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Reviews for the Kia Rondo

medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
edited March 10 in Kia
So what's the consensus so far? Almost all of the reviews range from middle-of-the-road to positive, with a majority being clearly positive. In fact, only two of the reviews were definitely negative (see the Cars.com and KickingTires reviews in the American section below).

Thanks to conwelpic for suggesting the creation of this discussion/thread. And thanks to everyone who first posted some of these links in other threads. Feel free to make corrections, update the links, or post links to recent reviews.

American Reviews
Active Lifestyle Vehicles
Ann M. Job (Associated Press)
Autoblog
Automobile.com
AutoWeb
AutoWeek
Boston Globe
Brightcove.com (video) Not sure who the people are in the video or what organization produced it
Car & Driver (Feb. 2007)
Car & Driver (May 2007)
Car Connection
Cars.com
Chicago Sun-Times
CNET Focuses on the technology and entertainment systems in the Rondo
Edmunds.com
Family Car
Frank A. Aukofer (Scripps Howard News Service)
Kansas City Star
KickingTires (Cars.com blog)
LA Times
Michael Karesh (creator of TrueDelta.com)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Motor Trend
New Car Test Drive
Newsday
Orlando Sentinel
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sacramento Bee
San Francisco Chronicle
San Jose Mercury News
Stamford Times
Truth About Cars
WardsAuto.com
Washington Times

Canadian Reviews
Auto123.com (Nov. 2006)
Auto123.com (June 2007)
Canadian Driver (Nov. 2006)
Canadian Driver (May 2007)
Globe & Mail
Graeme Fletcher (CanWest News Service)
Graeme Fletcher (CanWest News Service) - Rondo EX V6 vs. Mazda5 GT
Kelly Taylor (CanWest News Service)
Motoring Television (QuickTime video)
Toronto Star (Nov. 2006)
Toronto Star (May 2007)
Toronto Sun
Victoria Times Colonist
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Comments

  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    Some British reviews for the latest Carens (a.k.a. Rondo in the US and Canada):

    Auto Express - New Reviews
    Auto Express - First Drives
    Car Keys
    Car Magazine Negative review
    Honest John
    Parker's
    What Car?
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    One new and one old review from Canada, both positive:

    Autonet.ca
    Calgary Sun
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    "Hmm. Imagine what might happen if and when Kia gets those quality scores up there among the average and above-average brands."
    This was the last line from from a review in the Globe and Mail back in November 2006.

    Which is interesting as here is the latest report from J.D. Powers on Initial Quality Study dated June 6th.

    "Among non-premium brands, Kia posts the largest improvement in ranking, moving from 24th in 2006 to 12th in 2007"

    full write up:
    http://www.jdpower.com/press-releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2007088
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    MotorWeek--read the review or watch the video
    Mostly positive review.

    Winding Road
    I would deem this short review as probably negative. The reviewer focuses mainly on his dislike of the four-cylinder transmission but doesn't say much about the V6 or anything else.
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    Thanks, I've added the Motorweek one to my list (like the video), I already had the Winding Road which I thought was a very poor and extremely short review, not because of any negative comments (thats what we want to know and to check it out to see if it is actually correct) but not very thorough. Their comment about competing with the HHR for example with regards to the 4 cylinder engine, I've read comments about the HHR engine saying the same thing. Makes you wonder sometimes what these testers were driving before they reviewed, as most of the negative comments on the 4 cylinder don't seem to relate to actual owners use.
    What engine do you have in your Rondo "medicineman". (you didn't fill out your profile)
  • odmanodman Posts: 309
    I was in a grocery store today and saw the July issue with a Rondo review:
    http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=3&article_id=5437
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    You can read about my thoughts on the 4 cylinder and the handful of negative reviews over here. Not that it's all that enlightening--far from it. :)
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    Seven more reviews to add to the list. Six are generally positive, one is generally negative (see last review).

