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Reviews for the Kia Rondo



  • 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

    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

    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 and Pamela LeBlanc at 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:
  • 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
  • I posted the link to this review before, but I think the review has been removed from the website. So here it is in its entirety:

    Kia Rondo is nimble in the city; interior is more appealing than exterior

    Al Beeber
    Thursday, July 05, 2007
    Welland Tribune

    In musical terms, a rondo is "a form of composition with a recurring theme" often found in the final movement of a sonata or concerto, according to a dictionary definition.

    Why Kia chose to plaster that name onto its curious new crossover vehicle is perplexing.

    Was Kia trying to suggest some type of theme is evident in its Rondo, which basically is an inexpensive small wagon capable of carrying seven passengers in models equipped with a third row?

    If so, I'm at a loss to explain what that theme might be except value, because Kia is renowned for packing a lot of features into its cars at low prices.

    If the theme is about value, then the Rondo lives up to it because for a price of $27,490, a buyer can get a fully-loaded Rondo EX-V6 that will seat seven on leather seats - heated up front, of course. It's an interesting vehicle. From a styling perspective, the Rondo is proof that beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder. It's got some sporty cues, especially when viewed from the rear, but from the front, the Rondo is rather homely.

    The interior is much more appealing with a comfortable and pleasantly designed cabin. Gauges are bright and legible, the dashboard has a sound system and heating controls that are intuitive to operate and the gearshift lever is angled from the dash perfectly for a driver's right hand.

    Truth be told, the driver's seating position is superb. The leather-trimmed seats are supportive and have high backs, legroom is abundant and the height is minivan-like. The stubby centre console between the front seats is positioned superbly for resting and elbow and in front of it are two massive cupholders.

    Kia clearly paid a lot of attention to driver comfort because the Rondo has the feel of a minivan in the cockpit. The only oddities are the triangular vent windows in front of the side mirrors in the A pillars. They're compact versions of those big honkers that were among the most noticeable design elements of the mid-1990s Chevrolet "Dustbuster" minivans.

    The fully-loaded tester comes with an array of goodies from power everything to a sunroof. It also has auto-off headlights, dual heated side mirrors, steering wheel audio controls for the six-speaker sound system, automatic temperature control, eight-way power driver's seat and full-length side curtain airbags.

    The tester also has 17-inch wheels and foglights.

    Electronic stability control, traction control and electronic brake distribution are standard right across the Rondo line.

    The middle seating row has a 60/40 split bench that will accommodate three in comfort while a 50/50 split seat is in back.

    Middle and rear rows can quickly and easily be folded flat to create a humongous cargo area. While the headrests have to be removed from the middle seats, Kia does have slots for them, which is handy.

    With more than 73 cubic feet of space behind the front seats, the Rondo could be a really good urban hauler. The cargo area is wide and the roof high so a pile of stuff could be loaded.

    Even with the second row of seats in place, the Rondo has 31.7 cubic feet of cargo room which is plenty for hauling a family's luggage. And if more space is needed, the roof-mounted cargo racks can come in handy.

    The middle row of seats offers plenty of legroom for adult passengers and they can be slid forward and aft to give more space to the rear riders.

    The tester is powered by a 2.7-litre V6 engine cranking out 182 horsepower.

    Fuel economy is only 24 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. A 2.4-litre inline four comes with the LX, EX and EX Premium models. Fuel mileage with that 162 hp powerplant is marginally better at 26 mpg city/38 mpg highway.

    In the urban jungle, the Rondo is nimble, quick, easy to manoeuvre and fun to drive. This is where its virtues really shine. People who need space for stuff could conceivably see it as a value-minded alternative to the traditional minivan.

    On the highway, road and wind noise are intrusive and engine performance is completely underwhelming. The V6 always seems to be struggling even at cruising speed. When passing, drivers had better expect the Kia to argue loudly when the gas pedal is pressed because quick acceleration is not the Rondo's forte. I can't imagine what the four-banger would be like.

    The car handles well though and has a smooth ride, but a lot more oomph and a lot less wind rush would probably make it way more appealing.

    As it is, the Rondo certainly does have potential to make an impact with buyers. The price is certainly right and its roominess plus creature comforts are attractive. Just don't take it on the highway.
  • Yep, positive review:
    Auto Channel
  • Here's a positive video review of the Rondo by a guy from appearing on Fox 6 in San Diego.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    I would have been more impressed if the host would have climbed into the 3rd row and the lady into the 2nd row and they conducted the review from inside. Then you would have had a better idea of the interior space.
  • A fairly even-handed review that ultimately recommends the Rondo.
  • There seems to be mainly two types of reviews for the Rondo. First, there are the reviews that just gush about the Rondo; second, there are the reviews that are non-enthusiastic about the Rondo's looks and performance, yet love its utility, size and value. This review belongs to the latter type:
    Dallas Morning News
  • As you'll see, both reviews are somewhat off the beaten path.
  • ramblinramblin Posts: 29
    I haven't seen the idiotic commercials for some time. I hope they lost the digital copy and didn't pay the ad agency responsible for the ads.
This discussion has been closed.