Believe it or not, the Kia Rio has existed in the U.S. longer than any other subcompact in its class. However, unlike government jobs, cars don’t get put in the top ranks based on the amount of time spent in the segment.
This means that the Kia Rio has consistently been overshadowed by veterans like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris; with the former typically being the class leader. We figured that the Rio can’t be that bad, though, since it’s lasted this long. So we had to wonder: Is the Kia Rio actually worth buying over the Honda Fit?
Value is important
The subcompact category is all about value and, luckily, that’s what the Kia Rio brings to the table. No, it doesn’t come with a host driver safety aids like the Honda Fit does, but it does do everything else pretty well, as long as you don’t like having to choose between a lot of options.
For starters, you can choose between a hatchback or sedan body style, then you can choose between the base LX trim or the higher S trim level.
And after that, you’ll only pay somewhere between the starting price of $15,800 and $18,000, depending on the body style, trim, and options that you choose.
Value isn’t just about what you get for the money, it’s also how you get it. And with the Rio, there’s no need to rack your brain with hefty decisions.
So what does it come with?
A base Rio LX sedan comes with a tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, a satellite radio, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth. While stepping up to an S trim will give you a center armrest, a split-folding rear seat, a 7-inch touch screen a USB charger, and cruise control.
And if you want more than that, then opting for the available Technology package will give you forward collision assistance, LED headlights, and Apple Carplay/Android Auto.
What’s under the hood?
The Kia Rio is powered by a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 120 horsepower and 112 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a CVT transmission.
It’s not exactly an asphalt burner, as 60 mph is realized in about 9 seconds, however, it does hold a candle the Honda Fit’s 1.5-liter engine that puts out the same amount of power.
Fuel economy is about the same between the two cars as well as they both achieve 36 mpg in combined driving.
But is it better than the Honda Fit?
Trim level for trim level, price for price, you’ll get the same type of features between the two cars. Unless you really need the cargo and storage solutions of the Honda Fit, which comes with the “Magic Seat” and up to 52 cubic feet of cargo capacity.
By comparison, the Kia Rio has 32 cubic feet if you opt for the more-practical hatchback design and fold the seats down.
Cargo room aside, if you’re looking to spend less than $18,000 on a commuter car, then yes, the Kia Rio is worth buying over the Honda Fit. On top of that, you’ll get Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile warranty to back it all up.
However, if you’re looking for a commuter with a host of driving features like adaptive cruise and lane assist, along with other tech-savvy features and the option of leather seats, then you might be better off with the Honda Fit.