2020 Chevrolet Spark Vs. 2020 Kia Rio 5-Door

 Subcompact hatchback models like the 2002 Kia Rio and 2020 Chevy Spark must offer our Jacksonville area shoppers a delicate combination of style, fuel economy, roominess, and value. Both of these models excel at this, but which one is the better buy for your situation? Continue reading to find out.


Subcompact hatchbacks have tiny canvases on which designers get to lay out their stylistic dreams. This often results in wildly disproportionate, overbaked designs. The Spark began that way with its first generation’s in-your-face headlights, but a 2016 redesign brought in a new, more relaxed look that is easier to swallow. This design remains the same in 2020. The Spark is exactly what an entry-level subcompact hatch should be: simple, good looking, and inexpensive.



Want something a little bolder? The Spark ACTIV adds a touch of ruggedness with black body cladding, a higher ride height, and a luggage rack. Sure, it is no off-roader, but it adds a tough look this class lacks.  


The 2020 Kia Rio 5-Door is relatively new, as this entry-level hatch went through a big redesign in 2018. This new design gives the Rio 5-Door a distinguished look for this gateway class, making it an easier buy for buyers with higher-priced taste. But the Rio 5-Door doesn’t just look more expensive, it also is significantly more expensive than the Spark, so you may need to pad your budget to make it fit.



As for standard features, these hatchbacks come with simple exteriors. The Rio’s exterior includes basic standard features like 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, multi-reflector headlights, automatic headlights, black-and-silver grille, body-color bumpers, body-color mirrors with power adjustment and heated glass, variable-intermittent windshield wipers, and a rear wiper.


The 2020 Chevy Spark has all the same standard features, except its standard headlights are halogen projectors. The Spark also has a few exterior options, including alloy wheels and chrome accents. The Rio lacks these options, but it does offer LED headlights, which the Spark does not.


As for size, the Rio is larger in every measurable other than height.


Measurement 2020 Chevy Spark 2020 Kia Rio 5-Door Difference
Length (in.) 143.1 160 -16.9
Width (in.) 62.8 67.9 -5.1
Height (in.) 58.4/58.76 (ACTIV) 57.1 +1.3/+1.66 (ACTIV)
Wheelbase (in.) 93.9 101.6 -7.7
Ground Clearance (in.) 5.5
Curb weight (lbs.) 2,246 to 2,312 2,714 -468 to -402


Advantage: 2020 Kia Rio

  •       More upscale looks
  •       Available LED headlights

Advantage: 2020 Chevy Spark

  •       Optional alloy wheels
  •       Smaller and easier to zip through traffic
  •       More value


Inside, the 2020 Chevy Spark has a simple entry-level design that helps save money without looking cheap. There is a lot of black, but it also has plenty of silver accents to break things up. In the center, the buttons and knobs are limited, so its busy-ness is kept to a minimum.


The Rio is a far pricier hatchback, so its cabin has a little more style to it. This includes a slick three-post steering wheel with a split lower post, a clean center stack with just a few knobs, an available two-tone color scheme, and more.




As for standard features, these entry-level hatchbacks are far from stripped down. The Kia Rio 5-Door comes standard with a tilt steering wheel, 3.5-inch LCD cluster screen, front center armrest, woven tricot cloth seating, six-way manual-adjust driver’s seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a six-speaker AM/FM/MP3 audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™, and more.


The less expensive Spark matches most of the Rio 5-Door’s standard features but comes up a little short with its four-speaker audio system and two-way manual seats. It makes up for these limited features with its standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi® (data plan required).


In terms of sizing, the Spark has 0.1 inches more front headroom, but it comes up short in all other measurements. The biggest win for the Rio comes in the hatch, where it hauls up to an extra 6.3 cubes of cargo.



As for in-cabin safety, neither hatchback comes standard with much in terms of advanced safety features. They both offer them as options, though. The Rio 5-Door offers the S Technology package for $800. Among other valuable goodies like LED headlights and the UVO eServices infotainment system, it also offers automatic emergency braking.


