Most Reliable And Worst Hyundai Engines Of All Time

Over the past 10 years, the cars that come to the attention of Korea, Hyundai and Kia, have matured and earned their reputation. Their endurance also increased. This is largely due to successful engines, both petrol and turbo diesel.

Most Reliable Hyundai Engine

Kia and Hyundai have taken a big step forward in recent years. First, they adapted their cars to the needs of European customers; second, they are covered by the old warranty (initially 5 full years, then 7 years); third, especially for the need for new models, they completely modernized the machine range, introducing many changes in construction and production technology.

Most Reliable Kia And Hyundai Engines

In effect, Both gasoline and turbo diesel engines are successful engines and most of them rarely struggle with major damage.

All units in recent years are Korean designs themselves. Robert Jańczyk, a longtime employee of Kia, our friend, who specializes in repairing Korean-owned cars, helped us choose a recommended unit: “When it comes to petrol in a car several years old, it’s actually hard to identify the broken unit.”

Both the Kappa and Gamma series, which debuted in different models, were offered since the second half of the last decade and were considered successful. The turbo in the popular 1.4 and 1.6 (U series) is also refined and simple in terms of construction, although I rated the 1.6 CRDi a little higher. The Turbodiesel 2.0 R-series, which debuted in 2009, also performed very well.

1.2 Kappa Engine

The Kappa 1.2 series engine is one of the most important – it is difficult to pinpoint repeated defects. The motor works well under the hoods of class A and B cars. The 1.2 R4 Kappa unit (3-cylinder 1.1 also comes from this series) is a modern structure designed to power city cars in segments A and B.

It has an aluminum hull, DOHC system, multi-point injection and chain timing drive. Initially, the engine developed 78 HP, modernized over time, including acquiring a CVVT variable valve timing system (Kappa II), which increased its efficiency (lower fuel consumption, higher power – 86 HP). A further minor modification was made to the unit in 2014 (adaptation to the Euro 6 standard), which resulted in a slight reduction in power – the 75 and 84 HP versions.

In general, the 1.2 engine is a successful drive, providing good dynamics with reasonable fuel consumption (for example, according to the manufacturer’s guarantee, the i20 86-horsepower reaches “one hundred” in 12.7 seconds and average fuel consumption of about 5 l / 100 km). The only thing that can be accused in everyday use is excessive noise after exceeding 3,500 rpm.

We have few objections to durability – it is an almost failure-free engine (including high durability of the piston and crank system, cylinder bearing surfaces, piston rings, chain timing drive). We only heard a signal about the noisy manual gearbox bearing.

1.2 Kappa Engine Advantages

The favorable relationship between performance and fuel consumption in the version with CVVT, more than satisfactory durability, good cooperation with LPG.

1.2 Kappa Engine Disadvantages

Not the best access to replacements compared to its competitors, average dynamics and sizable fuel consumption in the 78 horsepower version.

The Kappa series engines (1.1 R3 and 1.2 R4) were considered a success. We recommend version 1.2 of the CVVT, which combines good dynamics with reasonable combustion.

How many oil changes?

Initially, it was advisable to change the oil every 15th, then every 20,000 km, then every 30,000 km. Mechanics recommend changing the oil every 15,000 km.

Good for LPG

Engine 1.2 works well on LPG, for example Kia offers a factory BRC kit (installed in showroom), prepared for Picanto and Rio.

Long lasting time drive

The Kappa series engines (1.1 R3 and 1.2 R4) use a chain that turns out to be durable for time drive. We also haven’t heard of any problems with tensioners or gears.

1.2 Kappa Engine Gearbox

Manual gearboxes (each with 5 gears) are durable, well-graded, and work fairly accurately. It just happens that the release pad makes noise.

The automatic gearbox and the 1.2 engine are rarely seen. It is a conventional 4-speed “automatic” that increases fuel consumption and lowers performance, but doesn’t break too much.

1.2 Kappa Engine Installed on:

Kia Rio III

Under the hood of the Rio III there are two power versions of the 1.2 CVVT engine – first the 86-horsepower variant, and then (in 2015) the 84-horsepower, meeting the Euro 6 standard. 86-horsepower Rio to “hundreds” accelerates in 13.1 seconds and with an average consumption of gasoline of 5.1 l / 100 km (5.0 l with start-stop).

Hyundai i20 I

Initially, the Hyundai i20 was powered by version 1.2 / 78 HP, changing to version 86 HP (CVVT) during the facelift. We recommend the i20 after modernization not only because of a more efficient engine, but also because of corrosion problems.

Kia Picanto II

The 2nd generation Picanto appeared in 2011. During the production period (until 2017), the car was offered with Kappa petrol (with CVVT) – 1.1 / 66 and 1.2 / 86 hp. The 1.2 / 86 HP variant, from 0 to 100 km / h, accelerates in 11.9 seconds (car: 13.7 seconds) with an average fuel consumption of 4.7 (5.6) l / 100 km.

