QOTD: Have Korean Cars Shed Their Reliability Reputation?
Given the recent legal struggles that Hyundai and Kia have been facing, I started wondering if the two brands had shed their past reputation for reliability -- or lack thereof.
Us olds will remember when Kia and Hyundai were the butts of jokes. I remember being but a wee lad when I saw a comedian on some TV show saying Rodney King couldn't have been driving 110 mph because he was in a Hyundai.
Of course, things are different today. Hyundai scores well on Repair Pal's reliability index, and Consumer Reports speaks well of the brand. Kia also does well with Repair Pal, if not quite as well with Consumer Reports. Anecdotal evidence from years of test-driving cars from both brands has also shown that the brands seem to be reliable, though it's very hard, if not impossible, to measure long-term reliability from first drives and loan-based reviews.
Yet, the reputation persists, especially when I talk to friends and family who aren't car enthusiasts and/or industry observers.
What say you? Are these two brands as reliable as they seem? Or have the ghosts of the past never really left?
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Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.
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