Kia Rio vs. Honda Fit

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - January 25, 2016

When the latest iteration of the Kia Rio debuted at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, it made the Korean automaker a strong choice in the economy car segment. This was accomplished by replacing the previous Rio's mundane styling with bold lines and an aggressive front fascia; a sloppy interior was shelved in favor of youthful cues and improved material quality.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Rio & Fit »

However, will all of these changes be enough to allow the Rio to steal the spotlight from established rivals such as the Honda Fit? Or will Kia's revitalized entry still fall short?

What the Honda Fit Gets Right

The redesigned-for-2015 Honda Fit may not stir the souls of automotive enthusiasts with its exterior styling or so-so performance figures. But the car makes up for it by offering buyers a well-conceived interior featuring high-quality materials, excellent ergonomics and comfortable seats.

The Fit also boasts impressive versatility and offers an impressive 52.7 cubic feet of cargo space with rear seats folded flat. Power for the Honda Fit comes from a 1.5-liter four-cylinder that's good for 130 horsepower and mates to either a six-speed manual gearbox or CVT with paddle shifters. This powertrain is good for hybrid-like fuel economy numbers, as the Fit gets up to 41 mpg highway with the CVT.

Why Choose the Kia Rio Over The Honda Fit?

Unlike the somewhat stodgy Honda, the Kia Rio aims to lure buyers with its edgy styling -- a welcome departure from past Rios that should please customers who want sporty style in their economy car purchase -- and two body styles (sedan and hatchback). The interior of the Rio is also a welcome improvement. It doesn't quite match the Fit's refinement and design, but offers buyers supportive seats and a healthy list of standard equipment.

Performance for the Rio comes from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that's good for 138 horsepower -- eight more than the Fit. It's paired with a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic in the sedan, while the hatchback comes standard with the six-speed auto.

Does Kia Have The Potential To Dominate The Economy Car Segment?

Kia -- and its corporate cousin Hyundai -- have a good chance in the long term. But cars like the Rio will need more refinement if they're going to stand out from their rivals. While styling is much improved, driving dynamics still need improvement.

Our Verdict: Honda Fit

The Honda Fit's versatility, refinement and superior build quality take the prize in this comparison.

Take a closer look at the Kia Rio »

Take a closer look at the Honda Fit »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website