Gidyuppidness. Huge Cabinocity. Seat Folding Effortlessness. Break out your Kia Lexicon, kids, we're entering Rondoism.
Aimed squarely at the tailpipe of the hot-selling multipurpose Mazda 5, the 2007 Kia Rondo EX seats seven and has flat-folding seats, V6 power and a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty. We've added one to our long-term fleet for a yearlong tour of duty with the Edmunds staff.
What We Bought
Well, we didn't actually buy it. We called Kia and asked for a loaded example. Hey, we're men but we're not Neanderthals. Kia heard our grunts and sent over a Velvet Blue Rondo EX powered by the optional 2.7-liter V6.
Although the engine's 182-horsepower rating is modest considering its displacement, the all-aluminum, twin-cam V6 still gives a boost in usable torque and power over the standard four-cylinder. Fuel mileage remains a respectable EPA-estimated 20 city/27 highway mpg. Every Rondo is front-wheel drive.
Ticking the "V6" box also gets you a five-speed automatic transmission, which costs a cool grand. Not bad, really, for an extra gear and two more pistons.
Standard luxuries on the Rondo EX include 17-inch rims, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, heated remote side mirrors, power seats and keyless entry. We can't explain why Kia equipped the car with gray cloth upholstery instead of the optional leather, but beggars can't be choosers. Full-length side curtain airbags for all three rows of seats and front seat-mounted side airbags are standard.
Options include the 50/50-split easy-folding third-row seat ($500) and the Premium Package ($1,200), which adds a power sunroof and a 305-watt, 10-speaker Infinity sound system with subwoofer. The Infinity system also adds a six-disc in-dash CD changer that plays audio as well as MP3 CDs. The in-dash CD changer replaces a single CD slot and cassette player that comes standard. Too bad, because the Van Halen tape from our Ferrari 308 could use a change of scenery.
It all added up to an MSRP of $22,495 — admittedly quite a bit more than the Rondo's $16,995 base price — but hey, we did say loaded.
Why We Bought It
Kia's philosophy is pretty simple, and pretty appealing: reasonably priced, well-built cars with a long warranty. Recently, the recipe made for an enjoyable year in our long-term Kia Sedona minivan, so we decided to have a go in the Korean brand's brand-new people mover.
The Rondo's in-between size is also a highlight in today's automotive climate. In contrast with the bloated crossovers and full-size minivans currently replacing the passé SUV, the Kia Rondo is little more than a tall wagon. As such, it truly does drive like a car, while maintaining the visibility and utility SUV drivers have become used to.
We have high hopes. A full year in our hands and our driveways will certainly paint a clearer picture of what the Kia Rondo has to offer. Does it have the power to surprise? Stick with us on the long-term blog for the next 12 months and 20,000 miles to find out.
Current Odometer: 909
Best Fuel Economy: 26.96 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 15.31 mpg
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 18.48 mpg
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.