    CarBuzzard.com
    Car-Data.com
    Everett Daily Herald
    OnWheels
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    Tirekicking Today

    Car Connection (Dec. 2006)
    This review is different from the Car Connection review in the original post. It's a preview look at the Rondo, which is really just a review of the Carens with diesel engine.
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    I think you'll get a kick out of this positive review, so check it out:
    Jalopnik

    BTW, the review mentioned this: "Aux input jack for iPods and Cowon Mp3 players is coming for 2008."
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    Another positive review:
    NY Times
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    if you haven't seen it, check out www.kiamotors.com, its quite an elaborate site and covers their world market.
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    thanks for yet another review, but I was looking around the Consumer Site and in their blog this report was made:

    This group of expensive, upscale SUVs begs for a brickbat award to the new BMW X5. At almost $57,000, the most expensive in this group by $10,000. The ride is hard, the transmission hunts constantly, routine handling feels ponderous and heavy, and the six-cylinder engine seems overwhelmed. Worse, I found the whole vehicle to be a nuisance to live with. The wiper and turn signal controls have a mind of their own. The cruise control is impossible to see or decipher. The radio and navigation controls are obtuse. And my whole family spent all weekend pulling the interior door handles twice to get out as I fumbled for the power unlock button. (Silly me, I didn't think to look on the center of the dashboard between the A/C vents and the hazard-lights button.) Then when we did get the doors open, we had to leap out over the running boards and slap a piece of trim back in place on the left rear fender after every trip. In the end, I preferred driving my humble Subaru Forester, or even the bland-but-competent Lincoln MKX, over this "luxury" SUV.

    so the odd complaints I've come across for the Rondo, seem pale in comparison to this vehicle and to think you only have to pay $40,000 (US) more to have all these "great features"! ;)
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    I would deem this review as negative, since the columnist doesn't see any reason to buy a Rondo (except for being easier to park) when you can buy a Dodge Caravan that has much more room and just slightly worse mileage. He believes that the Caravan can be had for less than the Rondo due to the imminent release of the redesigned 2008 Caravan. I guess he wouldn't see any reason to buy a Mazda5, either.

    I decided to post the entire article since it might not be available on the website for much longer.

    ----
    THE DRIVER'S SEAT
    By JEFF SABATINI

    Can a Small Van Make It Big in the U.S.?

    May 11, 2007; Page W3
    Source

    Strange as it might seem in our consumerist land of unlimited choice, there are plenty of vehicles we can't buy in the U.S. Not just diesel-powered luxury sedans and exotic supercars, but everyday transportation as common in the rest of the world as Ford F-150 pickups are here.

    Take small minivans, for instance. They are part of one of the fastest-growing vehicle segments in Europe, called multipurpose vehicles or MPVs. Dozens of such models are sold there, while we have a handful -- literally. You can count them on one hand: The seven-year-old, retro-styled Chrysler PT Cruiser (one) needs no introduction. Its largely derivative doppelgänger, the Chevrolet HHR (two), deserves none. The cultist Scion xB (three) and the sporty Mazda5 (four) are more representative of the genre as it exists in countries that ratified the Kyoto treaty. That leaves us with a thumb left for the newest entrant to this segment, Kia's Rondo.

    The Rondo is essentially a tall, midsize wagon with an optional pair of folding seats in the cargo area. That means it can seat as many as seven despite a footprint slightly smaller than the Korean maker's midsize Optima sedan, on which it is based. To get a sense of how much a typical American minivan dwarfs the Rondo, consider that at 179 inches long, it's more than 10 inches shorter than the standard Dodge Caravan and nearly two feet shorter than the long-wheelbase Grand Caravan.

    Unlike conventional minivans, the Rondo does without sliding doors, an effective ploy in disguising its true purpose for the image-conscious. What style points the conventional doors give, however, the upright stance and large "greenhouse" (what car makers call the glassed-in area) take away. The overall look is something like a Toyota Camry crossed with a London taxicab.

