Honda VS. Hyundai – 9 Crucial Distinctions to Consider Before Making a Purchase

Honda Elevate SUV vs Hyundai Creta

When it comes to the automotive world, Honda and Hyundai are two giants that often come up in conversations. While they might sound similar phonetically, they are worlds apart in terms of origin, reputation, and offerings.

If you’re in a dilemma about which brand to choose, this comprehensive guide will shed light on the key differences between these two automotive powerhouses. 

Key Differences

1. Origins and Historical Background

The roots of a car brand often shape its ethos, design philosophy, and technological advancements. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore the origins of Honda and Hyundai.

Honda’s Beginning

Honda, hailing from Japan, was founded in 1948 by Soichiro Honda, a visionary who initially made a name for himself in the motorcycle world. The brand’s breakthrough in the American market came in 1973 with the fuel-efficient Honda Civic.

By the end of the 1970s, with the introduction of the Honda Accord, it solidified its position as one of the top auto brands globally.

Hyundai’s Inception

On the other hand, Hyundai, a South Korean brand, was established a year earlier in 1947 by Chung Ju Yung. With a manufacturing plant off the Korean coast, Hyundai began exporting vehicles worldwide.

Some of its iconic models include the Genesis Sedan and Santa Fe SUV.

2. Brand Reputation and Evolution

Hyundai FactoryOver the years, both Honda and Hyundai have carved out distinct reputations in the automotive industry. Let’s delve into how each brand is perceived and how they’ve evolved.

Honda’s Reputation

Honda is often seen as a problem solver in the automobile world, consistently delivering vehicles that address specific needs. While it was among the pioneers in producing electric vehicles, it has somewhat lagged in rolling out hybrid and upgraded versions of its cars in recent times.

Hyundai’s Growth

Hyundai, in contrast, has been on a relentless pursuit of improvement. The brand has garnered respect for its consistent enhancements in features, style, and interior quality.

Notably, Hyundai’s electric vehicle lineup is among the most promising among traditional automakers.

3. Model Offerings and Market Presence

The range and success of models offered by a brand can provide insights into its market strategy and consumer preferences. Let’s compare the model lineups of Honda and Hyundai.

Honda’s Bestsellers

Honda has a knack for creating bestselling models across various segments. For instance, the Honda Accord boasts sales close to 300,000 units annually. Another feather in Honda’s cap is the CR-V, which recorded sales of almost 400,000 units in 2019.

Hyundai’s Market Strategy

Hyundai, while producing quality vehicles, is still striving to be the top choice for consumers in many segments. Models like the Hyundai Elantra sedan and the impressive Hyundai Palisade are gaining traction, but they haven’t reached the “all-time favorite” status yet.

4. Reliability and Warranty Offerings

Honda SignOne of the primary concerns for any car buyer is the reliability of the vehicle. How do Honda and Hyundai stack up in this regard, and what kind of warranties do they offer?

Honda’s Reliability

Honda has built a robust reputation for producing reliable vehicles. However, when it comes to warranty offerings, Honda provides a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

This might seem standard, but when compared to Hyundai, it’s a tad conservative.

Hyundai’s Assurance

Hyundai vehicles have shown commendable dependability. To bolster consumer confidence, Hyundai offers an impressive 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

This extended warranty not only showcases Hyundai’s belief in its vehicles but also serves as a strong selling point for value-driven buyers.

5. Pricing and Value Proposition

The price tag on a vehicle is often a decisive factor for many buyers. Let’s compare the pricing strategies of Honda and Hyundai and see which brand offers more bang for your buck.

Honda’s Pricing

Honda vehicles, while offering quality and reliability, come with a slightly higher price tag. For instance, the 2019 Honda Fit starts at $16,190, while the 2018 Pilot, which competes directly with Hyundai’s Santa Fe, is priced at $48,020.

Hyundai’s Affordability

Hyundai has strategically priced its vehicles lower than their Honda counterparts. The Hyundai Accent, for example, starts at a modest $14,995.

Even their high-end model, the 2018 Santa Fe, is priced at $41,300. Given the extended warranties and advanced features Hyundai offers, it presents a compelling value proposition for budget-conscious buyers.

6. Sales Volume and Market Share

Sales figures can provide a glimpse into a brand’s popularity and market acceptance. Let’s see how Honda and Hyundai fare in the sales department.

Honda’s Dominance

Honda has consistently outperformed Hyundai in terms of sales. In the 2019 fiscal year, American Honda sold a whopping 1,608,176 cars and trucks, marking a slight year-on-year increase.

Hyundai’s Growth

Hyundai, while producing quality vehicles, has room to grow in the sales department. In 2019, Hyundai Motor America sold 688,711 units, reflecting a three percent increase from the previous year.

While these numbers are commendable, they’re still dwarfed by Honda’s sales figures.

7. Maintenance and Repair Costs

Honda RepairBeyond the initial purchase, the cost of maintaining and repairing a vehicle plays a significant role in the total cost of ownership. Let’s explore how Honda and Hyundai compare in this arena.

Honda’s Maintenance

Honda vehicles, known for their durability, come with a slightly lower maintenance cost. On average, it costs about $428 to service a Honda vehicle.

One of the advantages Honda has is its vast aftermarket presence, which means spare parts are readily available, and many technicians are familiar with the brand, keeping labor costs in check.