The Spark offers the Driver Confidence package as a $295 option on the range-topping 2LT Automatic trim. This package is more robust than the Rio 5-Doors as it adds automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, and lane-departure warning.


Measurement 2020 Chevy Spark 2020 Kia Rio 5-Door Difference
Front headroom (in.) 39 38.9 +0.1
Front legroom (in.) 41.7 42.1 -0.4
Front shoulder room (in.) 50.8 54.1 -3.3
Front hip room (in.) 48.2 52.9 -4.7
Rear headroom (in.) 37 38 -1
Rear legroom (in.) 33 33.5 -0.5
Rear shoulder room (in.) 49.8 53.3 -3.5
Rear hip room (in.) 48 52.4 -4.4
Cargo room w/ rear seats upright (cu. Ft.) 11.1 17.4 -6.3
Cargo room w/ rear seats folded (cu. Ft.) 27.2 32.8 -5.6


Advantage: 2020 Kia Rio 5-Door

  •       More upscale-looking cabin
  •       Big-time space advantage
  •       Cheaper access to automatic emergency braking


Advantage: 2020 Chevy Spark

  •       Simple cabin
  •       More features for the money
  •       More robust optional safety equipment


Subcompact hatchbacks are generally not very fast, unless we’re talking about one of the few hot hatchbacks in this class. Neither the Spark nor the Rio 5-Door falls into this classification, so they focus more on the economy than speed.



The Spark rolls in with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 98 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque. This engine pairs with a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission for up to 30 mpg city, 38 highway, and 33 combined.




The Rio’s standard 1.6-liter engine is more powerful at 120 horsepower and 112 pound-feet of torque. This power heads exclusively through a continuously variable transmission for up to 33 mpg city, 41 highway, and 36 combined.


2020 Chevy Spark 2020 Kia Rio 5-Door Difference
Engine 1.4-liter 4-cyl 1.6-liter 4-cyl
Horsepower 98 hp at 6,200 rpm 120 hp at 6,300 rpm -22 hp
Torque 94 lb-ft at 4,400 rpm 112 lb-ft at 4,500 rpm -18 lb-ft
Standard transmission 5-spd manual CVT
Optional transmission Two-step CVT
Driveline FWD FWD
0-60 time 10.7 seconds 9.1 seconds +1.6 seconds
MPG City 29 to 30 mpg 33 mpg -4 to -3 mpg
MPG Highway 37 to 38 mpg 41 mpg -4 to -3 mpg
MPG Combined 32 to 33 mpg 36 mpg -4 to -3 mpg


Advantage: 2020 Kia Rio

  •       More power
  •       Quicker to 60 mph
  •       Superior fuel economy

Advantage: 2020 Chevy Spark

  •       Manual transmission for traditionalists
  •       Higher-riding ACTIV model

Pricing and Features

In 2020, the Kia Rio 5-Door lineup drops to just one trim level, the S. This model starts from $16,690.

The 2020 Chevy Spark has eight trims – LS Manual, LS Automatic, 1LT Manual, 1LT Automatic, ACTIV Manual, ACTIV Automatic, 2LT Manual, and 2LT Automatic – and their starting prices range from $14,095 to $18,595.

2020 Kia Rio Key Features and Pricing by Trim

S: $16,690

  •       1.6-liter four-cylinder engine
  •       Continuously variable transmission
  •       Electric power steering
  •       15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  •       Temporary spare tire
  •       Multi-reflector headlights
  •       Automatic headlights
  •       Black-and-silver grille
  •       Body-color bumpers
  •       Body-color, power-adjustable, heated mirrors
  •       Tinted rear glass
  •       Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  •       Rear wiper
  •       Tilt steering wheel
  •       3.5-inch LCD cluster screen
  •       Front center armrest
  •       Sunglasses holder
  •       Matte-silver inside door handles
  •       Cargo area light
  •       Cargo cover
  •       Woven tricot cloth seating
  •       Six-way manual-adjust driver’s seat
  •       60/40 split-folding rear seat
  •       Polyurethane steering wheel and shift knob
  •       Air conditioning
  •       7-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  •       Six-speaker AM/FM/MP3 audio system
  •       Bluetooth connectivity
  •       Apple CarPlay®
  •       Android Auto™
  •       USB/auxiliary input jacks
  •       USB charger in the rear
  •       Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  •       Cruise control
  •       Power windows with one-touch-down driver’s side
  •       Remote keyless entry
  •       Hill-start assist