1.4 And 1.6 Gamma Engine

Many Hyundai and Kia models are powered by the Gamma 1.4 and 1.6 series engines. This is a successful design, albeit sensitive to neglect of service and poor oil quality. Until 2006, Alpha series petrol engines were used in medium-sized cars which caught the attention of Korea. With the debut of the Kia cee’d and the Hyundai i30, the new 1.4 and 1.6 Gamma engines were introduced, with production in Slovakia (Žilina), China, Korea and India.

The engine uses two-axle overhead (DOHC), chain time drive, in addition, all units have an adjustable intake valve opening phase, and from 2011 on some versions – as well as an exhaust phase. Since 2010, direct injection (GDI) versions have been introduced successively, and over time also use a turbocharger.

In everyday use, the Gamma engine with indirect injection is accused of having a fairly high fuel consumption (higher than stated by the manufacturer), while the dynamics must be considered correct (for example a 122-horsepower cee’d accelerates to the “hundreds” after 10.8 seconds).

When it comes to durability, there are more errors in the timing chain drive – the tensioner failed. According to mechanics, this is due to negligence in servicing and using low quality engine oil, which also leads to sticky piston rings and excessive oil consumption.

1.4 And 1.6 Gamma Engines Advantages

Fairly high durability – not a typical breakdown, great popularity in the Korean concern model, relatively simple structure.

1.4 And 1.6 Gamma Engines Disanvantages

Fuel consumption is slightly higher than competing engines, expensive genuine parts, the risk of time chain drive failure.

The 1.4 and 1.6 petrol engines of the Gamma series have the same cylinder diameter (77.0 mm), but have different steps.

Simple structure

Gamma motors from the start of production are characterized by a simple structure. This is a bike that is easy to repair, but not always cheap (expensive parts).

The more often the better

As in the Kappa 1.2 engine, also on the 1.4 and 1.6 Gamma engines the oil must be replaced every 15 thousand. km (in the GDI version: every 10,000 km!).

Good oil is important!

Gamma engines do not tolerate low quality oil. For indirect injection machines, the manufacturer provides 5W-30 oil, meeting SL (API) and A5 (ACEA) requirements.

1.4 And 1.6 Gamma Engine Gearbox

The manual transmission is less of an emergency, but the bearings wear out after higher mileage. Usually they have 5 gears, but for example on a 99 HP version of the 1.4 engine, a 6 speed gear is also used.

Four-speed “automatic” is rare in 1.4 and 1.6 – durable enough, but significantly increases fuel consumption.

1.4 And 1.6 Gamma Engine Installed on:

Hyundai i20 I

The first generation i20 used the Gamma 1.4 series engine with 100 HP and 1.6, expanding 126 HP. Hyundai i20 with 1.4 engine accelerates to “one hundred” in 11.6 seconds (with automatic transmission: 12.9 seconds), while the 1.6 version – in 9.5 seconds (11.4 seconds).

Kia Soul I

The Soul is an original car, designed in a kei-car style. The 1.6 engine was placed under the hood – first 126 HP (CVVT), then 140 HP (GDI). The weaker variant of the “hundred” accelerates in 11 seconds and burns an average of 6.5 liters / 100 km, the more powerful ones – 10.4 seconds and 6.4 liters / 100 km.

Kia Cee’d II

The Cee’d I engines are 1.4 and 1.6 CVVT, and the 2nd generation models – 1.4 CVVT (99 HP), 1.6 GDI (135 HP) and 1.6 T-GDI (204 HP). The Cee’d II with a 1.4 engine accelerates from 0 to 100 km / h after almost 13 seconds and the average fuel consumption is about 6 l / 100 km – manufacturer data.

1.6 CRDi Engine

It is often forgotten, and it is one of the best small capacity diesel engines. The advantage? Simple structure and good durability. This machine career has been going on for more than 10 years. The 1.6 CRDi turbo diesel comes from the U series (other versions: 1.1 R3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.7 R4) and is one of the most successful designs – rated higher than the 1.4 CRDi and 1.7 CRDi versions.

Its structure is based on a cast iron hull connected to an aluminum head. The engine is equipped with a common rail injection system, as well as a 16-valve cylinder head and a two-chain driven camshaft (note: some versions of the 2007 1.6 / 90hp unit accept toothed belts).

The positives from the point of view of the potential cost of repairs are the lack of a double-mass flywheel, as well as the use of the Bosch injection system (for example in the 1.4 CRDi there is a Delphi system, where there was a fuel pump leak and an injector failure).