Hyundai’s Repair Dynamics

In contrast, Hyundai vehicles tend to be a bit pricier to maintain, averaging around $468 for service. One challenge Hyundai owners might face is the limited availability of spare parts in aftermarket shops.

Additionally, fewer technicians specialize in Hyundai, which can sometimes elevate labor costs.

8. Performance Metrics

Performance is often a key factor for many car enthusiasts and everyday drivers alike. How do Honda and Hyundai vehicles measure up in terms of on-road performance?

Honda’s Performance Edge

Honda vehicles have consistently scored high in performance metrics. Models like the 2019 Odyssey, 2018 Civic, and 2019 Ridgeline have all received commendable scores, averaging around 8.9 out of 10.

In most market segments where both brands have competing models, Hondas tend to outperform Hyundais.

Hyundai’s Notable Standouts

While Hyundai’s average performance score is around 8.1 out of 10, there are exceptions where Hyundai models shine. The Hyundai Kona, for instance, scores almost a full point higher than its Honda counterpart, the HR-V.

Another standout is the Hyundai Ioniq, which outperforms the Honda Clarity in several performance metrics.

9. Durability and Longevity

Honda CRV Durability TestThe lifespan of a vehicle is crucial for buyers looking for long-term value. Let’s assess the durability and longevity offerings of both Honda and Hyundai.

Honda’s Build Quality

Honda vehicles are renowned for their durability. Many owners report their Hondas running smoothly even after crossing the 200,000-mile mark.

However, Honda’s warranty offerings, as mentioned earlier, are a bit conservative, which might raise questions about the brand’s confidence in its vehicles’ longevity.

Hyundai’s Assurance

Hyundai, on the other hand, offers extended warranties, which is a testament to their belief in the durability of their vehicles. In 2018, the J.D. Power Survey even ranked Hyundai as the most dependable brand. The longer warranty period, coupled with such accolades, makes a strong case for Hyundai’s durability.

Other Differences You Should Know of

Hyundai Santa Fe 2018There is a marked difference between the quality of the materials used in the interiors of both vehicles.

On average, Honda vehicles have higher interior scores than Hyundai vehicles. Honda is led by the Honda Odyssey with an 8.8 out of 10 scores. The 2019 Ridgeline and 2018 CR-V are in second place, with both having scores of 8.7 out of 10.

The Honda models, Odyssey, Ridgeline, and CR-V, are all noted for having cabins crammed with high-quality materials. The Ridgeline, while being a truck, is just as exquisite as an SUV, something few trucks can boast of.

Hyundai vehicles tend to use more hard plastics than Honda’s. Many Hyundai models, just like the 2018 Santa Fe 2018 Kona, and 2019 Accent, have less cargo space than their Honda rivals, too.

The 2018 Elantra and the 2018 Sonata are notable exceptions, offering plenty of cargo space.

Which Is a Better Used Car?

SignNot everyone can afford new cars. Used vehicles allow you to own a car on a tight budget.

Before choosing your pre-owned car brand, you might want to know the better go-to brand for used cars between Honda and Hyundai.

One factor that often affects the brand of a used car a person buys is the price. Of course, you probably wouldn’t consider a used car if you weren’t on a tight budget.

Many people in this category would go for Hyundai vehicles because they are cheaper. The starting price of a used Hyundai is $5,695, while the price for a used Honda starts at $7,500. 

However, for those who choose to overlook the price factor and focus on quality, Honda would be the better choice.

So, if you are trying to decide between getting a used Honda, or a used Hyundai, determine what factor matters more to you.

This is not to say that Hyundai does not produce quality cars. Hyundai strives to deliver value much more than the price you pay for their vehicles. But Honda cars just have better second-hand value.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Which brand offers better fuel efficiency, Honda or Hyundai?

While both brands have models that are fuel-efficient, Honda’s lineup, especially with models like the Honda Civic and Fit, often edges out in terms of miles per gallon. However, Hyundai’s newer models are catching up, with their hybrid and electric offerings showing impressive efficiency.

2. How do the infotainment systems of Honda and Hyundai compare?

Both brands have made significant strides in their infotainment offerings. Honda’s system is intuitive with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration in most models. Hyundai’s Blue Link system is also user-friendly and offers a range of connectivity features.

3. Are there any hybrid or electric models available from these brands?

Yes, both Honda and Hyundai have ventured into the hybrid and electric vehicle market. Honda has models like the Insight and Clarity, while Hyundai boasts of the Ioniq and Kona Electric.

4. Which brand offers a better driving experience?

Driving experience can be subjective. While Honda is often praised for its sporty handling and responsive steering, Hyundai offers a more comfortable and smooth ride in many of its models.

5. How do the safety features of Honda and Hyundai compare?

Both brands prioritize safety. Honda’s Sensing suite and Hyundai’s SmartSense offer a range of safety features, including adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Final Words

Choosing between Honda and Hyundai is no easy task, given the strengths and offerings of both brands. While Honda boasts a rich history and a reputation for reliability, Hyundai impresses with its value proposition and extended warranties.

Ultimately, the decision boils down to individual preferences, needs, and budget. Whether you prioritize performance, safety, or affordability, both Honda and Hyundai have models that cater to a wide range of automotive desires.

Do thorough research, take test drives, and consider your long-term goals before making a decision.

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