Chevy Spark Vs. Kia Rio 5-Door

The subcompact hatchback realm is filled with value-oriented models that deliver great fuel economy and low prices. The 2019 Chevy Spark and 2019 Kia Rio are two of the best in the biz at delivering these benefits to our Glendale Heights area car shoppers. Which one is the better buy for you? Find out below. 


In 2018, Kia redesigned the Rio 5-Door, bringing in an all-new look that included a wider tiger-nose grille, a broad and flat hood, and more to make this once-playful hatchback look all grown up. While this more mature look may turn off younger buyers seeking a more creative appearance, it is far from boring and appeals to the masses. 

The Chevy Spark had its last redesign in 2015, but it still looks sharp with its more traditional headlights relative to its previous generation and additional brightwork on the higher trim levels. An added wrinkle in the Spark lineup is the ACTIV trim that adds a lifted suspension for more ground clearance and black body cladding to give it a more rugged appearance. 

In terms of sizing, the 2019 Spark is significantly smaller than the 2019 Kia Rio in virtually every measurable except height. 


The Spark and Rio are both very simple in their base trim levels, as they include basic features like 15-inch steel wheels, black exterior pieces, and basic halogen headlights. The Spark gets more premium in its higher trim levels. The Rio has just one trim level, but there are plenty of options to match the higher-trimmed Spark. 


Measurement 2019 Chevy Spark 2019 Kia Rio Difference
Length 143.1 inches 160 inches -16.9 inches
Width 62.8 inches 67.9 inches -5.1 inches
Height 58.4 to 58.76 inches 57.1 inches +1.4 to +1.66 inches
Wheelbase 93.9 inches 101.6 inches -7.7 inches
Ground Clearance
5.5 inches
Curb weight 2,246 to 2,312 pounds 2,714 -468 to -402 inches


Advantage:2019 Kia Rio 5-Door

  • Stylish new look
  • Looks more premium than its price implies

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Spark

  • More trim levels to pick from
  • Rugged-looking ACTIV trim
  • Sharp brightwork on higher trims


Inside, the Kia Rio’s cabin is one of the more creative and premium ones in the subcompact class. It includes a clean dash layout, upscale-looking steering wheel, simple climate-control interface, and more. This combined with its desirable standard features like a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, UVO Play infotainment, power windows and door locks, and more. The issue with the Rio 5-Door is there are very few interior options, with the most notable being SiriusXM radio. 

The 2019 Chevy Spark’s cabin is far simpler and more up the alley for the typical subcompact hatchback with its center stack encasulated in a gloss-black bezel, swoopier lines, and simple rotary climate controls. The Spark’s interior features match the Rio’s with its 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, carpeted floor mats, and more. The only space it falls behind is with its four-speeaker audio system. Where the Spark sets itself apart are in its options that include leatherette seating and heated front seats. 

Inside, the Spark falls short on space next to the larger and roomier Rio, especially in shoulder room. Fortunately, its legroom remains within a half-inch of the Rio, keeping it a close competition for taller riders. 


Measurement 2019 Chevy Spark 2019 Kia Rio Difference
Front headroom 39 inches 38.9 inches +0.1 inches
Front legroom 41.7 inches 42.1 inches -0.4 inches
Front shoulder room 50.8 inches 54.1 inches -3.3 inches
Front hip room 48.2 inches 52.9 inches -4.7 inches
Rear headroom 37 inches 38 inches 1 inch
Rear legroom 33 inches 33.5 inches -0.5 inches
Rear shoulder room 49.8 inches 53.3 inches -3.5 inches
Rear hip room 48 inches 52.4 inches -4.4 inches
Cargo room (seats upright) 11.1 cubic feet 17.4 cubic feet -6.3 cubic feet
Cargo room (seats folded) 27.2 cubic feet 32.8 cubic feet -5.6 cubic feet


Advantage: 2019 Kia Rio 5-Door

  • Roomier cabin
  • Loads of style

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Spark

  • Loads of value


Under their hoods, subcompact hatchbacks rarely pack much of a punch. The 2019 Chevy Spark fits this bill with a 98-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a standard five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission that gets this tiny hatchback to 60 mph in 10.7 seconds. 

The 2019 Rio has more pop with a 130-horsepower 1.6-liter four-pot paired to a six-speed automatic that sprints it to 60 mph in a more acceptable 8.9 seconds. This small Kia also gets high marks from experts in its comfortable ride combined with predictable handling. 

Both models are thrifty too with the Spark delivering up to 30 mpg city, 38 highway, and 33 combined and the Rio getting up to 28 mpg city, 37 highway, and 32 combined. 