2020 Chevy Spark Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LS Manual: $14,095

  •       1.4-liter four-cylinder engine
  •       5-spd manual transmission
  •       Front-wheel drive
  •       15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
  •       Black, manual outside mirrors
  •       Body-color door handles
  •       Daytime running lights
  •       Chrome grille
  •       Halogen projector-beam headlights
  •       Chrome liftgate trim
  •       Rear spoiler
  •       Two-speed, intermittent rear wiper
  •       Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  •       Two-way manual front seats
  •       Four-speaker audio system
  •       Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System’
  •       7-inch touchscreen
  •       Apple CarPlay®
  •       Android Auto™
  •       4G LTE Wi-Fi® (data plan required)
  •       60/40 split-folding rear seat
  •       Driver’s seat armrest
  •       Bluetooth® connectivity with audio streaming
  •       Carpeted floor mats
  •       Black inside door handles
  •       Driver-information center
  •       Cargo area light
  •       Manual tilt steering column
  •       OnStar®
  •       Chevrolet Connected Services capable
  •       Outside temperature display
  •       Rear center console
  •       Cloth seating
  •       Single-zone manual climate control
  •       Two USB data ports in the front console
  •       Manual windows
  •       Rearview camera
  •       Hill-start assist

LS Automatic: $15,195

  •       All LS Manual features, plus
  •       Continuously variable transmission

1LT Manual: $15,995

  •       All LS features, plus
  •       15-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels
  •       Heated, power mirrors
  •       LED daytime running lights
  •       Six-speaker audio system
  •       Cruise control
  •       Power door locks
  •       Power windows
  •       Remote keyless entry
  •       Remote panic alarm
  •       SiriusXM®
  •       Steering-wheel-mounted controls

1LT Automatic: $17,095

  •       All 1LT Manual features, plus
  •       Continuously variable transmission

ACTIV: $17,095

  •       All 1LT Manual features, plus
  •       Touring suspension
  •       15-inch gunmetal-silver-painted wheels
  •       Black rocker moldings
  •       Black front and rear bumpers
  •       Fog lights
  •       Unique ACTIV grille
  •       Luggage rack
  •       Front door-sill plates
  •       Heated front seats

ACTIV Automatic: $18,195

  •       All ACTIV Manual features, plus
  •       CVT

2LT Manual: $17,495

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

2LT Automatic: $18,595

  •       All 2LT Manual features, plus
  •       CVT

Who Should Buy the 2020 Kia Rio 5-Door

The Kia Rio 5-Dooris significantly more expensive than the Spark, giving it a little more wiggle room for more premium looks. This makes it a better fit for deeper-pocketed shoppers who want something that looks and feels more upscale.

Who Should Buy the 2020 Chevy Spark

The subcompact class is all about value, and the 2020 Spark delivers that in gobs. From its standard 7-inch touchscreen and smartphone integration to its affordable optional safety equipment, it gives tons of bang for your buck. This makes it great for tighter-budgeted shoppers who just need inexpensive wheels but still want some creature comforts.


Ready to make the value-packed 2020 Chevy Spark yours? Stop by Garber Automall serving Jacksonville, Orange Park, and the surrounding areas today to take the Spark for a test drive. Can’t come in today? You can also navigate to our online inventory page, find a few in-stock Spark models in Green Cove Springs that suit your needs, and schedule a test drive time that fits your busy life.  

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