2019 Toyota Yaris vs. 2019 Kia Rio

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the Yaris 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.


The Yaris’ 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 Yaris 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 Yaris’ warranty.


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 Yaris’ reliability 35 points higher than the Rio.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Yaris gets better fuel mileage than the Rio:








1.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/39 hwy



1.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

32 city/40 hwy




1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.

28 city/37 hwy


The Yaris offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and driving enjoyment. The Rio doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

Tires and Wheels

The Yaris LE/XLE’s 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 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Yaris LE/XLE has standard 16-inch wheels. The Rio’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Yaris’ turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Rio’s (32.2 feet vs. 33.5 feet).


The Toyota Yaris may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 350 pounds less than the Kia Rio.

Cargo Capacity

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


To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Yaris 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 Yaris’ 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 Yaris’ 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.

Pushbutton Start standard on the Yaris allows you to start the engine without removing a key from pocket or purse (Yaris LE/XLE’s Smart Key System 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 Yaris XLE’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 available for the Yaris detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Rio doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Yaris XLE’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.

With standard voice command, the Yaris 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 Yaris owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Yaris will cost $560 to $905 less than the Rio over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Yaris is less expensive to operate than the Rio because it costs $238 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Yaris than the Rio, including $34 less for a water pump, $180 less for a muffler, $26 less for front brake pads, $11 less for fuel injection and $174 less for a fuel pump.


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

The Toyota Yaris outsold the Kia Rio by 18% during 2018.

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

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