considered to be workhorses, 4/5 and 6/10 best sellers are Hyundai-Kia products (And it ain't the cheap ones)
That's also the theme in Europe, Hyundai-Kia ranks 4th by sales amount and their cars are very popular with Sportage being the 3rd best selling SUV overall, and the Tuscon has been in top 10 best sellers for as long as I can remember them making it.
Also their HEV/EV game is incredibly strong, In 2025 that'll more than half of the sales according to them (so far it's 1/3).
Here / in Europe owners of Hyundai and Kia are usually satisfied... I get that DCTs and big GDi engines aren't made correctly, but an A6 conventional automatic with an MPI engine - much better than a VW TSI DSG. And in many cases it's just better than Honda that just keeps surprising me with constant new defects and worse warranty coverage than Hyundai.
In the US that they only offer the worst cars they make - and it works out for them, they quite a few cars.


Hyundai has a bad image for cars they used to make 20-30 years ago, and they were known for making cars “less fun then drowning” and wining the worst car of the year… on a few different occasions…

Personally I actually like what Hyundai has been doing recently, cheap, simple and reasonably nice enough to drive…

I used to own a 3rd generation Accent, was such a simple and nimble car to drive. Modern nasty dual clutches with overly heavy steering wheels and stiff suspension just can’t match Hyundai’s that still tend to feel like good old 90s cars.

I do get some flak for liking them, but they’re not terrible (WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS THAT ARE ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE)

they’re just not built to last over 130k-140k miles like many other cars in the same categories from Ford, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Nissan and others.


It was especially rough on the European market when they needed to compete with cheap and incredibly fun cars like the SEAT IBIZA


Hyundai also tried making slightly bigger cars then their competition in each class but that didn’t last much after Škoda released the Rapid that is still the golden mark of practically in a small family car. 

What are your experiences with Seats and Škodas? What models are OK and what not?

On all their models they face reliability issues, the VW 1.8L is known to burn oil, the 1.2L is known for timing chain issues, the Seat Ibiza recirculation flap is $250 in parts alone and it fails on all of them. And on almost all eurospec models the DSG7 mechatronic is bound to fail sometimes even before 25k miles. So basically they’re all tiny disasters.
Well, these cars (as for the petrol versions) are all built to a different standard. They’re not turned to last much but instead they’re low cost and fun rides.
I’ll use UK pricing converted to USD to explain.
A Toyota Yaris 1.5L 115hp (Hybrid, that’s the only option) costs $30k comes with a CVT, not many features at all and it’s just a boring old not fun to drive small hatch.
By the time you spec up a seat Ibiza to the same price (Xcellence Lux) you basically get not only a much nicer interior, but firm sporty suspension, much better handling, a 7 speed dual clutch, and basically a car that you can’t even really compare to the Yaris.
A family member of mine used to be a Toyota guy until he drove a Škoda Rapid and he immediately switched sides.
He got a used 3 year old Škoda for the price of a 10 year Corolla with a year of warranty still left on the DSG and he’s perfectly happy with it although he knows it’s not a very reliable vehicle and that his engine already has oil consumption at only 70k miles and that the cooling system already is starting to rust.


See this short recent article, which documents large fines and payouts:,to%20the%202011%20model%20year.


My lawn mower has a higher resale value now than when I bought it.



The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just released a news bulletin with a “park outdoors” order for certain Hyundai and Kia models at risk of catching on fire. This applies to approximately 485,000 vehicles, including the 2014-2015 Hyundai Tucson, 2016-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2017-2018 Santa Fe Sport, 2019 Santa Fe XL, 2014-2016 Kia Sportage and 2016-2018 Kia K900.”


We had a 1990 Hyundai Pony. At a little bit over 100k km manual gearbox broke down. Once before that it shifted from 1st gear into neutral itself while driving uphill with 4 other people in car.

The 1994 manual one had the smoothest shifting so far. But also did not last long.


