Hyundai and Kia make a name for Korean manufacturers
Although the two manufacturers (Kia in particular) can be considered as niche, recent accolades would argue otherwise as Hyundai was awarded Best Overall Manufacturer and Kia's Rio supermini was awarded Power Car of the Year.
The winners were voted for by more than 1,000 dealers across the UK and housed entries from over 200 different suppliers and companies.
As well as being from a small manufacturing province, Hyundai and Kia are usually considered as underdogs in the current market. Similar manufacturers, with similar models on offer, typically take a bigger share of sales- Ford being a prime example.
But as readers were asked to "put their franchise and personal prejudices to one side", Hyundai and Kia came out on top.
With their new model releases catching the attention of the media, the South Korean brands have embarked on somewhat of an upward gradient in terms of popularity and desirability in the last year or so.
Recently, Hyundai has taken to the stage with an array of new models, including the new i30 and Veloster. As well as offering the trademark Hyundai style with strong bony body contours, each of the new range additions present unique features.
The new i30 offers a snug hatchback shape as well as a 108bhp 1.6-litre diesel powertrain that emits CO2 emissions as low as 97g/km, ultimately offering a family demographic to the Hyundai showroom. Its £14,500 price tag doesn't go amiss either as it puts it on par with the Ford Focus.
The Veloster sports coupe on the other hand is a gadget packed model as it offers just two trims. This makes equipment on the standard 'Veloster' trim plentiful as it includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, Hill-start Assist function and a seven-inch media touchscreen. The Veloster is also competitively priced at £18,000, which is cheaper than its Astra GTC contender.
Although the Kia Rio supermini was handed the Power Car of the Year award, the increasing popularity of Kia's entire range has been the catalyst for the Rio's success. With the introduction of the Sportage SUV in 2010 and the new Optima saloon this year (the first Kia saloon in the UK) Kia has broadened its market appeal and expanded on its previously small-car-dominated range.
But when it comes to small supermini's and city cars, Kia has more than proved itself with its Rio and Picanto models, as low emissions, low price and stylish appeal have seen them fend off competition from the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Fiat 500.