July 30, 2008
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
July 25, 2008
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
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
February 26, 2008
I was given a rather odd assignment earlier this month: test drive and "test live" an RV for three days from Riverside, Calif., to Phoenix for Super Bowl XLII. Vehicle Testing Assistant Mike Magrath went along with me, but certainly not to add experience to the ticket. The closest either of us had previously come to a recreational vehicle was blowing by one at high speeds on the freeway, and being in our mid 20s, we were hardly stereotypical RV folk. And as our drive story Two Guys, a Truck and a 31-foot Fleetwood shows, it was hardly smooth sailing. But unlike Top Gear, at least we didn't burn down our Caravan.
Before we could depart from Fleetwood RV headquarters in Riverside, though, we had to get there from our Santa Monica headquarters. Our long-term Kia Rondo was chosen for no particular reason, but it capably held our ample amount of stuff for the journey. I was greatly impressed by its 2.7-liter V6 engine, which aided in slicing through traffic in the Inland Empire to avoid being late. The transmission is quick to downshift and there's plenty of passing power, although it felt just wrong driving that aggressively in our humble Rondo. That was nothing compared to the 20,000 pounds of truck and trailer to come, though.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor
December 03, 2007
Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give the Kia Rondo is that it's a no-hassle set of wheels. I mean that in the best way. It's built well, comfortable, peppy enough and relatively easy to park thanks to its boxy form. The controls are simple and the seats are supportive. And for an engine that's not even rated at 200 hp, the little V6 (thanks in part to an alert automatic transmission) packs a decent punch around town and when blasting up freeway on-ramps. The tall body (some five inches taller than a Scion xB) gives the Rondo an impressive amount of passenger and cargo space, handy during those runs to the Goodwill store to get rid of bags of stuff you don't need.
Regular readers will know that the Rondo's fuel mileage isn't exactly a strong suit, though its overall average with us has crept up to 18.7 mpg. But keep in mind that we've got some lead foots on staff and that many of our miles our spent in L.A.'s notorious traffic, not exactly real-world conditions for most folks. Over the weekend, I averaged 21 mpg in mixed driving, which isn't bad as it included some of that &*%!! gridlock. And as noted before, our Mr. Reed got 27 mpg on a road trip.
For short money (around $20,000 for the top-of-the-line EX V6), the Rondo is hard to beat as a versatile and comfortable daily driver. It's the type of vehicle you feel good about, so much so that I was prompted to show it some love Sunday at the coin-op car wash rather than waiting until Monday to take it to the Blue Wave. Sorry 'bout the cellphone pic, I didn't have my digicam handy at the moment.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 3,747 miles.
November 19, 2007
This is the PRNDL lever in our 2007 Kia Ronda Long-Term test car. Shortly after the first time I slid it into D and went on my way, I had an immediate reaction to the way it delivered gearchanges. It shifts like.
October 09, 2007
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
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