The 2020 Kia Rio Just Can’t Compare to the Hyundai Elantra

There are plenty of compact cars on the market vying for our attention, and they’re an excellent option for drivers looking for affordable transportation. Which one is the best choice? Consumer reports ran a series of tests to compare several popular models, such as the 2020 Kia Rio and the 2020 Hyundai Elantra. When all was said and done, there was a clear winner.  

The Kia Rio vs the Hyundai Elantra

Consumer Reports compared several categories of cars, including compact cars. When looking at the 2020 Kia Rio versus the 2020 Hyundai Elantra, they decided that the Elantra was better overall. The reasons for this were numerous, which included ride comfort, handling, and interior space. 

Both Kia and Hyundai are well known for their generous warranties- both companies offer 10 year/ 100,000-mile limited warranties. Kia also offers a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and roadside assistance up to 60,000 miles. Hyundai does a little better, adding five years of roadside assistance. In this category, the Elantra also nudges out the Rio as a better choice. 

The 2020 Kia Rio pros and cons

Reviewers found the 2020 Kia Rio to be very basic. The Rio has some positive points, including excellent fuel economy at an overall 28 miles per gallon. They also liked the easy-to-use controls. However, they found the handling to be stiff and sluggish, and they didn’t like the buzzing engine. Consumer Reports described the ride as harsh and noisy, and not very comfortable.  

The Rio’s 1.6-liter engine has slow acceleration, getting up to 60 miles per hour in 10 seconds. On the roads, they heard an annoying buzzing sound coming from the engine every time they had to put it to work, such as when climbing a hill or merging. New for 2020 is a CVT transmission that replaced the former 6-speed automatic. 

Overall, reviewers thought there were much better choices in the compact car category in the same price range with better features and superior handling. Even though they felt the Kia Rio was built solid, they were disappointed with an out-of-date infotainment system, an uncomfortable wheel position for taller drivers, and a lack of standard driver assist features. 

Why the 2020 Hyundai Elantra wins


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Overall, they found the 2020 Hyundai Elantra to be a better vehicle. It is priced slightly higher than the Rio, but the Elantra impressed reviewers with its roominess and fuel economy, with an overall 33 miles per gallon. Consumer Reports gave the transmission on the Hyundai Elantra a 5 out of 5.

They appreciated all the Elantra’s improvements in 2020, which include an improved suspension and less engine noise thanks to additional sound insulation. Plus, all trims now have standard lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. 

User-friendliness was something they liked best in the 2020 Hyundai Elantra, with simple controls and a touch screen that controls audio and entertainment. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not standard; however, they are available as options. 

The Elantra didn’t get perfect scores from the reviewers at Consumer Reports. They thought the front seats were unsupportive, and the steering and handling were on the unresponsive side. Getting in and out can also be a bit awkward thanks to its compact size and low stature. 

Although both the new Kia Rio and the Hyundai Elantra are solid choices in the compact car category, Consumer Reports recommends skipping the 2020 Kia Rio. Instead, they believe that the 2020 Hyundai Elantra is the better pick, thanks to its roomy interior and user-friendly features.