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Sedans and hatchbacks are a dime a dozen these days, or at least it seems that way. Trucks, SUVs, and crossovers are dominating the market more and more, leaving smaller vehicles to feel like a thing of the past. But the 2019 Kia Rio is by no means an automobile relic. Yes, Kia has trimmed the line-up down to two trim levels for the model year by axing the formerly line-topping EX. But this leaves the decision-making process a bit easier for buyers.
If you want the hatchback (or, as Kia refers to it, the 5-Door) version of the Rio, you can only get it as the S trim. Since the EX got the boot this model year, the S is now the Rio's line-topping trim, and the LX is the base. Both trim levels share a standard 1.6-L 4-cylinder engine that is capable of generating 130 hp and 119 lb-ft of torque. While this small engine, which is paired up with a standard automatic transmission, might seem like it is underpowered, the vehicle manages to put out a pretty solid driving performance. Also, it does get more horsepower and torque than some of its biggest competitors.
In addition to removing the EX trim for the 2019 model year, Kia made a few alterations to the features found on the remaining two trim levels. Of course, this was all done in order to make the LX and the S more attractive to potential buyers. And the choices Kia has made with their vehicles' features are smart ones since even their base trim levels come rather well-equipped.
But which 2019 Kia Rio trim is right for you? And, if you like the S, should you go with the sedan or the hatchback? Since these trims all have quite a bit to offer, making the decision can be tough, and you deserve to know what you are about to invest your hard-earned money in. That's why we are going to break down each trim level and compare them. If you read through to the end of this, you should end up with a clearer idea of which Rio trim level is the right one for you.
Compare the 2019 Kia Rio LX vs S Sedan - What is the difference?
The LX is the 2019 Kia Rio's base trim level. The first thing you should know about the LX is that, despite being the base trim, it is far from being basic. Yeah, sure, it is an economy vehicle geared toward consumers who have to shop on tight budgets, but Kia does not skimp on the goods.
Of course, there are quite a few differences in features between the trim levels. Let us start off with their exteriors. The body of the LX is pretty similar to that of the S sedan. Both have the same size of build. Each of these two trims has 89.9 cubic feet of passenger space and 13.7 cubic feet of cargo space. They both have a wheelbase measuring out to 101.6 inches, 67.9 inches in width, and 172.6 inches in length. Altogether, these two trims come out with the exact same measurements, so you have to look for some of the nuanced exterior details in order to tell them apart.
And, quite honestly, the exterior features on these two vehicles are also very similar. The LX and the S sedan both come with standard body-colored bumpers, headlights that automatically turn themselves off, tinted glass, a rear window defrost, side mirrors that are power-adjustable and heated, and a rear-view camera. The major difference is in terms of the body paint colors that are available. While the LX only has three (Clear White, Silky Silver, and Aurora Black), the S trim has six (the three included on the LX with Phantom Gray, Deep Sea Blue, and Currant Red tacked on). Also, while the LX doesn't have LED lights, you can opt for them on the S trim.
On the inside, however, you will find much more in the way of differences. As far as infotainment features go, both trims have some good features. The LX comes with a 5-inch touchscreen display and a 4-speaker audio system that includes AM/FM radio, MP3 connectivity, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio connectivity. The S trim, though, upgrades you to a 7-inch touchscreen and gives you the option of equipping Kia's UVO eServices infotainment system. It also has 6 speakers that come with tweeters for the front of the vehicle. Additionally, smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard on the S but is not available at all on the LX.
The S also boasts a few more driver aids than the LX. The LX does have standard Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted controls, but the S adds features like Siri Eyes Free (a voice-recognition system that allows you to use Siri while driving), forward collision avoidance, and forward collision warning. Still, this seems kind of meager compared to the slew of driver aids that come on vehicles pricing even just a few thousand dollars higher than the Rio.
Other creature comforts on the LX trim include a USB and auxiliary input jack, a 12-volt outlet, power locks, power windows with one-touch roll-down for the driver's window, a tilt-only steering column, overhead sunglasses holder, two cupholders up front, an illuminated glove box, and a cargo net in the trunk. The S keeps these features but adds a center console with a sliding armrest and storage bin, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and USB charging ports. A supervision meter cluster with a 3.5-inch display can be added on.
As far as regular safety features go, the LX and S trim levels are equipped with the same standard features. There are dual front advanced and side-mounted airbags, pre-tensioners on the front seat-belts, vehicle stability management, traction control, hill start assist control, a tire pressure monitoring system, and an anti-lock braking system (ABS).
There are quite a few stand-alone features that can be added onto either trim level. Some of these features include an automatically dimming rear-view mirror with a built-in compass and the HomeLink system, a hood deflector, all-weather floor mats, carpeted floor mats, and automatic sport pedals. While there are not a ton of extra accessories that you can tack on to the Kia Rio, the ones that are available are quite practical and are well-made.
Compare the 2019 Rio S Sedan vs S 5-Door Trims. What is the difference?
So, you might be attracted to the S trim, but which body style do you want to go with? The sedan and hatchback (also known as the Five-Door) have a lot in common since they are technically both of the same trim level. However, there are a small number of differences that make them worth comparing within this review.
First and foremost, the 2019 Kia Rio S Five-Door has more cargo space. It is not significantly more, but it might make a difference for some drivers. Instead of the sedan's 13.7 cubic feet of cargo space, the hatchback gives you 17.4 cubic feet of room in the cargo area. It also has slightly more head room in the second row with 38 inches, as opposed to the sedan's 37.4 inches. The hatchback measures a bit shorter in length at 160 inches, versus the 172.6 on the sedan. Otherwise, their measurements are the same.
You will find that the S sedan and Five-Door are similarly equipped. They are both powered by the same 1.6-L 4-cylinder engine, have the same automatic transmission, and are only available with a front-wheel drive drivetrain. Like its sedan variant, the hatchback plays host to the UVO eServices suite of infotainment technology, including a standard 7-inch touchscreen display. Essentially, you are buying the exact same trim, only in a different body style.
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Which One Should You Choose?
Since Kia decided to get rid of the former line-topping EX trim level and rearrange some of the standard features, making the choice between trims should be a little bit easier to do. Both trim levels are surprisingly pleasant to drive, as is the S's hatchback variant. These vehicles are remarkably spunky given their engines are so small.
There is not a huge price difference between these two trim levels, but there is definitely a difference in standard features. For the price you will pay, the S gives you a great deal. Whether you decide to go with the sedan or the hatchback, you will be getting a lot of helpful features for a modest amount of money. If you need the extra few cubic feet of cargo space, the hatchback is the way to go. However, the sedan rides just as smoothly and provides a ton of comfort. But, if you really are determined to get one of Kia's hatchbacks (the only other one available is the Forte5), the Rio Five-Door S trim is the one to buy.