Toyota Yaris Vs. Kia Rio Sedan

By Justin Cupler | June 11th, 2019

Subcompact sedans offer a balance of people-hauling ability, fuel efficiency, features, and low pricing, making them great options for younger buyers and those on tighter budgets. Two great subcompact sedan options are the 2019 Toyota Yaris and 2019 Kia Rio. Which one of these tiny people haulers is best for our shoppers? Continue reading to find out.


The 2019 Toyota Yaris and 2019 Kia Rio Sedan share the subcompact segment, but they take different approaches to design. The Kia Rio takes a more traditional approach with its flatter front end and traditional proportions. This gives it a classier look that’s better tuned for more established buyers.


The 2019 Toyota Yaris boasts a sporty and youthful design with its pointed nose and large lower grille. It also features more playful lines that lead to a rounded back end. This design works well for the younger college crowd seeking more character in their car.

Both models serve their purpose as entry-level sedans with basic standard exterior features like body-color door handles and mirrors, steel wheels, and halogen headlights. The Yaris and Rio also offer a few trim levels and options each, giving buyers the opportunity to add more features, including alloy wheels and LED lighting.

In terms of size, the Yaris is significantly smaller than the Rio in every measurement except height. This makes it easier to zip through traffic but gobbles up some interior room.


Measurement 2019 Toyota Yaris 2019 Kia Rio Difference
Length 171.7 inches 172.6 inches -0.9 inches
Width 66.7 inches 67.9 inches -1.2 inches
Height 58.5 inches 57.1 inches +1.4 inches
Wheelbase 101.2 inches 101.6 inches -0.4 inches
Ground Clearance 5.5 inches 5.5 inches
Curb weight 2,385 to 2,416 pounds


Advantage: 2019 Toyota Yaris

  • Smaller and easier to handle in tight spaces
  • Sporty design language
  • More trims to pick from

Advantage: 2019 Kia Rio

  • Available LED headlights on the cheap
  • Newest design language
  • More traditional styling


Inside, the 2019 Kia Rio and 2019 Toyota Yaris boast cabins that look far nicer than their super-low base prices would indicate. The Rio boasts the latest in Kia design with a split-lower-spoke steering wheel, a more upright dash, and other designs that trickle down from the brand’s higher-level models. This more upscale interior look matches its refined exterior design, giving it a balanced overall look and feel.

Inside, the 2019 Toyota Yaris is more playful than the Rio, which matches its sporty exterior nicely. This cabin boasts a dashtop infotainment screen, a central-mounted speedometer, a sportier steering wheel, and circular air vents. These not only cater to the younger crowd, but they also show off the livelier personality the Toyota Yaris has.

In terms of seating room, the Toyota Yaris is smaller than the Rio in nearly every measurement, but it wins in one key area: rear legroom. Here, is boast nearly an extra inch of room, allowing you to haul around longer-legged passengers with ease.


As for standard features, the 2019 Toyota Yaris and 2019 Kia Rio are similar, but the Yaris has a more advanced standard infotainment system that includes a 7-inch screen, internet radio, and more. Plus, the Yaris’ cabin is a safer place for passengers with its standard low-speed automatic emergency braking, which is part of the $800 S Technology Package on the Rio.


Measurement 2019 Toyota Yaris 2019 Kia Rio Sedan Difference
Front headroom 38.2 inches 38.9 inches -0.7 inches
Front legroom 41.9 inches 42.1 inches -0.2 inches
Front shoulder room 53.1 inches 54.1 inches 1 inch
Front hip room 48.6 inches 52.9 inches -4.3 inches
Rear headroom 36.8 inches 37.4 inches -0.6 inches
Rear legroom 34.4 inches 33.5 inches +0.9 inches
Rear shoulder room 50 inches 53.3 inches -3.3 inches
Rear hip room 49.5 inches 52.4 inches -2.9 inches
Cargo room 13.5 cubic feet 13.7 inches -0.2 cubic feet


Advantage: 2019 Nissan Versa

  • Standard 7-inch touchscreen
  • Great rear legroom
  • Great value

Advantage: 2019 Kia Rio

  • Stylish cabin
  • More advanced infotainment system
  • $800 package includes auto emergency braking and more


In the subcompact world, performance generally runs second to efficiency, and this is the case in the Kia Rio and Toyota Yaris. The 2019 Kia Rio comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 130 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque. This heads through a standard six-speed automatic transmission and out to the front wheels for a respectable-for-its-class 8.2-second 0-to-60 time.

The 2019 Toyota Yaris is far less powerful with its 1.5-liter engine cranking out just 106 horsepower and 103 pound-feet of torque. Despite its lack of power, it is only 0.5 seconds slower to 60 mph than the Rio. Where the Yaris excels is in the corners, as its Mazda-derived platform delivers surprisingly tight handling and quick steering response. The Yaris gives buyers two transmission options: a standard six-speed manual or an optional six-speed auto.