Hey Scotty

Does Kia/Hyundai make good reliable cars? 


I had one kia cadenza 2011 v6 3.5 L in the first year the door light bulb fright and the plastic cover the headlight stop cracked. And at the 60k miles cover casket replaced and the engine went bad.

And at the 80k miles the steering rack got replaced.

Basically that was the worst car i ever bought i babied that car changed the oil every 2k miles.changed the transmission fluid at 50k miles.



I see one of these posts every couple of weeks. I feel like we either have a troll, or someone from Hyundai Corporate in this forum. 

I'll spare you my personal horror story with Hyundai, as the have been many shining examples listed in this thread.

But sure, if you like spontaneously combustible engines, horrid customer service, and an "industry leading" warranty that has more loopholes than a congressional bill; buy yourself a Hyundai/Kia. Nevermind the decades (maybe centuries) worth of experience on here advising against it.

I have the same suspicion.


16 822 miles and the transmission behaves like this and the fact that the Kia dealer couldn't find any trouble codes even after their so-called "software fix". I even read people's comments in other videos that they traded their Tellurides for something else because the transmissions went out and they were pretty low mileage (like 16k-30k miles from what I have seen).

Honestly, I just laugh when people/fanbois talk about how much better they are and how cool they are but they don't realize that they are made like junk.  🤣 


The latest -


Newest addition to the Kia/Hyundai mess.


Depends on some models and the owners. Unlike japanese cars where you can have some for rough use, korean cars cannot be used hardly or so. However, they are better quality now. Much better than they were in 2000-2010! 


They are lovely cars, first hand. We have a Hyundai Accent 2012 model and it completes a decade with us this month . We are very light drivers and have never strained the engine or transmission. 

Touchwood, we havent had problems with the car. The engine, transmission are ok. 


I have a Santafe 2013 which i got used 6 months ago and had 140 K kms on the odo. There are only random small plastic built issues. Again, touchwood, it has been a good car. 

Oh, great! But i am guessing they don't make'em the same everywhere, alot of americans dislike them for the lack of build quality

What’s the mileage on the Accent? I’m guessing less than 100,000 miles? If any of my cars fell apart <100,000 miles, I’d be livid. 140,000 kms is what 87,000 miles? Wait till you cross 100,000 miles. Then let’s see how your Hyundai holds up mechanically. That’s when they usually tend to start falling apart. And no, Hyundai quality has gotten worse post 2010. This thread is a testament to that..

Yes. I hope that it holds up post the period you mention.


Haha, don't listen to all the baloney about Hyundai, Kia, Genesis. They are all junk and heck I would rather buy a Nissan over any Korean car even if they aren't the most reliable. Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis all try to make everything look pretty and seem like u are getting a good deal, but they cut a lot of corners when building them and they break before 100k miles. 

U're talking about the ones sold in america?

lol pretty much. Idk what they are like outside of North America, but I would assume that they are no different.


New Santa Fe


They’re not terrible, but they’re still prone to have a few minor problems here and there, with the possibility of major problems down the line.

From what we've seen, they're prone to serious problems as soon as they leave the lot.


I just traded in a 2011 Santafe with 120K and a 2008 Veracruze with 200K plus. I bought 2 Kia's. The old cars were running just fine and during their lives there were no major breakdowns. I am told after 2012 they had engine problems but I must have missed that.


Hi Scotty.

I see from your videos that you are not a fan of Kia and Hyundai. They do seem to have reliability issues in the U.S.


In the UK however they have a very good reputation. Have you any idea why this should be? 


They come with great warranties too. The Kia has 7 year and the Hyundai has 5 year. 


Is it just the U.S. manufactured ones that have issues? 

This has already been covered on this forum in depth. (Topics merged.)


Their warranties are not great because they consistently dishonor them.  Sounds good on paper, but when something goes wrong, they look at you and say "That's normal." These are poorly designed and poorly built vehicles.

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