When asked to name the biggest automaker countries, most reducers will mention Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, and Great Britain. Korea will not be mentioned alongside these great nations, but if the last two decades are to pass, it will join them soon.
Since the turn of the century, Korean cars, led by Kia and Hyundai, have gone from being practically unknown to a significant market share that is growing every day. Korean cars were once considered the cheapest and lower quality alternative to Japanese cars, but now they have enough quality to compete with the best. Let’s explore ten of the best Korean cars that every gearbox should drive at least once in their lifetime.
ten Hyundai i20N
The hatchback market has long been dominated by models like the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Ford Focus RS. However, there is a new sheriff in town – the fantastic Hyundai i20N. This car is so good it stalled Top Gear 2021 Performance Car of the Year Award as well as their overall Car of the Year award.
The i20N is powered by a 1.6-liter GDI turbo engine that produces 201 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission. As it weighs only 2,620 lbs, it can accelerate to 60 mph in just over 6 seconds and has a top speed of 143 mph, making it one of the fastest hot hatches you can buy today. ‘hui.
9 Kia Stinger GT
The Stinger burst onto the scene in 2017 and immediately impressed gearboxes with its sleek design and attractive price tag compared to European equivalents like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3-Series. The Stinger was designed by Peter Schreyer – the man behind the Audi TT – and was designed by former BMW M vice president of engineering Albert Biermann.
At the heart of the top-of-the-line Stinger is a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that generates 368 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, making driving fun.
8 Genesis G90
When Hyundai created the Genesis luxury brand, they removed the Equus nameplate and replaced it with the G90 full-size luxury sedan. The G90 is synonymous with luxury and is designed to make gearboxes feel like they’re sitting in a Rolls-Royce Ghost or Mercedes-Benz S-Class, even though it costs a lot less.
The G90 has a host of premium features, including power-closing doors, three-zone climate control, an auto-adjusting steering wheel, and 22-way adjustable seats with heating, cooling and massage functions.
seven Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Produced from 2008 to 2016, the Genesis CoupÃ© is a two-door coupe that Hyundai built to show that it could make a respectable sports car, too. The Genesis Coupe shared its platform with the Genesis luxury sedan and was Hyundai’s first rear-wheel-drive sports car.
There were several engine options for the Genesis Coupe, the most powerful being a 3.8-liter Lambda II RS GDI V6, with up to 348 hp.
6 Kia EV6
The electric car industry is growing faster than ever, and like most automakers, Kia doesn’t want to be left behind. Launched earlier this year, the EV6 is Kia’s first dedicated electric vehicle, and looking at it, it’s clear the automaker is serious.
The EV6 has an attractive compact crossover SUV design and is based on the Global Modular Electric Platform (E-GMP). The top-of-the-line model comes with a 77.4 kWh battery, providing up to 317 miles of range.
5 Oullim Spirra EX Engines
Few gearboxes have heard of the Oullim Spirra, but those who have know that he eats Ferraris and Porsches for breakfast. The Spirra was designed by Korean designer Han-Chul Kim in the 90s, who wanted to build an exotic Korean sports car.
The Spirra was sold in four versions, the top model being the Spirra EX. Powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 producing 500 hp, the Spirra EX had a 0-60 of around 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 193 mph.
4 Hyundai Veloster Turbo R-Spec
Hyundai seems to have mastered the art of building a real hot hatch. The Veloster Turbo R-Spec might not be as revered as the i20N mentioned above, but it’s also a fantastic hot hatch that gives the Volkswagen Golf GTI good value for money.
Of all the models in the Veloster lineup, the Turbo R-Spec is arguably the most fun to drive. It comes with a 201-horsepower 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. It also has sport steering which comes in handy when cornering.
3 Genesis GV80
The demand for SUVs is still quite high in the United States, despite the eco-warriors who fight day and night against them. As such, Genesis decided to build their first SUV to take advantage of it, which resulted in the GV80.
The GV80 is synonymous with refinement and luxury. It is packed with premium features like a nappa leather upholstery, 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 21-speaker Lexicon audio system and electric side curtains. The GV80 is also quick, taking just over 5 seconds to hit 60 mph, thanks to its turbocharged 3.5-liter V6.
2 Kia K900
The K900 is the biggest and chicest Kia sedan you can buy, designed for gearboxes who want a full-size luxury sedan but don’t have enough money to splurge on the BMW 8 Series or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The K900 strikes the perfect balance between elegance and imposing presence with its sleek body shape, striking grille, 19-inch alloy wheels and duplex LED headlamps.
The latest K900 comes equipped with a 5.0-liter Tau GDi V8 engine that produces 419 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, making it pretty quick.
1 Hyundai Santa Fe
Unlike the aforementioned GV80, the Santa Fe is an SUV meant to offer buyers better value for money. It’s one of the cheapest SUVs you can buy today, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up a lot when it comes to class, gear, or other toys inside.
The heavily revised 2021 model is built on Hyundai’s new N3 platform to enable hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. The top-of-the-line model is powered by a mild hybrid powertrain that generates 277 hp, enough for decent performance.
Apparently, Toyoda is not only Toyota’s master driver, but also a master driver behind the wheel.
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