The 2019 Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio are more than just affordable—both represent an effective, efficient, and comfortable way to travel. And both are available in sedan and hatchback form, giving drivers some style options. So which should you pick? Our comparison guide has the answers.
Interior Comfort and Convenience: It’s a Tie!
In the subcompact segment, the 2019 Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio are on top of their comfort games. They’re both so great that we couldn’t choose just one.
The 2019 Ford Fiesta is one of the quietest cars in this segment, which is always a plus when you’re trying to have a conversation and travel the highway simultaneously. The Fiesta also takes the cake for interior refinement. Its tight cabin assembly and modern ergonomics make you forget you’re shopping the economy segment.
In the Kia Rio cabin, seating is firm yet supportive—just the right balance for hours of on-road comfort. We also gave the Rio high marks for its solid build and smooth ride, putting it on par with the Ford Fiesta.
Tech-Savvy Ride: 2019 Ford Fiesta
Ford’s subcompact definitely delivers the best infotainment experience. The SYNC 3 system is quick on the uptake, which makes for easygoing access to music and navigation options. We’re also big fans of the Fiesta’s standard lineup, which includes the savvy Sync voice controls, a nice modern touch.
Kia’s UVO infotainment system also gets a lot of things right, including an intuitive touchscreen interface. In this price range, full power accessories are another nice touch. We just wish the Kia Rio also came standard with something like Ford’s impressive voice-control technology.
Most Spirited Performance: 2019 Ford Fiesta
Give your fellow subcompact cars a run for their money in the new Fiesta. The base engine isn’t especially powerful (typical for this class), but handling and steering err on the side of fun. And the suspension is tuned for a sporty ride, which is exactly what you get from the Fiesta on a curvy highway. In the performance-oriented Fiesta ST trim, you can quicken your pace with 197 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque.
You won’t find any high-performance engine options on the Kia Rio, but you do get more refinement than in most subcompact cars. When you’re cruising the highway or navigating slow suburban curves, the steering gives you excellent feedback. But the Rio’s loud engine and economy-style tires keep it from being as much fun as the Fiesta.
Save Money on Fuel: 2019 Kia Rio
The Rio wins this one by exactly a mile, giving you max EPA ratings of 32 miles per gallon combined (the Fiesta earns up to 31 mpg combined). Though both of these little cars are pretty thrifty, the Rio does give you a little bit of an edge, especially around town. Keep in mind that both of the Rio’s transmission options deliver 32 mpg combined, but the standard manual transmission gives you better around-town numbers.
The Kia Rio might give you an extra mile of fuel economy, but the 2019 Ford Fiesta zips ahead of the competition. To combine fuel economy with sporty performance, savvy technology, and long-haul comfort, the Fiesta is your best bet.