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2017 Kia Rio vs Honda Civic

Budget-friendly doesn't necessarily equal poor quality, though you may be tempted to think so. Take, for example, the 2017 Kia Rio and the Honda Civic--popular compact cars with price tags that offer real value, style, and performance. The Rio is about 30 percent cheaper than the Civic. Can it measure up to its more expensive competitor?

2017 Kia Rio vs Honda Civic

INTERIOR COMFORT & STYLE: Kia Rio

While not the roomiest car, the 2017 Kia Rio wants for nothing in style. With comfortable seats and an attractive interior, the Rio has the look and feel of a car twice its price. It seats five and has a generous 13.7 cubic-foot trunk or 15 cubic feet of storage in the hatchback that extends to 50 cubic feet with the back seat down.

The 2017 Honda Civic is a bit roomier than the Rio, with 19.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity and plenty of leg and head room in front and back. But it definitely does not have the Rio beat in luxury. It looks and feels like the compact car it is, unlike the Rio's more luxurious look and feel.

TECHNOLOGY: Kia Rio

With its manual doors and locks on the base model, at first it seems the Rio may falter in this category. But its standard tilt steering wheel, air conditioning, 4-speaker stereo with USB, Satellite radio, power/heated side mirrors, and 6-way-adjustable driver's seat tell a different story. In the upper trims, there is even more to brag about, with 7-inch touchscreen, power windows, power locks, keyless entry, Idle Stop & Go, a rearview camera, auto headlights, black and gray leather and cloth seating with contrasting stitching, 4.3-inch color touch screen, rearview camera, and auto headlights. To top it off, its intuitive UVO infotainment system is a breath of fresh air.

The Honda Civic offers Bluetooth and two USB ports on the base model. The HondaLink infotainment system can be frustrating, its controls being mostly confined to the touch screen. Additional options include steering-wheel mounted audio controls, tilting and telescoping steering column, automatic climate control, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

POWER AND PERFORMANCE: Kia Rio

In terms of fuel economy and performance, the Kia Rio is a decent daily car. It gets 27/36 miles per gallon, for an average of 31 mpg, and has better than average handling and performance.

The Honda Civic does well in terms of fuel economy with 31/42 miles per gallon, for an average of 35 mpg. That's better than the Rio, but the Civic's continuously variable transmission (CVT) has been known to make a loud droning noise, especially while accelerating. Like the Rio, it has solid acceleration and handling.

SAFETY: Honda Civic

The Kia Rio offers no active safety features except for automated emergency braking on its upper trims. And it earned only four out of five stars in its government safety testing.

By comparison, the Civic earned five stars and benefits from optional safety features like forward collision warning and lane assistance. Of the two, the Civic is safer.

Learn More about the Kia Rio

In this comparison, the Kia Rio comes out shining. For its price tag, it offers lots of value. With an attractive interior, comparable tech options, and decent daily performance, the Kia Rio does extremely well for what you pay. If you want a get-around-town car without more than you need to, look no further than the Kia Rio.