Buying Guides

The 5 Best Korean Cars Made Today

The Land of the Morning Calm Stirs Things Up

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Not that long ago, Korean cars were seen mostly as economy cars that you had to buy because you couldn't afford Japanese or German. That's no longer the case because the main Korean brands (Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis) have all moved to the forefront of styling and technology.

2023 Hyundai Ioniq 6


for Sedan lovers

  • PROS: Fresh styling inside and out, great range, rewarding driving experience, beautiful cabin, brilliant lighting.
  • CONS: Mileage drops quite a bit with all-wheel drive, infotainment isn't up to snuff.

The Ioniq 6 is one of the most original vehicles we've driven this year, and that includes not just EVs but gas-powered cars, too. The AWD version might lose range (270 miles) compared to the RWD (361 miles) model, but it's still good for most drivers. What impresses the most, however, is the way the car looks inside and out. The sleek exterior styling looks like nothing else on the road, and the modern interior is a sight to behold. It comes with standard features like 8-way adjustable front seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, twin 12.3" digital screens, intelligent lighting, and DC fast charging capability.

2023 Genesis GV70


for luxury lovers

  • PROS: Powerful engine choices, drives like a champ, looks like no other luxury crossover made today, opulent interior handily beats European competitors.
  • CONS: Tight second row, infotainment controller and shifter too similar in shape and location, no wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, so-so fuel economy.

The Koreans have a winner on their hands that can go up against the likes of the Porsche Macan. The GV70 looks muscular and refined, and its interior might just be the best one in the compact sport-luxury crossover segment. Two engines are potent and deliver the driving goods. The 2.5T offers up to 300 horsepower, and the 3.5T delivers 375, both with all-wheel drive standard. Step inside, and you'll find a truly special interior with appointments that make the Germans look like they're scrimping. Standard equipment includes touch-sensitive door handles, heated steering wheel, wireless phone charger, Wireless phone charger for the front seat, adaptive cruise control, Genesis Digital Key, heated/ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats.

2023 Hyundai Palisade


for those who hate minivans

  • PROS: Refresh makes it finally look better in front, palatial and spacious interior, smooth powertrain, impressive standard feature set, top safety scores.
  • CONS: Infotainment system needs better responsiveness, lackluster pushbutton gear selector, tight door pockets.

The 2022 Palisade was lacking one major thing: an attractive front end. Hyundai responded for the 2023 model year with a totally new grille and updated headlights that give it a more cohesive look that befits the brand's biggest SUV. The Palisade, however, is easily more than just a pretty face. Sibling to the also excellent Kia Telluride, the Palisdae is more refined and sophisticated with a more upscale interior despite sharing the same smooth V6 powertrain. The Palisade comes standard with three roomy rows, full LED exterior lighting, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, roof rails, Hyundai Digital Key, 2nd-row captain's chairs, and a 12.3" infotainment touchscreen.

2023 Kia Sportage PHEV

  • PROS: Futuristic styling looks great, powertrain provides punch and 34 miles of electric-only range, cabin hits above its price point.
  • CONS: So-so efficiency for a PHEV, floaty in the turns, climate and infotainment control swap takes some getting used to.

The redesigned Sportage is the best the model has ever been. Not only does it look amazing inside and out, it boasts and impressive array of materials and technology, making it stand out among its competitors. The PHEV powertrain offers up 261 horses, and it gets up to speed quickly, as well as providing a commuter-friendly 34 miles of range on electricity alone. This means you can drive to and from work, plug it in overnight and not use gas all week long. The cabin is one of the best in the business with an open layout, roomy second row, and top-notch materials for the price. Standard features include all-wheel drive with locking differential, panoramic sunroof with power shade, smart power tailgate, LED exterior lighting, dual-zone automatic climate control, 12.3" digital touchscreen display with navigation, wireless phone charger, and great safety features like Lane Keeping & Follow Assist and Automatic Emergency Braking.

2023 Hyundai Elantra N


for weekend track hounds

  • PROS: Incredibly sporty driving experience, seriously quick, seriously capable in the turns, racy interior, a real manual transmission.
  • CONS: Polarizing grille, some cheap interior bits, can't get rid of the red exterior trim.

The Elantra N represents one of the best performance buys in the automotive industry. Not only does its 276-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four provide quick 0-60 mph acceleration (5.1 seconds), but the Elantra N is also truly capable in the turns having been developed on Germany's Nurburging. You can rope your own gears with a 6-speed manual or go with a quick-shifting 8-speed dual clutch automatic with paddle shifters. We say go with the stick. Standard equipment includes an N Corner Carving Differential, full LED exterior lighting, heated side mirrors, heated front Alcantara insert sport seats, a 10.25-inch high-resolution touchscreen with navigation, and a Bose premium audio system with 8 speakers and subwoofer.

Why are Korean car so good?

  • Cutting edge styling
  • Premium quality interiors
  • Excellent standard features other brands make optional
  • Top ratings among automotive critics