2019 Toyota Corolla vs. 2019 Kia Rio

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats (WIL), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WIL system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Rio doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Corolla’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 Corolla’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.

Both the Corolla 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 and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Rio.

There are over 59 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Corolla’s warranty.

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 Corolla’s reliability 39 points higher than the Rio.

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

Engine

The Corolla’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (132 vs. 130) and 9 lbs.-ft. more torque (128 vs. 119) than the Rio’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Corolla LE Eco’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 10 more horsepower (140 vs. 130) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (126 vs. 119) than the Rio’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The Corolla has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Rio (13.2 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

The Corolla offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Rio doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Corolla SE/XSE has standard antilock 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 Corolla has larger standard tires than the Rio (195/65R15 vs. 185/65R15). The Corolla SE/XSE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Rio (215/45R17 vs. 185/65R15).

The Corolla SE/XSE’s 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 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Corolla SE/XSE has standard 17-inch wheels. The Rio’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.

The Toyota Corolla’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

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Corolla’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Rio (106.3 inches vs. 101.6 inches).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Corolla a Mid-size car, while the Rio Sedan is rated a Compact.

The Corolla has 7.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Rio Sedan (97.5 vs. 89.9).

The Corolla has .2 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 7.9 inches more rear legroom and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Rio Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Corolla’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 Corolla 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 Corolla’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 Corolla’s 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.

The Smart Key System optional on the Corolla (except L/LE/LE Eco) 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.

Consumer Reports rated the Corolla’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Rio’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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

The Corolla XLE/XSE 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 Corolla LE/XLE/SE/XSE 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 Corolla LE/XLE/SE/XSE’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 Corolla 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 Corolla has a standard Dynamic 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 with audible turn-by-turn directions, a GPS navigation system is available on the Corolla (except L). The Corolla’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 Corolla 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.

Model Availability

The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan, four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Kia Rio isn’t available as a four door hatchback.

Economic Advantages

The Corolla will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Corolla will retain 50.79% to 52.37% of its original price after five years, while the Rio only retains 36.09% to 44.46%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Corolla is less expensive to operate than the Rio because it costs $225 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Corolla than the Rio, including $17 less for a muffler, $12 less for front brake pads and $9 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Corolla as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Kia Rio isn't recommended.

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Kia Rio by over thirteen to one during 2018.

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

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