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Kia Rondo Drivers Headrest

blueskidooblueskidoo Posts: 3
edited May 2014 in Kia
I am hoping I can get some help or advice here.

I test drove a Rondo and I really liked everything about it except the head rest on the front seats. I have whiplash, so I like to drive with the seat almost straight up so my entire back is supported, but the Rondo headrest sticks so agressivly forward I can't hold my head up straight. If I tip the seat back so I can hold my head up straight, then the top half of my back isn't supported. And I can't drive without pain in any position.

The dealer's solution was to turn the headrest backwards, but it wasn't designed to be that way, and that makes me nervous too.

Are there other head rests that would fit on the seat? Does anyone else have this problem?

Thanks for any ideas or help you could provide.


  • caliberchiccaliberchic Posts: 402
    Welcome to Carspace forums! I hope you find someone to answer your question so you can purchase your new car.
  • I had a similar issue with the Rondo headrests on my first test drive. The Kia salesman didn't realize that the headrests in the first row are adjustable front to back as well as up and down. To put the driver or front passenger headrest into its rearmost position, pull it all of the way forward and then release it so that it snaps backward.

    I hope this helps.
  • Thanks so much!

    I will definitly try that on my next test drive. The headrest seems like such a stupid reason not to buy a car, but if you can't drive without pain, then you can't buy the car.

    This is really good to know, I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Have a great day!
  • You're welcome.

    If the rearmost position of the headrest is still not far enough back for you, you could try using a shoulder-height accessory cushion between your back and the seat. Such a cushion would increase the distance between the back of your head and the headrest.
  • I don't know what bargainseeker decided to do, but this continues to be a source of frustration for us with our Rondo. Even the rearmost position is way to far forward to be passably comfortable. My husband took the headrest completely off every time he drove it - which is funny since Kia touts the fancy head restraint as such a huge safety feature. Finally we compromised by switchin in a headrest from the second row, which really does not provide sufficient support but at least it's not unbearably uncomfortable! Kia really needs to address this aspect of the design.

    It may not be a problem for everyone - I can only assume that airlines make many of their seats have an uncomfortable protuberance that forces the head forward because some people like them. But if you hate the bump on airline seats, don't buy a Rondo.
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    welcome to the forum rrraven.

    We don't own a Rondo, but we have sat in one a few times and found the drivers seat very comfortable and had no problem finding the right driving position for both my wife (5'-3") and myself (5'-11"). I don't know what position the headrest was in when we sat in it but it did not cause any interference with our seating but we will look more closely next time.
    We thought the "active headrest" was an excellent safety feature and should be on all vehicles. To quote the owners manual "The active headrest is designed to move forward and upward during a rear impact. This helps to prevent the driver's and front passenger's heads from moving backward and thus helps prevent neck injuries."

    It would be nice to see a picture as to why this causes a problem, wouldn't just reclining the back of seat solve it? My daughter owns a 2007 HHR and she says her husband removes the headrest when he drives it, but I drove it and had no problem and neither did my wife.

    As you didn't fill out your location I don't know whether you are in the US or Canada - have you thought of contacting KIA US or KIA Canada?
  • Yes, I suspect it is a matter of personal preference. I was excited when I first found this thread, thinking maybe the adjustment mentioned would solve our problems, but unfortunely we were already in the "best" position. My spouse and I both prefer an upright driving position, so reclining the seat also doesn't work for us. The active headrest is heavily lauded in many reviews, which makes it all the more frustrating that we not only end up disabling it, but are instead compelled to use a setup that is definitely sub-standard in terms of safety in order to get acceptable comfort.

    Other than this (and a few minor gripes), we love out Rondo. Having a car with three rows of seating is really handy. Another favourite is a heat/AC vent in the back seat, so we can thaw and freeze the kids when they need it. :)

    We are in Canada, and no, we haven't contacted Kia Canada - not sure what good that could do? I don't think it's anything wrong with our particular vehicle, but just the way it was designed. I keep hoping there will be a substitute headrest we could get, but so far haven't heard of one.

  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    according to a recent article in one of our local papers a physiotherapist who does a lot of work for people who have had whiplash, stated that the correct position for the headrest is the top of the headrest level with the top of your head and a maximum of 4" from the back of your head.
  • Yup, that sounds lovely. Unfortunately, for me, the "normal" Rondo headrest in it's farthest-back position is about 1 inch in FRONT of where my head wants to be, instead of up to 4 inches behind.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    Other than this (and a few minor gripes), we love out Rondo. Having a car with three rows of seating is really handy. Another favourite is a heat/AC vent in the back seat, so we can thaw and freeze the kids when they need it.

