This is the best car on the market. Great for shuttling around my friends and the bass is really good. Awesome steering wheel too! The seats are comfortable and I feel as though I am on a throne. I plan on keeping this car until the day it dies, and then buy a new one. Great choice for aspiring uber drivers, as you may put down the middle seats to create a limo experience.
We are the second owners. First owner was an Idaho Ed. Association rep that drove it around Idaho, so it got almost all highway miles from 0miles till we bought it at 110k.
Since we bought it, we have driven to Austin, TX (from Boise.... with a 3yr old and a 1yr old) and to San Francisco from Boise (again, with a 3rd old and a 1yr old). But for the other 99% of the time, the Kia was a city car, shuttling my wife and kids across the city and back again. On a per mile basis, the car has spent ~61% of its time with us on city driving, and ~39% highway (very rough guess).
About Acceleration: This is a gas sipper, but don't let that fool you, it really can get up and go. You can chirp the wheels on a turn if you mash the gas. The manual override shifting is a bit too much fun (could be too fun for teens I suppose, but it is a Kia, so they can't get into too much trouble).
About Speed: Don't let an inline 4 cylinder fool you. This car can tick off those road trip miles. On our Texas road trip, between New Mexico and the hundreds of miles of nothing in North West Texas, we were getting passed often...... and that is while we were going 90mph! Even 90mph isn't fast enough for some people in Texas. Who can blame them. That was a solid 7hrs of absolutely nothing to see. For one brief stretch I had the car up to 110mph (clocked via GPS) so I know this sucker can go even with a fully loaded car.
About MPG: This thing is fantastic on MPG. We tracked mileage on Fuely.com for every fillup. For most of our use, the car was driven in city driving; the worst mileage possible. Crossing the city, sitting at stop lights, stop and go etc etc, over and over again. Even in those situations it still got 18mpg. Imagine that... 18mpg is the worst this car can possibly do. The best was 34mpg on the long Texas trip. The faster you go, especially over ~55mph, the worse the mileage because wind resistance increases with the square of the speed. As a result, this little 4 banger was working pretty hard to get us up to 100mph, probably above 5k RPM. As a result, for that stretch of road, it got about 10mpg. On the other hand, my 1990 Chevy Suburban 6L v8 gets 8mpg no matter how fast or where you drive. So it could be worse... you could be filling up my truck!
About Babies & Car seats: The Kia Rondo has the Latch system, so modern child seats are easy as cake to take in, out, in, out, move to the other side, and back over again, etc. I love the latch system. If you have child car seats, you will love the Kia and the Latch system.
About Storage: Yes this is a compact car, but man does Kia know how to maximize storage in this frame. With a hatchback and fold down second row of seats, I transported a table saw, a miter saw, shop vac, and compressor while I worked as a carpenter. This thing has a lot of room back there. With the seats up, the truck is still pretty spacious. It fit all the suitcases and stuff needed to take a 8 day road trip to Texas and back for 4 people, including a baby stroller and two child car seats. The trunk has two large storage compartments and two side smaller compartments for even more stuff. Some people are afraid to leave cameras or purses in a vehicle that doesn't have a separate locking trunk. The trunk compartments don't lock, but no one suspected that I had a DSLR, a laptop, and other camera equipment in this vehicle because theses were stowed out of sight in the below trunk storage. The Kia also has a standard luggage rack on the roof, so many common car top carriers, bike racks, etc, can be installed for even more storage.
About Technology: We had a base model, so there wasn't a lot of frills here. Standard CD player and radio. No XM, no bluetooth. No USB ports or AUX input for the stereo. No No DVD player or dual zone stereos / AUX inputs. But you can pay several thousand dollars more for those features. My family is practically a professional road trip family, so we don't need to be cocooned in our own little entertainment world, even for 3 days of driving. Talk, listen to audio books, look at the scenery or nap (for passengers). Nothing wrong with those options. No review cameras or parking assist. But I know how to drive and park, so I don't really need to car to do that for me. These extra frills
Bought it new in 07. The Good: 59,000 trouble free miles, low 20's mpg around town, up to 32 mpg on highway. Comfortable seats, great visibility, economical & versatile. The Bad: easily stained seats, inadequate roof rack even with the optional cross pieces, too low ground clearance in back if carrying third row passengers.
64,000 Still a great all around vehicle....soon to replace second set of tires, had two transmission flushes, one set of brakes, one fuel filter, air & cabin filters.....might look at the serpentine belt next and change it for insurance......and 3 (?) recalls.
....almost forgot the CD player stopped ejecting CD's.....bought a brand new genuine KIA AM/FM CD on ebay for $110. and took about 15 minutes to install.
75,000 miles now .....on third set of low price budget tires, getting ready to do third transmission fluid change, still haven't changed the serpentine belt ( I got a serpentine belt gauge from Gates and it still checks okay) , still runs & rides like new !