2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T vs 2014 Kia Optima SX
2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T vs 2014 Kia Optima SX. Click image to enlarge

Article by Jacob Black, photos by Jonathan Yarkony

We weren’t sure how to describe the relationship between the 2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T and 2014 Kia Optima SX in this article. Let’s just say that in some parts of the world these two are allowed to get married. And that those are the parts of the world we recommend you stay away from.

Both are mid-size sedans, both are feature-packed, both sport an impressive 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder putting out 274 hp at 6,000 rpm and 269 lb-ft at 1,650. They are also both built on the same platform and share a 2,795 mm wheelbase – but there are subtle practical differences.

The physical appearance of these two is radically different, though both the interior and exterior of the Hyundai and Kia are worlds apart in design philosophy.

These kissing cousins are also well matched on price. The Kia comes in at an as-tested $36,280 and the Hyundai at $35,949. Once again our handy Pop Quiz is here to help you decide – 2014 Kia Optima SX or 2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T?

Question 1: Your daily dress code mantra is:
A: Practicality: I dress for the job at hand and make sure my clothes don’t get in the way.
B: Style: I want to look my best, who cares if these shoes aren’t good for snow? I look good and that’s the main thing.

If you answered A: You’ll enjoy the increased visibility offered by the Hyundai Sonata. With a smaller C-pillar, lower waistline and lower rear deck, the Sonata gives a better view of the world around you. Designers have aimed for practicality, even if that means throwing in a dorky-looking little window behind the rear door. The flatter design also means the Sonata enjoys more interior volume (2,939 L vs 2,893) and more cargo volume (464L vs 437).
If you answered B: Who needs to see things? Nothing good is going to be behind you anyway! You’ll like the crisp, clean lines of the Optima’s filled-in C-pillar. It gives the appearance of a sportier, more focused car. In short, it looks hot. And who cares about cargo volume? As long as my bags from The Bay fit in there I’m good.

2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T2014 Kia Optima SX
2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T & 2014 Kia Optima SX. Click image to enlarge

Question 2: My favourite piece of classical music is…
A: The Blue Danube – Strauss is a wonderful chap.
B: Classical what now?

If you answered A: It’s the Sonata for you. With Hyundai’s “fluidic sculpture” design philosophy splashed across everything from the petal-shaped accents in the rims to the roofline and even the bonnet sculpting, the Sonata is all about “swoopy” and soft and gentle. You might enjoy the rounded edges, curves and fluidic lines. Also, “Sonata” means “musical composition”.
If you answered B: The Kia uses sharp creases and straight lines at the core of its design philosophy. The purposeful and straightforward design ethos is alluring and enjoyable, but it isn’t for the softly spoken classical music set. The Optima is modern, bold and brash.

2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T
2014 Kia Optima SX
2014 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T & 2014 Kia Optima SX. Click image to enlarge

Question 3: I am a vampire…
A: True
B: False

If you answered A: It’s likely you have pretty excellent night vision – you’ll probably be fine with the Kia Optima’s high intensity low beam lights. You’ll probably also think a grid of four LED fog lights look menacing – in a good way. You’ll also appreciate the smaller sunroof – what with your UV aversion and all.
If you answered B: Your night vision might just be regular human grade. The Xenon high intensity lights in the Sonata might give you the visual edge needed to stay ahead of the rather dangerous bloke who answered “True”. You might also enjoy the additional sunlight offered by the larger sunroof.

Question 4: My shape can be best described as…
A: Lithe and slender – kind of like a wood nymph.
B: Rotund and generous – kind of like a sea lion.

If you answered A: Getting in and out of cars is no problem for you. They’re all much of a muchness. You could live comfortable with either of these two.
If you answered B: Like your writer, you understand the value of a wide entry point. With Kia’s automatically sliding front seat, egress and ingress is much easier.

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