    In parts of the world where people actually know what the latter looks like, Kia's front-wheel-drive people mover is powered by either a diesel or gasoline engine, both with four cylinders and a two liters of displacement. For the U.S. market, however, the vehicle comes with a choice of a 2.4-liter four or a 2.7-liter V6, both running on gasoline and mated to automatic transmissions. That the "small" engine in the U.S. market is 20% larger than its European counterpart is significant, because this is the heart of the problem facing the Rondo in its immigration to the States.

    Ostensibly, the main reason someone would buy a compact MPV instead of a bigger, roomier minivan is to get better fuel economy -- at least that's the reasoning in Europe. So let's do some math. The four-cylinder Rondo sold in the U.S. has a combined EPA fuel economy of 24 miles per gallon, while the V6 version gets 23. But those numbers are for the five-passenger version, and adding the extra seats will tack on roughly 70 additional pounds to the Rondo's 3,300-plus pound curb weight. And that's before you put any bodies in those seats. A more real-world answer to the fuel-economy question is that in more than 300 miles of driving in a seven-passenger, V6-powered Rondo, I averaged 19.6 mpg.

    Now let's look at the big minivans. The 2007 Dodge Caravan with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine has a combined EPA rating of 22 mpg. Opt for the 3.3-liter V6 and that drops to 21 mpg. The Toyota Sienna and Nissan Quest, both equipped with 3.5-liter V6s, manage 22 mpg and 21 mpg, respectively. In everyday driving, any of these minivans will average in the high teens.

    Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Because I'm pretty sure I know what Kia's customers are thinking. The Costco-shopper types who tend to frequent Kia dealerships are always on the lookout for the best deal, and a mile or two of extra driving per gallon may not seem like a big enough payoff for a less-roomy interior. That means about the only way Kia dealers can hope to snare these people away from regular minivans is with a cut-rate price. The least-expensive seven-passenger Rondo starts at $18,995, including destination charge, which may or may not do it. There is undoubtedly a Dodge dealer in your neck of the woods who will be glad to unload a 2007 Caravan for less, thanks to the Caravan's imminent 2008 redesign.

    Hopefully the Rondo can find a market as a nice alternative to the status quo. It seems well screwed-together, and it moves with that quiet, detached fluidity that has long been the hallmark of Toyotas. It doesn't come with power doors or a power tailgate or a DVD player in the back seat. (Perhaps Kia can get a coalition of librarians and newspaper publishers to promote this absence-of-feature.) There are no origami-puzzle seats that disappear into thin air, but the seats do slide and fold easily enough to allow your brood to clamber into an almost-spacious third row.

    That said, there's still not a compelling reason to purchase a Rondo instead of a conventional minivan, save for it being slightly easier to park. If Kia would have left well enough alone and imported the four-cylinder European version, a stronger case could be made. Of course, Kia's perception of the importance of power and acceleration ruled the day, as it always does in the U.S.

    Perhaps that's why we don't get more European vehicles here. We just don't get them.

    image
    ----
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    Auto columnist Warren Brown made this short negative comment about the Rondo during an online chat session (see here):

    Neither I nor my assistant, Ria Manglapus, liked the Rondo. It was an unadulterated disappointment--sub par build quality, whiny engines (both the 162-horsepower inline four AND the 182-hp V-6), uninspired styling. Kia generally has been doing a very good job with new product introductions. The Rondo isn't one of them.
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    There are currently 63 reviews for the Rondo posted in this thread/discussion (including that short bit by the WP columnist). This total doesn't include the posted reviews for the Carens because of the differences between the Carens and Rondo (i.e., the Carens is available in manual and diesel versions, not so for the Rondo).

    By my estimation:
    58 reviews range from mildly positive to very positive.
    5 reviews are generally negative.

