Kia vs. Honda: An Engine Shootout

Published: 03rd December 2010
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It has been argued that Kia and Honda are the same company, started at different times in different countries. This is perhaps an overstatement, but there are marked similarities between the two auto manufacturers. The Kia Rio engine compares well to the Honda Civic engine, and the Honda Accord engine compares well to the Kia Optima engine. But with both sets of vehicles, there are clear differences in quality that can be directly attributed to design and manufacturing experience. Any of the vehicles in question can be a reliable daily driver, but you need to know what to expect with each in a worst case scenario.

The Honda Civic engine and the Kia Rio engine have had a similar drive train evolution. The first Honda Civic engine was a tiny 1.2L engine (1973 model – the EB1). This was tiny compared to the monstrous engines being put in vehicles by the Big 3. Similarly, the Kia Rio engine was launched with a 1.5L engine in 2000, which was much smaller than the engines US and Japanese manufacturers were putting in their mainline vehicles. Kia couldn’t get away with a 1.2L engine, since the US wasn’t in the middle of an oil crisis. Instead, the Kia Rio engine chosen was a 1.5L engine. The first 1.5L Honda Civic engine was launched in 1975 – the 3BC carbureted.engine. It only took the Kia Rio 3 years to get a 1.6L engine, but the Honda Civic engine grew up to 1.6L in 1988 – 13 years after the 1.5L motor was launched.

While horsepower is similar in both motors, the Civic beats the Rio in torque.

The Honda Accord engine used in the debut 1976 model year was the 1.6L EF1. This contrasts sharply with the 2001 Kia Optima engine which was a whopping 2.4L (with a 2.5L V6 option available). This reflects the genre and prevailing market - in 1976, no Asian manufacturer could have sold large numbers of anything but a very fuel efficient car.

About: Thus, while both the Honda Accord engine and the Kia Optima engine were designed for vehicles that were supposed to be marketed to the same class, they were markedly different in original conception. Today, the Honda Accord has the

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