Overall, the engine durability of the 1.6 CRDi is very high. Yes, initially the main problem was a faulty turbocharger and a quick burnt glow plug, but these defects can be resolved over time.

The newer 1.6 CRDi engines (after 2010) are considered free of serious failures, there are also no major problems with the operation of the DPF, and one of the more frequent problems is a clogged filter in the tank (bio-additive effect) – We recommend cleaning it every 30,000 km.

1.6 CRDi Engine Advantages

High overall durability for modern diesel (especially after 2010), wide power range, reasonable operating costs.

1.6 CRDi Engine Disadvantages

The turbocharger did not last long on the engine from the early years of production, the fuel consumption was much higher than what the manufacturer had promised.

U series engines have different displacements (from 1.1 to 1.7) and are available as 3 or 4 cylinders.

The Mass Flywheel 1.6 CRDi (and others in the U series) lacks 2 bulk flywheels. They are usually simple in structure and have a reasonable repair cost.

Diesel particulate filter

Often found on cars manufactured after 2010. While unlike urban use, these filters are not as heavy as, for example, at Opel.

Watch out for the turbines!

On the 2006-09 engine, the turbine broke down (sometimes it was replaced under warranty) – it is worth remembering when buying a car from these years.

1.6 CRDi Engine Gearbox

Initially, a 5-speed manual gearbox was installed, later – with 6 gears. Its staying power does not cause serious problems.

Until 2015, conventional “robots” were used. Depending on the power version with the 1.6 CRDi engine, there is either a conventional 4-speed and 6-speed automatic gearbox or a 7-speed dual clutch (DCT) transmission.

1.6 CRDi Engine Installed on:

Kia Venga

This model uses only one 128 hp version of the 1.6 CRDi turbo diesel. The Venga 1.6 CRDi / 128 KM consumes an average of 4.7 l / 100 km (with start-stop: 4.4 l), accelerates to 182 km / h and accelerates to “one hundred” in 11.1 seconds.

Hyundai i30 II

In the 2nd generation “i30” you will find three versions of the 1.6 CRDi engine power: 110, 128 and from 2015 also 136 hp. The 110 HP i30 consumes an average of 4.0 l / 100 km and accelerates to “a hundred” in 11.5 seconds, the 128 HP Version is 0.6 seconds faster and consumes 0.1 l / 100 km more fuel.

Kia Cee’d I

The 1.6 CRDi engine is available in several power versions – initially 90 and 116 HP, then also in a 128 HP variant. The 116 HP turbo diesel engine accelerates the Cee’d to 188 km / h and accelerates from 0-100 km / h in 11.5 seconds and the average fuel consumption is 4.5 l / 100 km.

2.0 CRDi Engine

The 2.0 CRDi diesel engine of the R family, which debuted in 2009, is still receiving a lot of praise. It is a modern, efficient and – importantly – durable engine.

Initially (2001-2010), Hyundai and Kia cars used a 2 liter “D” – developed by VM.

In 2009, the place was replaced by a 2.0 R series motorbike made by a Korean. And while the two engines have 4 cylinders, common rail injection, turbocharger and 16V cylinder head differ significantly.

The D Series features a single overhead camshaft driven by a toothed belt. The hull is made of cast iron, and the head is made of light alloy.

On the other hand, the 2-liter R series (also version 2.2) is an aluminum construction with two camshafts that drive the chain. Overall, it’s a much more modern machine, with lower internal resistance, is light and efficient (power versions: 136, 150 and 184 HP).

“Importantly, the type R unit turned out to be solid. We recorded a mileage of more than 350,000 km without failure. The underside of the engine, time chain drive and injection system are durable” – said Robert Jańczyk.

The only repetitive damage is a breakdown of the pulley on the shaft (often at a distance of 80-100 thousand km), sometimes the “double mass” (150-180 thousand km) also has to be replaced.

Against this background, the previous engines were worse off – low durability of the double mass flywheel, problems with the differential pressure sensor (DPF), flap adjusters in the manifold and EGR.

2.0 CRDi Eengine Advantages

High durability, simple structure means low operating costs, good performance, favorable fuel consumption.

2.0 CRDi Engine Disadvantages

Troublesome particulate filters, expensive replacement of piezoelectric injectors, often very high mileage (not only in old cars).

The R series engines are Korean designs themselves. They use aluminum fuselage and heads and time-chain drives.

Strong and Modern

The big advantage of the 2-liter R series (as well as the 2.2 version) is its durability. Machines rarely suffer major damage.

Pulley Only

One of the few common faults with R-series motors is damage to the pulley. Usually this element fails once in 80,000-100,000 km.

Durable Chain

Timing drives use chains that are proven to last, of course, assuming the car is used normally and the oil is changed regularly.

2.0 CRDi Engine Gearbox

Manual transmissions rarely suffer serious glitches – they are considered solid. Only the 6 speed version is available with the 2 liter engine.

