The hatchbacks are slowly becoming a more common sight on Philippine roads. These vehicles offer a compact form factor with a two-box design allowing for a versatile configuration that allows for both the transportation of people as well as cargo. More and more offerings have appeared through the years offering buyers better mobility options at affordable prices. As the competition heated up, two vehicles have stood out. The first is the Kia Rio and the second is the Mazda2 hatchback both offering buyers great value for money features in a compact form factor. Which of these two hatchbacks are better value when pitted against each other? Let's find out in this Head-to-Head.
The Mazda2’s and the Kia Rio’s styling tries to do a lot to catch your eye with cues that are attractively designed. The Mazda2 comes with a more aggressive yet subtle style with a large grille dominating its front fascia which is flanked on either side by LED projector headlights and LED daytime running lights. The Kia Rio, on the other hand, comes similarly equipped with projectors, but it only has a halogen bulb. It does, however, have a nifty adaptive function that allows a secondary halogen bulb to fire depending on the direction the driver is turning. On top of that, Kia’s Tiger-Nose grill gives this hatch a tamer, yet somewhat athletic look, even if it is closed off.
On the sides, the Mazda2 and Kia Rio both come with 16-inch wheels for their respective top-of-the-line models. It is important to note, however, that the entry-level Rio comes with a set of 15-inch wheels instead. The side profile of both vehicles are quite similar as they both use the two-box design philosophy, however, the Mazda2 comes with a much rounder design.
The rear of the Kia Rio features a chunkier design that comes with cuts that accentuate the vehicle that almost gives it a crossover like appeal. Contrast this to the Mazda2 which comes with a much rounder and softer rear that fits its hatchback design. For this category, we will have to give it to the Mazda2 as it comes with a much sleeker design and better lighting elements, a huge advantage to have especially on dimly lit roads.
Interior and features
On the inside, both vehicles come with a similar layout, a large dashboard upfront with an infotainment system down the middle. Both vehicles also have no leather seat material option as they can only be had with a fabric material. The Mazda2 opts to go with a large single speedometer at the center of its gauge cluster while the Kia Rio goes with two split gauges, one for the tachometer, and one for the speedometer. It is important to note that the Rio comes with a touchscreen infotainment system while the Mazda2 utilizes its Mazda connect system. Both of these vehicles are capable of connecting to your smartphone via Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. For this category, we will give it to the Kia Rio as it takes time to get used to using the Mazda connect feature in order to operate its infotainment system.
Winner: Kia Rio
Power and Handling
Two different companies, two different approaches to handling and power. The Mazda2 comes powered by its 1.5-liter naturally aspirated SkyActiv engine that produces 108hp and 141 Nm of torque that comes mated with a 6-speed automatic transmission with sport mode. The Kia Rio, on the other hand, brings with it a 1.4-liter engine that makes 99hp and 133 Nm of torque that is sent to the front wheels via a 4-speed automatic transmission.
In terms of ride comfort and handling Mazda manages to edge out the Kia by giving the Mazda2 a firm yet comfortable ride aimed at a more connected feel between the car and driver. Kia on the other hand has chosen to go with a softer suspension which is great for uneven roads, however, is detrimental for those who want a more spirited driving experience as body roll is more prevalent. For this category, we will have to give to the Mazda2 as it comes with a better transmission as well as sportier handling, but your preference may vary.
Here is where the Kia Rio comes in with an advantage over its Japanese counterpart. Since it comes available with more variants and with a price range of P920,000 to P985,000 this gives interested buyers more options to choose from. The Mazda2, on the other hand, can only be had for P995,000 which becomes its limiting factor for buyers wanting to get a well-equipped hatchback. With that said for this category and for offering more options for buyers to choose from we have to give it to the Kia Rio.
Winner: Kia Rio
Both hatchbacks present themselves as very capable machines. The Mazda2 gives the buyer a more athletic package while the Kia Rio goes for a more comfortable easy-riding character. These are two very different approaches to the standard hatchback formula. As value for money goes each vehicle has its own pros and cons which can help you determine which vehicle to buy.
If you want to have a more driver-focused vehicle, then the Mazda2 is your best option. Not only has Mazda put effort into developing the chassis to handle better, but the 6-speed automatic transmission along with the brand’s SkyActiv engine also promises to deliver the best it can out of its subcompact form factor. For those who want a sporty yet affordable hatchback, the Mazda2 is the one for you.
If you want a comfortable city runabout hatchback, then the Kia Rio presents itself as such. While it is down on power, the South Korean automaker has opted to give it a more comfortable ride. It can easily handle the uneven roads of the Philippines. Its 4-speed automatic transmission and 1.4-liter engine are more geared towards city driving and commuting more than spirited driving. If you want a comfortable city hatchback then the Kia Rio is for you.
Overall Winner: Mazda2
Whichever one you choose we still highly recommend going to the dealerships and giving these two vehicles a test drive or following our reviews. If you want to get your hands on one of them today, however, we also highly recommend using our buy it now features.