2019 Mazda 3 vs. 2019 Kia Rio

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Mazda 3 has standard Whiplash Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Rio doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Mazda 3 offers optional Rear Smart Brake Support that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Rio doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Mazda 3 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Rio doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’s 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 Mazda 3 offers an optional 360-Degree Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Rio only offers a rear monitor.

The Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’s 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 Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan)’s 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 Mazda 3 =’s 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 Mazda 3 has standard E911 Automatic Emergency Notification, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 Mazda 3 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 Mazda 3’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Rio runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Kia is ranked fifth.

Engine

The Mazda 3’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 56 more horsepower (186 vs. 130) and 67 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 119) than the Rio’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 3 Premium/Hatchback/AWD’s fuel efficiency. The Rio doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Mazda 3 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Rio (13.2 vs. 11.9 gallons).

Transmission

The Mazda 3 offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Rio doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mazda 3 AWD’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Rio:

 

Mazda 3

Mazda 3 AWD

Rio

Front Rotors

11.02 inches

11.61 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

10.43 inches

10.43 inches

8” drums

The Mazda 3 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.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Mazda 3 has larger standard tires than the Rio (205/60R16 vs. 185/65R15). The Mazda 3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Rio (215/45R18 vs. 185/65R15).

The Mazda 3 Sedan’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 Mazda 3’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Rio’s 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Mazda 3 Sedan has standard 16-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the Rio. The Mazda 3 offers optional 18-inch wheels.

The Mazda 3’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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Mazda 3’s wheelbase is 5.7 inches longer than on the Rio (107.3 inches vs. 101.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 3 is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the Rio.

Passenger Space

The Mazda 3 Sedan has 2.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Rio Sedan (92.8 vs. 89.9).

The Mazda 3 Sedan has .2 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more front hip room, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Rio Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Mazda 3’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 Mazda 3 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.

When two different drivers share the Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Rio doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Mazda 3 Premium has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and warning light readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Rio doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Mazda 3’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 Mazda 3’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Rio S/EX’s power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

Push Button Start standard on the Mazda 3 allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse (Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s Advanced Keyless Entry and Start will also allow unlocking the driver’s door and trunk without taking your keys out). The Kia Rio doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Rio’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan) detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Rio doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Mazda 3 Premium has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Rio doesn’t offer cornering lights.

When the Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Rio’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Mazda 3 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Rio offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Mazda 3 Preferred/Premium has standard heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Rio.

The Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium 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 Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s standard 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 Mazda 3 Hatchback/Select/Preferred/Premium’s standard 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 Mazda 3 has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Rio doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Mazda 3 (except Base Sedan) has a standard Radar 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 Mazda 3. The Mazda 3’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 Mazda 3 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

The Mazda 3 outsold the Kia Rio by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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