The automatic gearbox (6 speed) is available in 136 and 184 horsepower versions. This is a sturdy conventional gearbox, but the conditions are very much dependent on how it is used.

2.0 CRDi Engine Installed on:

Kia Sportage III

The R-series diesel can be found in the third generation of the Kia Sportage (2010-15). The 2.0 engine was available in 136 and 184 hp. The weaker version to “hundred” accelerates in 10.8 seconds (4WD: 11.3 seconds) and burns an average of 6.5 l / 100 km. More powerful performance (respectively): 9.8 seconds and 6.0 l / 100 km.

Hyundai ix35

Like its twin Sportage III, the Hyundai ix35 also uses a 2 liter engine with 136 and 184 hp. Weighing 1,600 kg, the ix35 2.0 CRDi 4×4 in the 136-hp version from 0 to 100 km / h accelerates in 11.3 seconds, while the 184-hp version – in 9.8 seconds.

Kia Sorento

The R-series diesel made its debut under the hood of the Kia Sorento, but in version 2.2. A 150 horsepower 2 liter bottle appeared in 2011 (select markets). Sorento 2.0 / 150 hp to reach 100 km / h takes 10.8 seconds and the average fuel consumption is 6.1 l / 100 km.

Worst Kia and Hyundai Engines

  • 1.6 GDI: It’s quite fuel efficient and dynamic, but the early production version is not without its drawbacks.
  • 1.7 CRDi: we have recorded cases of head gasket damage – for example in Kia Optimie.
  • 2.9 TD / CRDi: the TD version is more flop, but the newer CRDi version is also unreliable.

The old petrol engine (Kappa) was less damaged, but now there are problems with the equipment, errors in the control electronics and increased oil consumption.

Among the older diesel engines, we advise you to be careful with purchasing a model with a 2 liter CRDi (VM design), because although, yes, this is not a particularly emergency engine, it struggles with some characteristic defects. In addition, many cars with this engine have come a long way and require replacement, for example, a turbocharger.

The same is true of the older 2.9 TD turbodiesel, which, in addition to the failures associated with high mileage, struggles with some inherent defects (e.g. faulty oil pump drive, which often causes engine spasms).

We rated the newer units much higher, although among them were a series of buggy machines with certain problems. So, in the first 1.6 GDI engines, we recorded several cases of bushing turning after about 100,000 km. To clarify – this is not a mass issue, but it does exist and needs to be known about it.

After all, Kia recommends an oil change interval of 15,000 km, and mechanics recommends changing the oil every 10,000-12.00 km.

Turbodiesel 1.7 CRDi is also a frequent problem. A number of machines have entered the market, where the under-head gasket is damaged (for example in the Kia Optimie it occurs after 60-90 thousand km).

A typical symptom of this type of error – oil goes into the cooler or the coolant runs out. One of our readers had to add 2 liters of fluid per 1000 km. In his case, the short block was replaced, and in another case – the head itself with the corrected gasket and pins was used.

Best Kia and Hyundai Engines

We recommend the 1.2 and 1.6 CVVT for gasoline engines, and for the 1.6 and 2.0 R series diesel engines.

Of course, despite the fact that gasoline and diesel engines are durable machines, Koreans do not avoid mistakes (for example in the 1.7 diesel problem with the gasket burning under the head). Moreover, many cars have traveled quite a long way, gasoline 1.4 and 1.6 (Gamma series) with a distance of 170,000-200,000 km, sometimes the timing chain drive has to be replaced.

Change the oil every 15,000 km!

Keep in mind that routine service is important from a resilience point of view. The mechanic recommends using high-quality oil and changing it every 15,000 km – this prevents, for example, problems with the timing drive in the aforementioned Gamma engine.


The last few years have been successful for Hyundai and Kia. The models of both brands are very popular in the market. This is due to many factors, including the successful introduction of powertrains.

In principle, all engines (petrol and diesel) offered in the last decade have turned out to be successful and deserve attention. Their main advantages are simple structure and excellent durability (with a few minor exceptions).

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3 thoughts on “Most Reliable And Worst Hyundai Engines Of All Time”

  1. This is a ridiculous article they have had to recall hundreds of thousands of engines, my 2012 Santa Fe threw a rod and broke a hole in the block.

    • My 2013 Santa Fe just crapped out. Mechanic said I was driving with low oil. Where was the idiot light for that?? Nowhere… Now I get to fork out $8500 for a new rebuilt engine! Im not done paying off my car! AND the V-6 engine has been discontinued. I feel so “lucky” having chosen this car…..

  2. You appear to be operating in a vacuum with this article.
    The records (and class action lawsuit) would suggest much resides outside your scope of awareness of the Hyundai petrol engines.


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