    Whenever a review does criticize the Rondo, it's usually about its looks and/or its performance and handling, although most reviews do not mention these "flaws." Most reviews are positive about the Rondo's utility, configurability, safety and roominess--although some state that the seven seater's rearmost seats are suitable for children and shorter adults only.
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    This guy sure misses the point (size does matter), but he does have a few valid points regarding the changes of "world" vehicles brought into North America, but KIA is not the only one. The same applies to Toyota like the Verso, Honda FR-V, Ford C-Max and S-Max, etc that have great MPV's in Europe and you don't see them here. I'm not sure, but I think the engine situation is an emissions problem that's the reason for no diesels over here at present (but they will be coming in the next 2-3 years) or even the smaller gas engines. I like the London taxicab comparison as I think thats a great design and efficient use of space (I actually saw one on the 401 last year that was owned by a shuttle service company in Ontario).
    However, he did seem impressed with the quality.
    It seems well screwed-together, and it moves with that quiet, detached fluidity that has long been the hallmark of Toyotas.
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    conwelpic wrote:
    This guy sure misses the point (size does matter)

    Yep, I agree with you. For some of us, buying a not-so-minivan would be overkill. I just don't need that much space. I also don't feel comfortable driving a huge vehicle on congested city streets. Trying to parallel park it? Forget about it. It's kind of ironic that I'm saying this since I learned to drive in a huge honkin' Plymouth Grand Fury.
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    Mother Proof
    From a "mom with small kids" perspective, the writer finds the Rondo coming up short.

    MyRide Blog (VegasRondo)
    A blogger's mostly positive review.
  • sqosqo Posts: 12
    Thanks again for trolling for reviews and the links to them.

    Mama Sara's obviously looking for something different. Referee armrests?
    Since she brings it up -- I had some interest in the Mazda5's sliding doors, but the rear captain's chairs waste valuable flat cargo space. I occasionally notice how wide the Rondo's rear doors are in narrow parking spaces. They do open wider than many other vehicles, so give adequate access to the back area and openings large enough to get large bulky items in and out easily. I find myself reconfiguring the back frequently, depending on what the load is - passengers, lumber, furniture, dogs...

    VegasRondo's blog is a pretty decent summary.

    In recent hot weather, I also got 16 mpg mileage driving in-city with the a/c going. That was a disappointment, considering the 29 mpg I got on the first 2 tanks with freeway, some cruise control and a/c and a full load. Was hoping to be more pleasantly surprised. Sounds like for a few of us, that first tank of gas was a charm.
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    Another positive review, in its entirety because I suspect it will be short-lived on the website. Being a Canuck, I had to check Google Maps to find where San Leandro is (San Francisco Bay area).

    ----
    Rondo Commands Attention

    San Leandro Times
    By : STEVE SCHAEFER : 7/25/07
    Source

    With today’s concerns over the twin problems of fuel prices and global warming caused by fuel combustion, many families are wondering what to do. Sport utility vehicles and minivans are not the most fuel-efficient rides, yet if you want to carry five or six (or even seven) people, what choice do you have?

    Well, the Rondo is part of a new wave of mini minivans, and at this point, has only one real competitor. The Rondo can carry up to seven passengers, yet is smaller and lighter than the fullsized competition.

    I recently got the chance to spend a week with the Rondo. Impressive is the word that comes to mind, but maybe it’s time to stop being surprised when Kia delivers the goods. Korean manufacturers are using the original Toyota success model - quality and features for a reasonable price - and appear to have the will and the desire to make it work.

    Rondos come in one body style, labeled "Midsize S/WGN" by the EPA. You can choose from the LX or higher-level EX model - the typical naming convention for the auto industry today.

    The LX comes well equipped. Mechanical features include a four-speed automatic transmission; front and rear disc brakes with four-wheel, fourchannel ABS; and electronic stability control. Appearance and interior goodies include 16-inch alloy wheels, an AM/FM/CD audio system, and power windows and locks. For safety, six airbags are standard, including front, side and side curtain. A tire pressure monitor is there, too.

    The EX upgrades some features and adds more stuff. The automatic transmission gains a gear, the alloy wheels get an extra inch (to stylish 17s), the audio system is enhanced with a CD changer and steering-wheel-mounted controls, and the driver enjoys a leatherwrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The EX also adds worthwhile things like illuminated vanity mirrors and some attractive exterior chrome trim.

