2019 Ford Fiesta vs. 2019 Kia Rio

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Fiesta’s blind spot mirrors use wide-angle convex mirrors mounted in the corner of each side view mirror to reveal objects that may be in the driver’s blind spots. The Rio doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

The Fiesta (except S) offers optional SYNC®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Rio doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Fiesta and the Rio have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available rear parking sensors.

Warranty

The Fiesta’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Rio runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Fiesta’s warranty.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Fiesta has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Rio doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Fiesta offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Rio doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Fiesta offers an optional sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Rio doesn’t offer an SMG.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Fiesta’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Rio (195/50R16 vs. 185/65R15).

The Fiesta’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Rio’s standard 65 series tires. The Fiesta’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Rio’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Fiesta offers optional 16-inch wheels. The Rio’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Fiesta has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Rio doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The Fiesta’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Rio doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The Fiesta’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (59.4% to 40.6%) than the Rio’s (61.9% to 38.1%). This gives the Fiesta more stable handling and braking.

The Fiesta Hatch handles at .81 G’s, while the Rio 5-Door pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Fiesta Hatch is quieter than the Rio 5-Door (75 vs. 82 dB).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Fiesta Hatch a Compact car, while the Rio 5-Door is rated a Small Station Wagon.

The Fiesta Sedan has .2 inches more front headroom and 1.5 inches more front legroom than the Rio Sedan.

The Fiesta Hatch has .2 inches more front headroom and 1.5 inches more front legroom than the Rio 5-Door.

Cargo Capacity

The Fiesta’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Rio LX doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Fiesta has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The Rio doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Fiesta SE/ST-Line’s available driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Rio S/EX’s power windows’ switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fiesta’s available exterior PIN entry system. The Rio doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.

Intelligent Access Key standard on the Fiesta Titanium allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Kia Rio doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Fiesta SE/ST-Line offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Rio.

The Fiesta SE/ST-Line’s optional automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Rio doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Fiesta has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Rio doesn’t offer rear vents.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the Fiesta SE/ST-Line. The Fiesta’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Rio doesn’t offer a navigation system.

With standard voice command, the Fiesta offers the driver hands free control of the radio and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Rio doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Fiesta owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Fiesta will cost $180 to $1035 less than the Rio over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Fiesta is less expensive to operate than the Rio because typical repairs cost less on the Fiesta than the Rio, including $1 less for a water pump, $1 less for front brake pads, $97 less for a starter, $102 less for fuel injection, $50 less for a fuel pump, $43 less for front struts and $35 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Ford Fiesta outsold the Kia Rio by over two to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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