2019 Hyundai Elantra GT vs. 2019 Kia Rio

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Elantra GT Sport’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Rio doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Elantra GT’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Rio doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Elantra GT’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Rio doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Elantra GT Sport’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Rio doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Elantra GT offers an optional Blue Link, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen 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 Elantra GT 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available crash mitigating brakes.

Warranty

The Elantra GT’s corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Rio’s (7/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Elantra GT’s reliability 18 points higher than the Rio.

Engine

The Elantra GT’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 32 more horsepower (162 vs. 130) and 31 lbs.-ft. more torque (150 vs. 119) than the Rio’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Elantra GT Sport’s standard 1.6 turbo 4 cyl. produces 71 more horsepower (201 vs. 130) and 76 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 119) than the Rio’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Hyundai Elantra GT (base engine) is faster than the Kia Rio (automatics tested):

 

Elantra GT

Rio

Zero to 30 MPH

3.3 sec

3.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.7 sec

9.6 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.6 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86 MPH

84 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Elantra GT has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Rio (14 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Hyundai Elantra GT higher (6 out of 10) than the Kia Rio (3). This means the Elantra GT produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Rio every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is optional on the Hyundai Elantra GT Sport, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Rio.

The Elantra GT offers an available 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.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Elantra GT Sport’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Rio:

 

Elantra GT Sport

Rio

Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

11.2 inches

8” drums

The Hyundai Elantra GT has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Rio. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Elantra GT stops shorter than the Rio:

 

Elantra GT

Rio

 

60 to 0 MPH

127 feet

131 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Elantra GT has larger tires than the Rio (225/45R17 vs. 185/65R15).

The Elantra GT’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Rio’s standard 65 series tires. The Elantra GT Sport’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Rio’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Elantra GT has standard 17-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Rio. The Elantra GT Sport offers optional 18-inch wheels.

The Hyundai Elantra GT’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Kia Rio only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Elantra GT Sport has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Kia Rio has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Elantra GT Sport has front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Elantra GT Sport flat and controlled during cornering. The Rio’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Elantra GT 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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Elantra GT’s wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the Rio (104.3 inches vs. 101.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Elantra GT is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Rio.

The Elantra GT Sport handles at .88 G’s, while the Rio 5-Door pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Elantra GT Sport executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Rio 5-Door (26.5 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 27.9 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Elantra GT a Mid-size car, while the Rio 5-Door is rated a Small Station Wagon.

The Elantra GT has 6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Rio 5-Door (96.5 vs. 90.5).

Cargo Capacity

The Elantra GT has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Rio 5-Door with its rear seat up (24.9 vs. 17.4 cubic feet). The Elantra GT has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Rio 5-Door with its rear seat folded (55.1 vs. 32.8 cubic feet).

The Elantra GT’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 Elantra GT 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 Elantra GT’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Rio S/EX.

The Elantra GT’s optional driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control. The Rio’s driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

The Proximity Key optional on the Elantra GT 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.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Elantra GT Sport detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Rio doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Elantra GT 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.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Elantra GT keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Rio doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Elantra GT has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Rio doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Elantra GT’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Rio doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Elantra GT’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 Elantra GT has available rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Rio doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Elantra GT Sport offers an optional Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Rio doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the Elantra GT. The Elantra GT’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 optional voice command, the Elantra GT 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.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Elantra GT, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Kia Rio isn't recommended.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Elantra GT as the 2012 North American Car of the Year. The Rio has never been chosen.

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Kia Rio by almost 9 to one during 2018.

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

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