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2017 Kia Rio vs Toyota Yaris

2017 Kia Rio vs Toyota Yaris

If you like the idea of a brand new car and the manufacturer warranty that comes with it, but you're on a restricted budget, you might find there are more good options out there than you might have imagined. So, let's take a look at two very affordable subcompacts in the shape of the 2017 Kia Rio and the Toyota Yaris. Which one is the best buy for your money?

2017 Kia Rio vs Toyota Yaris

Exterior Styling

The 2017 Kia Rio can be either a sedan or a hatch, and most people would probably regard the hatch as the better-looking version of the Rio. Then again, the sedan does look better as a four-door better than most of its subcompact rivals, although both body styles have a distinctly European look about them. The sweeping rear roofline inevitably compromises rear head room a little, but plenty of us will put up with that for the looks.

This is now the fifth model year of the current generation of the Yaris, and even despite a subtle redesign a couple of years ago, the Yaris is starting to look pretty plain up against its newer rivals. It's still nicely proportioned in both its hatch and sedan formats, but it's also still the ugly duckling to the Kia's beautiful swan.

Engines and Performance

One engine covers the entire 2017 Kia Rio lineup, and it's a 1.6-liter inline-four producing 138 horsepower and 123 lb.-ft. of torque that comes mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed electronically controlled Sportmatic transmission. That's enough power and performance for most buyers in this segment of the market and, at this price, so the Rio makes an excellent daily driver.

The Toyota Yaris sticks to just one engine too, and in this case it's a 1.5-liter inline-four developing a pretty insipid 106 horsepower and 103 lb.-ft. of torque. You will have to push this engine hard to get anything like performance out of it and that means noise, so this is an easy win for the Kia.

Fuel Economy

The 2017 Kia Rio is pretty fuel efficient, but you will find more economical subcompacts out there if that's your priority. If you choose the six-speed automatic transmission, the Rio is rated by the EPA at 27 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and 30 mpg combined, although an "Eco" version can squeeze those numbers up to 27/36/31 mpg if you want.

Hatchback versions of the Yaris are rated at 30/35/32 mpg with the four-speed automatic transmission, or 30/36/33 mpg with the five-speed manual. The Yaris iA (formerly the Scion iA) can offer better figures of 32 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 35 mpg combined, so this is a win for the Toyota.

Interior

Some subcompact rivals of the Rio are more clever and creative when it comes to creating lots of interior space but in terms of style and quality the cabin of the Kia is extremely impressive. Rather than funky, the interior is stylish, packed with quality materials, and very nicely put together.

The Yaris isn't ridiculously generous when it comes to interior space, but the fact there's 88.4 cu.-ft. of passenger volume inside the Toyota tells you there's a decent amount, especially when you find there's just 84.4 cu.-ft. in the Rio. Although the Toyota Yaris has a little more room inside, the style, materials, and overall quality are not as good as the Kia.

Learn More about the Kia Rio

2017 Kia Rio vs Toyota Yaris

The Yaris brings the Toyota reputation for reliability and quality to the table, but you can't drive a reputation. The Yaris looks dated and a little tired when compared to the 2017 Kia Rio, and the details confirm that the Rio has the edge. The best bang for your hard-earned bucks comes in with the Kia.