2007 Kia Rondo Long-Term Road Test

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2007 Kia Rondo: Heads-Up, Seven-Up!

June 24, 2008

Upon arriving home from work today I was greeted by my wife's grade-school chum and her two daughters. They were hungry. "Let's go the the pub," my wife suggested.

No, the pub in question was not the Winchester, and we were not being persued by suburban zombies (not that we know of, anyway.) We were headed to The Olde Ship, an authentic family-friendly joint about a dozen miles away.

With Shepard's pie and curry in our sights, I loaded everyone into our 2007 Kia Rondo for an impromptu test of its 7-passenger capability.

They were reluctant at first, but the second row's easy fold action allowed two representatives of the 9 through 10-year old demographic to scamper easily in the third row. The second row, slid all the way back with no complaints from the back seat contingent, carried three: my wife's friend, my pre-teen daughter, and a wee one in a booster seat. My wife and I fit up front, and I was able to put my seat where I usually like it.

Everyone fit easily--no complaints at all. And the 2.7-liter V6 engine had plenty of steam to merge comfortably onto the freeway and keep the Rondo moving along at a good clip.

There isn't much cargo room when the third-row is in use, so it's best to view the third seat here as a supplemental one for those times when young relatives or your kids' friends ride along--like this trip to the pub, for instance.

When this Kia was introduced, no one could quite see how it fit into the US automotive landscape. Who was looking for a mini minivan-type wagon thing, anyway? Now that downsizing is something a lot of folks are suddenly considering and compacts are flying off the lots, the 3-row Kia Rondo seems well-positioned to scoop up some young family converts.

And it drives nice, too.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 10,955 miles

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2007 Kia Rondo: Cool It Now

June 23, 2008

Big greenhouse = great for orchids, bad for humans.

Temperatures in Southern California this weekend were in the 90s and 100s. Hooooowee, that's hot! Not the best time of year to grab the keys to the big greenhoused long-term Kia Rondo, it turns out. I confirmed that that big space can be hard to cool down.

Up front, we were able to pretend we felt cool by directing the vents so the air hit us directly wherever we could get it. And thankfully for rear-seat passengers, there are rear seat vents, so I felt free to be a front seat vent hog. But all that glass and airy passenger space which makes for great visibility (one of my fave Rondo traits) also makes for a long cool-down time. Additionally, cranking the fan up to high didn't do much; not a whole lotta power coming out of there. I had to use max A/C most of the time we were in the car.

I've seen consumer reviews from RondOwners who suggest that Kia offer tinted windows, and I agree with them 100%. Any car that's baking in the sun under triple-digit temps is going to be hot hot hot (especially right when you get in it), can't get around that. But in the sizzling Rondo, I'll take any little bit of help I can get.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 10,874 miles

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2008 Kia Rondo: Right Tool, Right Job

March 25, 2008

When I was a kid my dad always said "You've got to use the right tool for the right job." Turns out screwdrivers don't make very good weed diggers or gasket scrapers. I admit it, he was right.

The Kia Rondo is like one of those screwdrivers I regularly abused, it doesn't work for everything. However, find a nice big standard screw and that wood handled driver works perfectly.

Is the Rondo sporty or luxurious or attractive? No, no and double no - witness its sparse interior. But as a low priced family hauler the Rondo is great. For that specific job, it is the right tool. A spacious interior and decent driving dynamics are clear pluses.

Brian Moody, Road Test Editor

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2007 Kia Rondo: Seating Stanley

February 19, 2008

This weekend, I had our long-term Kia Rondo and the pleasure of taking my husband, two of his cousins and our child out to dinner. Given that the Rondo is marketed as a family-pleasing shuttle, I seized it as an opportunity to assess the seating comfort of the Rondo when carrying more than just my little family.

The Rondo's Passengers
Adult female driver: Me, 5 feet 7 inches, slight build
Passenger #1: Stanley, Adult male, 6 feet 2 inches, medium build
Passenger #2: Muriel, Adult female, 5 feet 5 inches, slight build
Passenger #3: Hank, Adult male, 5 feet 9 inches, slight build
Passenger #4: The Toddler, 2-year-old female, average build, big cheeks

The Report
On the way to the restaurant, the seating arrangement (presented clockwise) was me in the driver seat, Stanley in the front passenger seat, Hank in the second-row seat behind Stanley, The Toddler in her rear-facing child seat in the center position of the second-row seat, and Muriel in the second-row seat behind me. We did not utilize the third-row seat.

No complaints came from the second-row seat. But Stanley found the limited front passenger seat legroom (with the rear-facing car seat preventing adequate rearward adjustment) unpleasant. On the way home, he decided to try his luck in the second-row seat behind me. This provided better legroom, but then hip room was tight, the culprit again being The Toddler's child seat.

