Kia Rio vs Ford Fiesta
Many rivals have tried and failed to take the Ford Fiesta’s supermini class crown. Can the latest three-door Kia Rio buck the trend?
The Kia Rio has once more proven it’s a force to be reckoned with. But has it done enough to finally knock the Fiesta off its place at the top?
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The three-door Rio certainly looks the part, plus it has a roomy cabin and is well built. What’s more, in range-topping 3 spec, it comes crammed with enough hi-tech standard kit to make drivers of top-notch executive saloons jealous. Factor in the great-value price, low running costs and brilliant aftersales package, and we could understand anyone choosing the Kia as a stylish and affordable runaround.
Yet there’s no escaping the car’s dynamic flaws. The sporty 3’s uncomfortable ride is a real problem on the UK’s bumpy and potholed roads. Our testers struggled to live with this during our time with car.
As a result, the Ford Fiesta seals victory by the narrowest of margins. It’s more expensive to buy, but it only takes a short drive to understand why it’s worth every extra penny. The Fiesta’s mixture of refinement, comfort and agility is a match for cars from the class above, while the sharp looks and bold cabin help it stand out from the crowd. What’s more, it’s cheap to run in 1.4-litre diesel form.
The Fiesta wins, but the Rio could turn the tables with just a few suspension tweaks. Over to you, Kia…
Winner Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCi ★★★★
The Fiesta takes victory, but emerges from the contest with a bloody nose. Its driving dynamics are still head and shoulders above rivals, while its slick looks continue to turn heads. It’s also cheap to run, practical and solidly built. The 1.4-litre diesel is probably the weakest engine in the range, but it’s frugal and sufficiently powerful.
2nd Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi ★★★★
Once again, the Rio comes agonisingly close to a road test win. It makes a lot of sense financially, plus it looks good and boasts a roomy interior. Yet the Kia’s crashy ride would be unacceptable even for a hot hatch. Models with smaller wheels are more forgiving, but a few minor changes would put the flagship 3 on the top step of the podium.
In this review
- 1Introduction - currently readingMany rivals have tried and failed to take the Ford Fiesta’s supermini class crown. Can the latest three-door Kia Rio buck the trend?
- 21st Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCi TitaniumEstablished supermini class leader faces tough fight to retain its crown
- 32nd Kia Rio 1.4 CRDi 3Can the new three-door Kia Rio topple the big-selling Fiesta?
- 4Facts and figures