For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Focus have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Rio doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The Focus Titanium’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Rio doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.
The Focus Titanium’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Rio doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.
To help make backing safer, the Focus Titanium’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Rio doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
The Focus (except S) offers optional SYNC®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Rio doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.
Both the Focus and the Rio have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, available daytime running lights and rear parking sensors.
The Focus’ 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Rio runs out after 100,000 miles.
There are almost 4 times as many Ford dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Focus’ warranty.
The Focus SE Sedan’s standard 1.0 turbo 3 cyl. produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (125 vs. 119) than the Rio’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. The Focus’ standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 30 more horsepower (160 vs. 130) and 27 lbs.-ft. more torque (146 vs. 119) than the Rio’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the Focus SE Sedan SFE Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Rio Manual (30 city/40 hwy vs. 29 city/37 hwy).
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Focus 1.0 ECOBoost’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Rio doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The Focus has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Rio doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
For better traction, the Focus has larger standard tires than the Rio (195/65R15 vs. 185/65R15). The Focus’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Rio (215/50R17 vs. 185/65R15).
The Focus’ optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Rio’s 65 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Focus offers optional 17-inch wheels. The Rio’s largest wheels are only 15-inches.
The Ford Focus’ wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Kia Rio only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.
The Focus Titanium offers an optional full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Rio, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.
For superior ride and handling, the Ford Focus has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Kia Rio has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
The Focus has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Focus flat and controlled during cornering. The Rio’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
The Focus’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Rio doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Focus’ wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the Rio (104.3 inches vs. 101.6 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Focus is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .2 inches wider in the rear than on the Rio.
The front grille of the Focus uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Rio doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Focus Sedan has 1 inch more front legroom, 1 inch more front hip room, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom and .4 inches more rear hip room than the Rio Sedan.
The Focus Hatchback has 1 inch more front legroom, 1 inch more front hip room, 1.5 inches more front shoulder room and .4 inches more rear hip room than the Rio Hatchback.
The Focus Hatchback has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the Rio 5-Door with its rear seat up (23.3 vs. 17.4 cubic feet). The Focus Hatchback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat folded than the Rio 5-Door with its rear seat folded (43.9 vs. 32.8 cubic feet).
The Focus automatic offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Rio doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The Focus’ standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Rio S/EX.
The Focus Titanium’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Rio EX’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Focus’ available exterior PIN entry system. The Rio doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system.
Intelligent Access standard on the Focus Titanium allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Kia Rio doesn’t offer an advanced key system.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Focus Titanium detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Rio doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
The Focus has standard power remote mirrors. The Rio LX doesn’t offer either a remote driver side or passenger side mirror. The driver will have to roll down the windows and reach across the car to adjust the mirrors.
The Focus’ optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Rio doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.
The Focus (except S) offers optional heated front seats, which keep the driver and front passenger extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated seats aren’t available in the Rio.
On extremely cold Winter days, the Focus’ optional (except S) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Rio doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Focus Titanium has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Rio doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.
The Focus SEL/Titanium’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Rio doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
The Focus SEL/Titanium’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Rio doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.
To direct the driver from any location to a given street address with audible turn-by-turn directions, a GPS navigation system is available on the Focus SEL/Titanium. The Focus’ navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Rio doesn’t offer a navigation system.
Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Focus, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Kia doesn’t offer wireless connectivity on the Rio LX.
The Focus Titanium’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Rio doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The Focus was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 7 of the last 18 years. The Rio has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.
The Focus was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” for 4 of the last 17 years. The Rio has never been an “All Star.”
The Ford Focus outsold the Kia Rio by over 9 to one during the 2017 model year.