    Any experience with heating or cooling issues for 3rd row occupants. Specifically for heat, does any heat blow on the the 3rd row passengers feet?
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    having actually owned the Rondo for two months now, I have found no problem with the headrests and find them very comfortable nice to be able to put your head against it on long drives. Normally the back of my head is a few inches ahead of it.
  • Any experience with heating or cooling issues for 3rd row occupants. Specifically for heat, does any heat blow on the the 3rd row passengers feet?

    Yes there are toe warmer vents for the third row. According to my kids it takes a bit of time to warm up. I suspect that by the time the hot air gets to the back, it would be rather weak. KC
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    The Head rest sucks! I don't know who the damned thing was designed for but not me. Maybe those of darker shade that like to drive near laying down. To incline seat farther back cause great fatigue on arms. And to suggest using a wedge is not wise either unless you can find one that has built in bolsters and can be made very secure. And while I'm at it, the steering wheel is very uncomfortable to hold and too small. At any angle that is most comfortable it blocks most of the speedometer, and is never truly comfortable because of its hardness and the amount of road vibration it passes. Also vehicle is somewhat hard steering and also needs larger steering wheel for that reason.
  • alamocityalamocity Posts: 680
    Darker shade? What exactly are you referring to? I certainly hope you weren't referring to skin color as that would not only be insensitive but inappropriate for these forums. Sounds like you regret your vehicle purchase which is a shame however it was your choice, didn't you notice the problem with the headrest before buying?
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    OK, anybody laying down, sorry.
    Wife bought vehicle, first time I drove it had 900 miles and my comment to her was, "Drives like it has been wrecked."
    Unfortunately for me, she has no sense when dealing with such things, except I get to correct the aftermath.
    Probably did it without consent because I kept finding problems with vehicles she looked at. Last one was a one year old very low milage Sable. Very fine car for money in every way except excessive noise, even for a Sable. Low speed trip around block revealed it and getting back to lot it was obvious someone bent frame around window outward. Very light metal compared to first generation (late 80's).

    Absolute shame there are any problems with new vehicle. But it seems to go for all, including Corvette. Toured plant a few years back and they rolled one off the line, not out the door, but into pit. Terrible clanking like rod bearings or wrist pin. Asked mechanic how long it took to put new engine in it. "Oh no, we'll fix it!" So whoever got that car got one with a rebuild engine.
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    can't believe what you are saying or what the problem is, but I find the headrests are great and the best ones I've come across in all the vehicles I've ever owned (and I've been driving for over 40 years). You do realize they are adjustable to three different positions. The correct position is to have the headrest level with the top of your head and a maximum of 4" from the back of your head to the headrest.
    These headrests are also activated in case of rear end collision.

    As for the steering wheel, I find it an ideal size (I usually drive in the 9/3 position) and also the steering wheel should be about 10" away from you. Also I have a clear view of all my instrument panel with nothing blocked (I am 5'-11"). I agree the leather on the steering wheel could be a little softer (maybe it will over time), but there is no excessive vibration through it other than normal road feel and the steering is very light.
    I drive a 2008 EX Canadian model.
    (wish this site would allow more details in the left column to show what you drive and your location)
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    I may have been driving longer than you. First vehicle was '62 Buick Skylark convertible. And a lot of different vehicles. These are the worst headrests I've seen, but then you said '08 so maybe they redesigned. Adjusted back they force my head forward.
    How are they activated?
    Also you have leather which may have more padding. Base model is a near hard slippery vinyl which requires a firm hold to keep it from getting away.
    See my post about alignment in tires, etc.
  • cmhj2000cmhj2000 Se, Pa.Posts: 381
    Same issue here and I've been driving for 42 years. Don't remember how many new and used cars I've bought but my first was a used 63 Chevy Impala.

    Even with the Rondos headrest set to its' rear extreme, my head is held too far forward. I had a severe neck injury several years ago, which likely adds to my issue. However, my wife was also complaining about it after a test drive and it was set to the rear adjustment when she drove. Even our salesmen commented about it!!!

    That being said I took a rear head rest, inserted in the drivers seat back and it was much better. Still not what I like but better and I could live with it.

