2012 Kia Rio vs. Its Competition

2012 Kia Rio EX
Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director

The new crop of subcompact fuel-sippers is better than anyone could have imagined just five years ago, and the Rio hits some important targets for gas mileage and overall appeal.

So does the Chevy Sonic, a favorite in the class for its very capable handling and turbocharged acceleration, not to mention kicky styling.

The Ford Fiesta gets kudos for its tight steering and sharp lines, but the back seat is cramped and its sluggish PowerShift automatic transmission is at odds with its sporty character.

The Honda Fit wins on overall interior space along with the Accent, and both have high-quality cabins, with the Fit's flexible rear seat taking special honors.

The new Nissan Versa hatchback improves on interior room, but handling and styling, especially in its cabin, are a little drab.

2012 Kia Rio EX2012 Kia Rio
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2012 Chevrolet Sonic2012 Chevrolet Sonic
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2011 Ford Fiesta 4-door HB SES Angular Front Exterior View2012 Ford Fiesta
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2012 Honda Fit 5dr HB Auto Angular Front Exterior View2012 Honda Fit
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2012 Hyundai Accent2012 Hyundai Accent
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2012 Nissan Versa 4-door Sedan CVT 1.6 SV Angular Front Exterior View2012 Nissan Versa
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Quick Specs
The yardsticks have moved--but the 2012 Kia Rio has kicked itself into contention in a class filled with very good economy cars.
The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is neither subsonic nor supersonic—but it's a good, sound choice and a world better than the Aveo it replaces.
You could do better if you most value space and comfort, but the 2012 Ford Fiesta packs in a lot of style and substance.
The 2012 Honda Fit is peppy and fun to drive, and its interior is incredibly space-efficient; but some might be turned off by its rather utilitarian look.
Do Americans want small cars with more room and great gas mileage? The 2012 Hyundai Accent is betting they do--and so are we.
The 2012 Nissan Versa is a reasonably comfortable, well-equipped new car for used-car money—but if you're a stickler for the details it can feel as cheap as it is.
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
28 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy25 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy27 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy28 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy24 MPG City / 38 MPG Hwy
Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4
EPA Class     
CompactCompact CarsSubcompactSmall Station WagonCompact CarsCompact
Style Name     
4-Door Sedan Manual LX4-Door Sedan LS 1LS4-Door Sedan S5-Door HB Manual4-Door Sedan Manual GLS4-Door Sedan Manual 1.6 S
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront-wheel driveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
Sedan4 Door SedanSedan5 Door Hatchback4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Kia Rio vs. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic2012 Kia Rio vs. 2012 Ford Fiesta2012 Kia Rio vs. 2012 Honda Fit2012 Kia Rio vs. 2012 Hyundai Accent2012 Kia Rio vs. 2012 Nissan Versa