This is a very well built vehicle. The first thing I noticed was the quality of the interior. It was completely above my expectations for a KIA. Very "touch friendly" and well laid out. The leg room in the 2nd row was probably the clincher. I cross-shopped the RAV4, CR-V, Pilot, Highlander, Equinox, CX-7, Santa Fe, Outlander and a couple of others. There was just no comparison. I also have the 7 seat model (which satisfied our need for 6+ seats), and even loaded it is very comfortable. The driving dynamics are also much better than expected. Great pickup on the v6, easy highway cruising, very commanding view of the road. We took a 900 mile trip the day after we took delivery. Grade: A+!
I although I have only had the Rondo for a week I am completely satisfied with this vehicle. Having come from a 2006 Chev HHR, I was worried about giving up ride quality and low noise levels. I am glad to report that with the Rondo you do not have to sacrifice at all. The interior is quiet at highways speeds and the ride is wonderful...feels like a near luxury car and the handling is very competent. I would highly recommend this car to friends and family. So far the mpg has been in the mid 20's mixed highway and severe stop and go city traffic.
This is just what we needed! We are a retired younger couple who are on the go...but I need a 'lay-down' space for me in the back for long trips. We wanted a foreign car and the Kia Rondo is just perfect for us. It is zippy, comfortable, pretty inside and out and the 60/40 seating configuration is perfect for us 'empty-nesters'. The cost was within our price-range as well.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
I bought my Rondo in November, 2007. I had been looking at compact SUV's, wagons, etc. I had not found any vehicle that I liked the looks, storage space and price until I saw the Rondo. I fell in love immediately and bought it. No regrets. It is more comfortable, more economical and better driving than my 2004 Jeep Liberty.