    Will check out the 08s one of these days to see if the issue has been addressed in any manner. If not I'll move on to another vehicle as the seat bottom was also another issue for my height and long legs.
  • e_net_ridere_net_rider Posts: 1,380
    Although dealer has no Rhondo '08's yet, I may be moving in that direction as well, thanks to GA lemon law.
    Check my postings under another discussion pertaining to tires and alignment.
    Vehicle will never handle properly if they can not align it. No adjustments for camber and caster. Either they put it together with a bad batch of suspension parts, front and right rear, or they welded it together wrong.

    Three times for same repair invokes lemon law. Been in twice already and best efforts on alignment rack can not fix it. They are talking about bringing engineer from Atlanta. And I will not let them do as many Ford customers ended up with in later 80's. They ground open existing holes to allow for play. This weakened some components to the point it caused accidents and law suits. Don't want accident or to end up sitting in court endlessly with or without a bad injury.

    This one may be that Monday or Friday vehicle, but considering so much is done with robots these days I feel certain there has to be a string of bad ones on the road. All bodies would roll down the same line.
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    my 2008 EX does not have leather, they are deluxe cloth seats. Leather is only available in the EX Premium 7-seater and EX-V6 Luxury 7-seater on the Canadian market (I have a 5-seater model). My wife is 5'-3" and she doesn't find any problem with the headrests either. Sorry you are having the problem.
    Not sure how its activated, probably a sensor similar to the ones used for air bag activation.

    My first vehicle was a 1960 VW 1200 Deluxe (used) and my first new vehicle was a 1965 Pontiac Parisienne 2-door hardtop.

    I wonder when KIA US is going to start showing 2008 Rondo info - they have been out in Canada since August!
  • bgwbgw Posts: 116
    We have an 07 EX V6 Luxury that we purchased in August. It currently has just under 7,000 kms.
    We have not experienced any problems whatsoever with our Rondo, including pulling to one side (we used the original Michelins on the 17" rims 'til November, then installed studded Goodyear winter tires on 15" steel rims). We love our Rondo, and are really pleased with the build quality and engineering.
    Those of you who are having problems with your Rondos pulling to one side, I hope you are able to get this resolved - please let us know what happens.
    I bought a 1991 Civic Si new in Jan 1992, and it pulled to the left really badly. After numberous trips to the dealer and repairs in vain, they finally replaced the entire steering rack and the problem was solved. Maybe this is something to consider?
  • I like the Headrest as they are designed in my 06 Sedona, "The active headrest is designed to move forward and upward during a rear impact. This helps to prevent the driver's and front passenger's heads from moving backward and thus helps prevent neck injuries".
    My vehicle received $4,500.00 rear end damage and I walked away, I do remember the Headrest comming forward and catching my head as I was pushed back then forward then back in the seat again. Please don't remove them THEY WORK.
  • We sat in one yesterday, and the head thing will be a deal breaker for us. I am 5' 3", and the "rest" in its lowest position hits my head exactly where the "bump" on the head comes out the farthest. It forces my chin down towards my chest. I could not even drive around the corner with it in that postion.

    If I raise it, which I did try, the wide part at the bottom of the restraint still hits the top of the back of my head; it does not push it as far down, but it is still uncomfortable.

    The only thing I could do if I bought this car, would be to turn the restraints around, which I am sure would horrify the safety designers. That makes the restraint too far back to protect me from whiplash; I can't even lean my head back on it for a little rest if a long drive.

    I suppose if we like enough other things about the vehicle, I could turn the thing around and wrap something like a towel or sew up some padded thing, to make it wider at the top for some protection.

    I did not think 5' 3" was that short! I don't really want to buy a wedge or other cushion so I can sit in my own car. If Kia & Honda & the rest of them want to sell cars to women they should design them so women can sit in them.
  • conwelpicconwelpic Ontario, CanadaPosts: 600
    my wife is 5'-3" and she has no problem with the headrest, she said finally a headrest that actually is functional and of some use. All our other vehicles its been virtually useless for her, usually too far back to do any good.

    Do you know the headrest can be adjusted back and forth as well as up and down?
  • kasikinkasikin Posts: 14
    It's an odd thing, these headrests. When I first got my car, it bothered me. But I messed around with it, adjusting the seat up and back a little until it was comfortable. I had to move it around every so often at first.

    Now it's completely comfortable to me. I drove another car recently without the headrest against my head and found it awkward and uncomfortable.

    Play around with the seat postion, it moves up and down and you can change the angle a little. You should be able to find something that works.
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