Kia Rio SLi vs Toyota Yaris YRX

5 June 2012

Kia Rio SLi vs Toyota Yaris YRX

Kia Rio SLi and Toyota Yaris YRX go head-to-head in this comparative review.

Value

Kia Rio SLi

from $21,990

The top-spec Rio gets 17-inch alloys wrapped in Continental rubber, six-way adjustable driver's seat, splitfold rear seats, daytime running lights, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, a full-size alloy spare wheel and much more.

Toyota Yaris YRX

from $21,390

The Yaris undercuts the Rio by a few hundred bucks but is not quite on par. Its engine is smaller for a start (1.5 v 1.6), its auto only a four-speed, its alloys 15-inchers. It gets satnav, auto climate control, 24 storage areas, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, power windows and a space-saver spare.

Design

Kia Rio SLi

Savour the work of ex-Audi head of design Peter Schreyer. At the wheel you get plenty of room and adjustment, and a well laid-out, easy-to-use dash in good quality, soft-touch plastics. Look inside an Audi A1 to compare. The boot holds 298L/923L.

Toyota Yaris YRX

Yaris is still a byword for space and practicality. Kind of. There's now more rear seat legroom and even some more luggage space but it falls short of the Rio. Looks good in pictures but is a little dinky in the metal. Despite the satnav, it can't match the Rio's premium look and feel.

Technology

Kia Rio SLi

The SLi's 1.6-litre four-cylinder makes 103kW/167Nm but it's a lot more tractable than those high peak figures suggest, thanks to the excellent six-speed auto. Fuel consumption is a reasonable 6.1L/100km for the auto model, and 5.6L for the manual.

Toyota Yaris YRX

The Yaris is outgunned by the Rio, putting just 80kW/141Nm through the four-speed auto. This package is its achilles heel; it becomes quite coarse towards redline and the gearbox is clumsy as it stumbles around for the right cog. Fuel consumption, at 6.3L/100km is higher.

Safety

Kia Rio SLi

The Rio gets a five-star ANCAP rating and the usual safety gear: six airbags, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control, a day-night rear view mirror, hill-start assist, child-proof rear door locks, crash-sensing auto unlock and more.

Toyota Yaris YRX

The Yaris earns its five-star ANCAP rating with all the usual active and passive systems. Standard are seven airbags, stability and traction control, ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, anti-whiplash front seats, and speed and red light camera warnings.

Driving

Kia Rio SLi

Kia has hired some very smart European designers and engineers and has also been clever enough to tweak the ride and handling to deal with our rubbish roads. The ride matches that of a more expensive car. The steering and brakes are good, too.

Toyota Yaris YRX

As Kia did with the Rio, Toyota got Australian engineers to tweak the suspension and steering tune to better suit local conditions. However, the ride can be abrupt. The steering, also locally tuned, is well weighted and consistent. The brakes do a good job.

Verdict

Kia Rio SLi

21/25

Better luck
next time :(

Toyota Yaris YRX

17/25

Winner winner
chicken dinner!

The reigning COTY impresses with its class-leading design and refined ride and handling. It feels as if it could handle more oomph, always the mark of a quality machine. The Yaris is being left behind.

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Written by

Isaac Bober

Published 5 June 2012

Published In

Head to Head

We compare, head to head, two similar models of competing manufacturer cars. Which do we prefer? Why? Find out in CarsGuide's Head To Head showdowns.