    Either level comes with a choice of a 162-horsepower fourcylinder or a 182-horsepower V6 engine. Riding on a four-wheel independent suspension with standard front and rear anti-roll bars, the Rondo handles surprisingly well for a 3,500-pound family hauler.

    Fuel economy ratings are 21 City, 29 Highway for the fourcylinder and 20/27 for the V6.

    The EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide gives the Rondo a 6 for both Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas score. If you live in California or one of the other four states with ou get a 7 on the Air Pollution score, which makes the Rondo an EPA recommended Smartway vehicle - better for the environment than most other cars. [This paragraph appeared like this on the website. For more info, check the EPA's website.]

    My Volcanic Red tester was an EX with two extra equipment packages plus the third-row seat (which fits actual adults!). The Leather Package adds leather seats with heat. The Premium Package provides a sunroof and a 10-speaker, 315-watt Infinity audio system. Even with all this, the price of this loaded family hauler came to $23,495. An LX with the four-cylinder and no extras starts at just $16,995 (including destination charge).

    Riding in the Rondo is remarkably quiet, and the interior fittings look like they came out of a Mercedes-Benz or Lexus. If you actually feel them, they are often hard plastic, but Kia got it right, especially at their price point. The panoramic view and clear graphics on the instrument panel add to the overall sense of well-being.

    Throw in Kia’s Total Protection Plan warranty, and it’s hard to imagine why anyone who tested the Rondo and actually needed one wouldn’t drive it home immediately. My notebook contains only positive comments - something that doesn’t happen that often.
    ----
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    I previously posted the link to VegasRondo's review, but the link has changed (not sure why). Here's the new link.

    Plus, check out Keith Buglewicz's blog entry, who wrote the review that appears at AutoWeb (and other similar sites).
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    Two thumbs up for the Rondo, although hardly enthusiastic.

    ----
    RONDO: Kia spacious, but not clumsily large
    Functionality in the eye of the beholder
    Kia Rondo has plenty of room for bikes and tykes.


    Austin American-Statesman
    Saturday, July 28, 2007
    Source

    Kia's Rondo arrived just as gas prices were about to spike at $3-plus, propitious timing for a compact vehicle with lots of space. Pete 'n' Pam wonder whether the new Korean import has enough spirit for jaded American drivers.

    Pete: The Rondo is the kind of practical car you'd own if you lived in France, where small and sometimes goofy-looking automobiles seem to proliferate like no place else. I can just picture the Rondo with a couple of baguettes poking out one window, your dog hanging out the other and you and five friends headed for a picnic along the Seine. Pass the fromage!

    Pam: Make mine brie, please. As for the Rondo, I think it looks like a minivan. But in Europe and Asia, they call this type of vehicle a "space wagon MPV."

    Pete: Yes, and they are popular there, where the Rondo is known as the Kia Carens. As far as I know, the only other Euro-style "space wagon" sold here is the Mazda5. Kia's ad copywriters are calling it a "crossover," but in reality, the Rondo is a little wagon-van.

    Pam: I don't get the nickname. The Rondo is more down-to-earth than space age. I can fold down the seats and slide in my bike, no problem. My oversize gym bag fits, along with my water ski, wet suit and change of clothes for work. Or I can load up seven passengers, who can use a total of 10 cup-holders. This ride is all about function, not NASA-style good looks.

    Pete: The Rondo does have kind of a frumpy look. But functionality has its own beauty. The Rondo is pretty comfortable up front. The back seat has a lot of legroom. The tiny way-back seat? That's where you compulsive exercisers toss your wet swimsuits when leaving Deep Eddy.

    Pam: I like the clean, sparse look of the dash, with just three centrally located dials. But when the Texas sun is shining, the glare makes it hard to read some of the digital readouts to the right, like those for the radio.

    Pete: The LCD readouts in most Asian cars are often hard to read. Is it always cloudy over there? I appreciate all the handy bins inside -- you could have 10 cell phones and find a place for each of them. But no MP3 plug-in jack or satellite radio? That's medieval nowadays.

