We’ve reviewed a lot of Korean designs here lately. The Soul. The Rio. The Veloster. The Sorrento. The Genesis. The Optima Hybrid. The Cayenne S. Actually, rumors that Porsche made a straight-up trade of engineering (the original Hyundai Santa Fe’s 2.7L V-6) for styling (the original Cayenne is clearly pretty much the same as said original Santa Fe) are completely unfounded. Some of these cars may not be quite up to the standard of their competition, but others are either the critic’s choice of the segment or the actual freaking segment sales volume leader.
Price has been a big part — for a long time, maybe the only part — of Korean-brand appeal in the United States since the very first Excel arrived with “$4995!” plastered on the windshield. In 2011, however, the Hyundai, Kia, and Daewoo vehicles aren’t always the cheapest choice. Which leads us to the question:
What should the “Korean discount” be? What form should it take? Should the Korean entries in a segment be cheaper? Better-equipped? Both? Compared to the competitors from Honda, Toyota and (maybe) Nissan, how much money do you need to save to look at a Hyundai, Kia, or Daewoo (meaning Chevy)? Or have we finally reached a point in time where the answer to the “discount question” is nothing at all?