Where subcompact cars excel is fuel economy, and these sedans perform well, but one is superior. The 2019 Rio is OK at 29 mpg city, 37 highway, and 32 combined, but the Yaris is the king of the mountain in this competition at up to 32 mpg city, 40 highway, and 35 combined.


2019 Toyota Yaris 2019 Kia Rio Sedan Difference
Engine 1.5-liter 4-cyl 1.6-liter 4-cyl
Horsepower 106 hp at 6,000 rpm 130 hp at 6,300 rpm -24 hp
Torque 103 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm 119 lb-ft at 4,850 rpm -16 lb-ft
Standard transmission 6-spd manual 6-spd automatic
Optional transmission 6-spd automatic
Driveline FWD FWD
0-60 time 8.7 seconds 8.2 seconds +0.5 seconds
MPG City 30 to 32 mpg 28 to 29 mpg +1 to +4 mpg
MPG Highway 39 to 40 mpg 37 mpg +2 to +3 mpg
MPG Combined 34 to 35 mpg 32 mpg +2 to +3 mpg


Advantage: 2019 Toyota Yaris

  • Better fuel economy
  • Standard six-speed transmission for traditionalists
  • Superior handling and response

Advantage: 2019 Kia Rio

  • Quicker to 60 mph
  • Big power advantage
  • Standard automatic transmission

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Toyota Yaris lineup has three trim levels — L, LE, and XLE — and their starting prices range from $15,600 to $18,700.


There are just two trims in the 2019 Kia Rio lineup, the $15,390 LX and $16,190 S.

2019 Toyota Yaris Key Features and Pricing by Trim

L: $15,600

  • 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed manual transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Sport-tuned electric power steering
  • Front disc and rear drum brakes
  • Halogen headlights
  • Daytime running lights
  • Gloss-black mesh grille
  • Color-keyed power mirrors
  • Color-keyed door handles
  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • Chrome exhaust tip
  • Air conditioning
  • Cloth sport seats
  • Six-way driver’s seat
  • Four-way passenger’s seat
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Keyless entry
  • Push-button start
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down driver’s
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors
  • One 12-volt power outlet
  • Cruise control
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/SiriusXM/HD Radio audio system
  • Stitcher and Aha internet radio
  • Two USB ports
  • Voice recognition
  • Low-speed automatic emergency braking


LE: $16,600

  • All L features, plus
  • 16-inch dark-gray split-spoke alloy wheels
  • Smart-key system on front doors and trunk
  • Fog lights
  • Heated mirrors with integrated LED turn signals
  • Rear spoiler


XLE: $18,700

  • All LE plus features, plus
  • Auto-on/off LED headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Rain-sensing variable intermittent windshield wipers
  • Automatic climate control
  • Leatherette upholstery
  • Normal and Sport modes
  • Leather-trimmed steering wheel
  • Six-speed automatic transmission

2019 Kia Rio Sedan Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LX: $15,390

  • 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Electric power steering
  • Front disc and rear drum brakes
  • 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Halogen headlights
  • Black and silver grille
  • Body-color bumpers
  • Body-color door handles
  • Body-color, power, heated mirrors
  • Tinted windows
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Tilt steering wheel
  • 3.5-inch driver-information display
  • 12-volt power outlet
  • Sunglasses holder
  • Vanity mirrors
  • Front map lights
  • Matte-silver inside door handles
  • Woven tricot cloth seats
  • Six-way driver’s seat
  • Polyurethane steering wheel and gear shift knob
  • Air conditioning
  • 5-inch audio display
  • Four-speaker AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM audio system
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB port
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Power windows with one-touch-down driver’s side
  • Power door locks
  • Hill-start assist
  • Rearview camera


S: $16,190

  • All LX features, plus
  • Front center sliding armrest
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • UVO Play Infotainment System
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Rear USB charger
  • Cruise control
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Alarm
  • Folding key

Who Should Buy the 2019 Toyota Yaris?

The Toyota Yaris is the perfect buy for a younger shopper (or the young at heart) who seeks a sporty-looking sedan that breaks the subcompact mold. While it is no performance model, its tight handling and quick-responding handling is great for those seeking a more entertaining ride.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Kia Rio?

The Kia Rio’s more traditional styling is great for buyers who prefer a simple look. It is by no means basic looking, but it is a familiar design that blends in better with the crowd.


Whether you need a commuter car to get you to Waukegan for work every day, a small sedan to haul the kids to school in Crystal Lake, or just a thrifty sedan to cruise friends around McHenry on the weekends, the 2019 Toyota Yaris may be the perfect subcompact sedan for you. Swing by the Garber Fox Lake Toyota showroom serving the Waukegan area today to test drive the 2019 Yaris and see what it can offer you. Can’t make it to our showroom today? Navigate to our online showroom to see what 2019 Toyota Yaris models we have in stock and choose one to test drive at your convenience.