Overall, the Rondo took on this challenge well and still managed to feel peppy when it needed to, though, I think that if my life required hauling this many adults more regularly, I'd want a larger vehicle, like a minivan or a crossover SUV.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com @ 6,304 miles

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2007 Kia Rondo: Pushing the Limits of Fashion

January 16, 2008

Picture #1: our longterm 2007 Kia Rondo

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2007 Kia Rondo: Slick Rear Seat

December 17, 2007

2007 Kia Rondo!

Our 2007 Kia Rondo has the optional third-row seat. This has to be one of the cheaper ways to get seven-passenger capacity in a new vehicle. As noted in our long-term introduction, our fully-loaded Rondo checks in at $22,495.

Given the Rondo's budget price and small-ish size, I was prepared to write-off the third row as gimmicky or troublesome. Our Outlander's third-row, for instance, is flimsy and hard to fold. But to my surprise, raising and getting to the Rondo's third-row seat are both quite easy.

The second-row seats slide fore and aft to increase rear legroom or luggage space. On each side, a handy seat-mounted lever allows one to slide the seat forward with the seatback canted forward. This opens up a nice walk-through to get to the third row.

The third-row seat is a 50/50-split design. You raise and lower the seatbacks by pulling a strap. That's it. No need to RTFM, look at pictograms that might as well come off a Klingon battle cruiser or risk a hernia by removing anything.

Comfort? Well, I'm 5-foot 10-inches. In the third row, my head brushes up against the headliner and my knees are perched uncomfortably high. But they don't touch the back of the second-row seat and I can snug my feet underneath the second-row. It's really not all that bad. For kid-related occasional use, I'd say the Kia Rondo's third-row seat would work out great.

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2007 Kia Rondo: Blown Away (sort of)

November 25, 2007

Our 2007 Kia Rondo has one of the simplest and most logical climate control systems going. And it generally works great. But on a recent jaunt to the LA Auto show, it left me cold. Well, OK, mildly chilly.

You see I needed a bit of cool air circulating, but not so much that I could feel the breeze itself. At the lowest fan speed, there's still too much concentrated airflow and too many goosebumps. I couldn't aim the vents far enough away, and shutting the offending ones off completely (a) defeated the purpose by stopping circulation where I needed it and, (b) accelerated the flow through the remaining ones further still, creating more noise and annoying the passenger. Blending a bit more warm air in didn't do the trick either, as the breeze was still too strong.

During the summer, when too much A/C is never enough, this was never an issue. But on these in-between warm fall days with bright sun, I find that I need a lower "low" fan speed. Or a jacket.

Note: Ignore the settings above - the photo was taken on a different day.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,501 miles

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2007 Kia Rondo: Of Rover and Rondo

November 08, 2007

Kia Rondo Interior -- Photo illustration by James Riswick

Sitting in thoroughly craptacular traffic last night, I began pondering what this button does. It's not one you see very often, and its placement didn't help me much. After RTFM, I had a head-slapping, "well duh!" moment. It's a windshield deicer.

Not exactly useful to me here in SoCal, but back in my Indianapolis and Toronto days, this would have been clutch. Kudos to Kia for putting a premium feature like this into the Rondo; a feature normally equated with vehicles like the Range Rover (pictured below).

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2007 Kia Rondo EX: Art of Glass

October 17, 2007

The 2007 Kia Rondo's homely portholes have been the subject of derision around our office, but they go a long way toward enhancing visibility. With a length of 179 inches, the Rondo is longer than many of the vehicles it will likely be shopped against; the Scion xB, for example, clocks in at 167 inches. Still, the Rondo feels pretty maneuverable when it's time to squeeze into and out of parking spaces at the grocery store. All that well-placed glass in back gives the driver a clear view of what's going on.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 2,286 miles

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2007 Kia Rondo: Smooth Operator

October 09, 2007

2007 Kia Rondo

After spending a few days in the 2007 Kia Rondo, I have to say, I found it surprisingly polished. Fit and finish in the cabin is pretty good for a vehicle in this price range. Handling is smooth and the crossover feels quite solid and well-planted.

Motivating the action in our long-termer is a 2.7-liter V6 that generates 182 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque.

Our Rondo doesn't feel tremendously powerful (and it isn't, relative to others in this class); the situation isn't helped by the fact that its five-speed automatic transmission feels a bit slow to upshift on occasion. Still, there was enough juice to get the job done in most situations.

It's not the quickest little wagon/crossover/whatever out there, but the Rondo scores points for tackling its tasks in a reasonably refined way.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 2,016 miles

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2007 Kia Rondo: The Plain Truth

September 24, 2007

One of the newer cars in our long-term fleet is the 2007 Kia Rondo. It's perfectly efficient and respectable. Decent brakes, potent V6 power, fold-flat seats, good sight lines, handling's just fine, somewhat odd styling.

But there's absolutely nothing that is exciting about it.

It's neither exceptional nor horrible in any respect.

But that's probably the point. It's a low-priced family wagon that does everything it should. Its target audience will doubtless be very pleased with it and it will probably run forever. And actually, it does have a very nice-sounding stereo. But it leaves me cold. I don't crave the keys. I don't watch the clock, ticking away the hours til the end of the day so I can rock the Rondo. But that's probably what Kia was going for. Efficient, does what it's supposed to. Bland.

Doug Lloyd, Senior Copy Editor, @ 1,525 miles

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