    Pam: Squeezing into a parking spot on the road is not for the faint of heart, so I'm happy to report that parallel parking this little wagon is a lot easier than launching a rocket ship.

    Pete: I love the Rondo's size: large enough to carry cargo and several people but not so big it's wasteful and clumsy to drive. The 2.7-liter V-6 in our test Rondo EX has decent power for a small engine, but it costs $1,000 more than the 2.4-liter four.

    Pam: The Rondo has enough pep for most of my driving, but there were a few times, such as when I was trying to pass another car on a two-lane road, that I wished it had more juice. You didn't notice that?

    Pete: I'm either a victim of low expectations or just realistic. It's a family wagon.

    Pam: Yep. The test car had a five-speed automatic transmission. The 4-cylinder comes with a four-speed automatic. I still prefer manual transmissions, but the Sportmatic feature lets you choose your gear.

    Pete: The steering is slow, and the suspension gets flummoxed on battered pavement. Otherwise, it's a competent but decidedly un-sporty handler.

    Pam: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Wake me up when you're done. I can't think of anything wrong with the Rondo; I'm just having a hard time getting excited about it. Except for all that room, room, room to store my outdoor gear!

    Pete: I could easily live with the Rondo, but I'd buy the 4-cylinder version (starting at $17,000), which gets mileage in the 20s. Our test model was $22,500, a tad much for the Rondo. I sure wouldn't buy one with a gray paint job like our test Rondo. It looked like a delivery van.

    The Pete 'n' Pam column appears monthly. Contact Pete Szilagyi at petesz@macconnect.com and Pamela LeBlanc at pleblanc@statesman.com or 445-3994.

    According to Pete 'n' Pam ...

    Target audience: Drivers who seek function over form, anti-SUVers who need to carry things.

    Highs: Pete - Nicely finished cabin, interior storage for odds and ends, cargo space, quiet ride; Pam - Room for my water ski and my water ski buddies, clean dash design, easy to parallel park.

    Lows: Pete - Odd rear styling, lack of personality, no satellite radio or iPod jack; Pam - Sluggish when overtaking vehicles, digital readouts hard to read, bo-ring!

    Bottom line: Pete - If things keep going the way they are, we could all be driving Rondos in 10 years; Pam - Wake me up when this is over.
    ----
  • medicinemanmedicineman Posts: 135
    Consumer Guide

    The Rondo is rated in different categories and its final score is fairly average. My one beef with the review is that the Rondo's ratings are presented side-by-side with the average ratings for a midsize car--I wouldn't say that the Rondo is comparable to a midsize car.

    They are also doing a 12-month evaluation of the Rondo.
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    It probably is with its interior volume.

    Couple of comments on the Consumer Guide article - "Interior and exterior photos of the 2007 Kia Rondo are presented in our extensive photo gallery. Check out pictures of the new 2007 Kia Rondo from different angles and see the 2007 Kia Rondo in varying color options. Captions on each picture of the 2007 Kia Rondo identify different trim packages and body styles. "
    Doesn't look very extensive to me, only saw one picture!

    Also (from a Canadian perspective)you never see the invoice price stated (as they show at the start of the article) on any Canadian site (at least not any that I've come across), unless you pay a fee to obtain it.
  • odmanodman Posts: 309
    Car Guide Magazine from Canada has a short, positive review:
    http://www.carguidemagazine.com/impressions/article/6520
  • Another good review:
    Miami Herald
  • Two thumbs up for the Rondo, although the reviewers didn't like the exterior looks at all:
    Miles Around

    A generally positive review of the Carens. You need Internet Explorer to watch this video. If you get a popup window urging you to fill out a survey, just ignore it or reload the webpage:
    MSN UK

    This isn't a review but I thought you guys might be interested in seeing one of the Rondo's forefathers (i.e., this is a previous incarnation of the Carens):
    Kia Carens LS
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