2019 Chevy Spark 2019 Kia Rio Difference
Engine 1.4-liter 4-cyl 1.6-liter 4-cyl
Horsepower 98 hp at 6,200 rpm 130 hp at 6,300 rpm -32 hp
Torque 94 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm 119 lb-ft at 4,850 rpm -25 lb-ft
Standard transmission 5-spd manual 6-spd automatic
Optional transmission CVT
Driveline FWD FWD
0-60 time 10.7 seconds 8.9 seconds +1.8 seconds
MPG City 29 to 30 mpg 28 +1 to +2 mpg
MPG Highway 37 to 38 mpg 37 +0 to +1 mpg
MPG Combined 32 to 33 mpg 32 +0 to +1 mpg


Advantage: 2019 Kia Rio

  • More potent four-cylinder engine
  • Significantly quicker to 60 mph
  • Smooth ride

Advantage: 2019 Chevy Spark

  • Available manual transmission
  • Slight fuel economy advantage
  • Off-road friendly ACTIV trim

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Chevy Spark has four trim levels — LS, 1LT, ACTIV, and 2LT — and their starting prices range from $14,095 to $17,495. 


The 2019 Kia Rio has a very simple lineup that includes just the S trim level, which starts from $16,490. 

2019 Chevy Spark Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LS: $14,095

  • 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Five-speed manual transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • Hill-start assist
  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • Automatic halogen projector-beam headlights
  • Daytime running lights
  • Black manual mirrors
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Body-color door handles
  • Rear spoiler
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Single-zone manual climate control
  • Rear cargo area light
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat
  • Two-way manual passenger’s seat
  • Manual tilt steering wheel
  • Rear cargo shelf
  • Passenger seatback map pocket
  • Carpeted floor mats
  • Driver information center
  • Outside temperature display
  • 12-volt power outlet
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Two USB data ports
  • Four-speaker AM/FM audio system
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Cloth seating
  • Carpeted floor mats
  • Manual windows
  • Black inside door handles
  • Rearview camera


1LT: $15,995

  • All LS features, plus
  • 15-inch aluminum wheels
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • SiriusXM radio
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Cruise control
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power door locks
  • Power windows with driver’s side one-touch up/down
  • Power, heated mirrors
  • Theft-deterrent entry system


ACTIV: $17,095

  • All 1LT features, plus
  • Raised suspension
  • Unique 15-inch alloy wheels
  • Roof rails
  • Wheelhouse and lower body cladding
  • Unique front grille and fascia
  • Fog lights
  • Leatherette seating
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel


2LT: $17,495

  • All 1LT features, plus
  • Chrome door handles
  • Chrome liftgate trim
  • Chrome beltline moldings
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Enhanced driver-information center
  • Leatherette seating
  • Keyless open and ignition
  • Chrome interior door handles
  • Rear parking sensors

2019 Kia Rio Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: $16,490

  • 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel drive
  • Electric power steering
  • 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  • Multireflector halogen headlights
  • Automatic-on/off headlights
  • Black-and-silver grille
  • Body-color bumpers
  • Body-color door handles
  • Body-color, heated, power mirrors
  • Tinted glass
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Tilt steering
  • 3.5-inch driver-information center
  • Sunglasses holder
  • Matte-silver interior door handles
  • Cargo area light
  • Luggage net hook
  • Cargo cover
  • Woven tricot cloth seating
  • Six-way manual driver’s seat
  • 6040 split-folding rear seat
  • Passenger seatback pocket
  • Polyurethane steering wheel and shift knob
  • Air conditioning
  • UVO Play infotainment screen
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/MP3 audio system
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • USB and auxiliary inputs
  • Rear USB charger
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Power windows with one-touch-down driver’s glass
  • Cruise control
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Power door locks
  • Hill-start assist

Who Should Buy the 2019 Kia Rio?

Buyers looking for a larger, more powerful subcompact hatchback will appreciate what the Rio offers. It comes at a premium, which hurts its value a bit, but it still a good for these specific buyer types. 

Who Should Buy the 2019 Chevy Spark?

The 2019 Chevy Spark is a great value with its Rio-matching standard features and additional goodies in its higher trims. Plus, the ACTIV trim gives buyers a rugged look certain buyers seek. 


Whether you commute to school in Wheaton, drive to work in Carol Stream, or just cruise to Lombard on the weekends, the 2019 Chevy Spark can handle it all with great efficiency. Head down to Sunrise Chevrolet in Glendale Heights today to test drive this high-efficiency subcompact hatchback. Can’t make it to our showroom serving the Wheaton area today? Navigate to our online showroom and see all our in-stock 2019 Spark models, choose one that suits your needs, and schedule a test drive at your convenience. 


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Garber Automotive Group

Garber Automotive Group

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414 E North Ave., Glendale Heights, IL, 60139


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