2007 Kia Rondo Long-Term Road Test - New Updates

2007 Kia Rondo Long-Term Road Test

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2007 Kia Rondo - Wrap-Up

October 29, 2008

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The Power to Surprise — Kia's advertising tagline — is fitting for this Korean automaker. It has evolved from a purveyor of bargain-basement specials only appealing to those with no other financial choice into a full-line automaker sporting competitive vehicles backed by one of the industry's best warranties.

This advertising motto is not, however, right for the 2007 Kia Rondo EX V6, a high-waisted wagon-style crossover with seven-seat capability. After 12 months and 20,000 miles in our fleet of long-term test cars, we've found that the Kia Rondo's strength lies in its utility, predictability and reliability — in other words, its utter lack of surprises.

Why We Bought It
It's all a matter of philosophy. As Vehicle Testing Assistant Mike Magrath wrote in our blog for long-term test cars: "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."

It's no secret that around these parts we like our minivans. Their unassuming nature, high seating position and space to spare ensure the keys are constantly in someone's pocket. For some of us with large families they're a near necessity. Of course, they're not perfect. They're big and, compared to wagons, they're thirsty. And a recognition of the minivan's enduring appeal led Kia straight toward the kind of vehicle that has been unfashionable for more than a generation — the family station wagon. The Rondo might have some pretense of crossover character with its passenger-car components packed in a faintly SUV-style body, but it is a wagon in every way. And since no wagon without wood paneling has been successful in capturing the attention of this nation since your parents were kids, we thought we'd give the Rondo a try.

If Kia was banking on a cultural swing to rational vehicle choices, we were all too happy to play along.

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2007 Kia Rondo: Swan Song

September 17, 2008

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I was offered the chance to drive the Rondo on its last night, provided I wash and gas it before we give it back. I hadn't driven the Rondo at all so I thought it fitting that I drive it on the last full day it's here.

I liked the tall glasshouse design as it really made me feel I was driving something like the Popemobile. All that light being let in really brightened up the cabin. I also liked the torquey engine. Though I don't think the tires were up to the talk. In fact, during a freeway merge at moderate acceleration the tires were squealing so much that it freaked me out and I backed off hard from the gas pedal.

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2007 Kia Rondo: 5,000 miles in July

July 25, 2008

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When we last checked on our Kia Rondo, the odometer was shy of 11,000 miles and its long-term test was 3 months from completion. At this rate we still had 9,000 miles to reach our goal. So we found a volunteer.

"Don't come back until it turns 20k," blurted a shapeless mass of editors as it shoved our eager volunteer out the door. "Welcome to the team."

One month and 5,000 miles later the Rondo returned. Our mileage experiment fell short of expectations, but the Kia took it all in stride. At one point the tire pressure warning light clicked on. We topped off the tires for now, and will check them again in a couple of days.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Coordinator @ 16,264 miles

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2007 Kia Rondo: Desert High Life

August 21, 2008

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Our Kia Rondo's overall functionality has earned it numerous unenviable assignments, and once again it finds itself vacationing in the 114-degree California desert.

Cool air conditioning, a wide-opening rear hatch, and a no-frills interior make it the perfect sand city compadre.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 18,536 miles

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2007 Kia Rondo: Defying Expectations

July 30, 2008

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I'm always a little surprised when I fire up the Rondo's engine and find that this Kia leaps into action with the eagerness of, um, a car that doesn't look like a dull compromise. As many times as I've driven it, you'd think I'd know what to expect. But the Rondo just looks so darn functional; it always lulls me into anticipating the very worst.

Acceleration from the V6 is enjoyably quick. The 5-speed automatic transmission is a pleasure as well, with fluid shifts that keep things creamy smooth. Nice choice if you're looking for a roomy family hauler that won't leave you in Snoozeville when you're behind the wheel.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 16,371 miles

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2007 Kia Rondo: Low tire pressures

July 28, 2008

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We took the Rondo to Stokes Tire Pros in Santa Monica to figure out what was going on with our tire pressures. We got some funky readings:

Left front: 10 psi
Right front: 25 psi
Left rear: 26 psi
Right rear: 11 psi
Recommended: 32 psi

A nail was the culprit in the right rear, which the guys at Stokes patched. At our request, they also did a thorough examination of the front left tire that was reporting 10 psi. They pulled it off, inspected it, replaced the valve stem core, cleaned the wheel bead and the rebalanced it. No other leaks were found. All four tires are now up to the recommended pressure.

Total cost: $42.50

Laura Burstein, Automotive Editor @ 16,268 miles

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2007 Kia Rondo: 5,000 miles in July

July 25, 2008

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When we last checked on our Kia Rondo, the odometer was shy of 11,000 miles and its long-term test was 3 months from completion. At this rate we still had 9,000 miles to reach our goal. So we found a volunteer.

"Don't come back until it turns 20k," blurted a shapeless mass of editors as it shoved our eager volunteer out the door. "Welcome to the team."

One month and 5,000 miles later the Rondo returned. Our mileage experiment fell short of expectations, but the Kia took it all in stride. At one point the tire pressure warning light clicked on. We topped off the tires for now, and will check them again in a couple of days.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Coordinator @ 16,264 miles

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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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2007 Kia Rondo: Feartastic!

June 20, 2008

What makes the Rondo feartastic?

Well, it's not dissimilar to the Fit in the acceleration category. That is, if you yanked out the Fit's sewing machine motor and dumped in a 500ci V8 from a 1970 Eldorado. And strapped on a blower. What it may lack off the line, it more than makes up for once you're up to speed.

Kicking down two gears summons power than is completely unnecessary and will put you into the triple digits before you can curse someone else's mother.

It also compares to the Fit in terms of handling. If you put a 500 pound dumpster to the roof of the Fit. And filled the dumpster with 500 pounds of moldy cantaloupes. You see, the Rondo weighs a staggering 1000 pounds more than the Fit. And where the Fit is happy to bound and dance through corners, the Rondo makes like it's about tip over and scatter your moldy melons all over the road. I can't imagine how frightening it looks from the outside.

So now that you're barreling towards your favorite corner, a corner you've sped through a hundred times in the trusty Fit, you suddenly realize that the Rondo's going a thousand miles an hour and is on the verge of tipping over. This is more than a little scary, but also more than a little fun! It's feartastic!

I wonder if it'll do a burnout...

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 10,605 miles

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