2008 Kia Rondo Review

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of features for a low price, a choice of inline-4 or V6 power, high-quality interior design, good outward visibility, optional seven-passenger seating, long warranty coverage.
  • Lack of pizzazz, questionable resale value.
Other years
Kia Rondo for Sale
List Price Estimate
$2,178 - $3,966

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Though not sporty or stylish, the 2008 Kia Rondo is still a very practical and desirable vehicle for small families thanks to its seven-passenger capacity, easy-to-drive demeanor and bargain price tag.

Vehicle overview

The term "minivan" doesn't make a whole lot of sense anymore. As long as a full-size SUV and weighing more than 2 tons, today's typical minivan is more "maxi" than "mini." But if you've ever traveled abroad to Europe or Japan, you've likely noticed the existence of "mini minivans" such as the 2008 Kia Rondo.

Actually called MPVs (for Multipurpose Vehicles) in other markets, vehicles like the Rondo have a footprint similar to a compact sedan's but have a taller, boxier design that allows them to seat up to seven. Granted, a few of those passengers -- specifically those relegated to the third-row seat -- best be mini-sized as well. But for most families with a bunch of little ones, that's probably not a problem.

The Rondo was introduced last year to the U.S. market. It boasts a number of desirable attributes, including a choice of four-cylinder or V6 power, a surprisingly versatile and high-quality interior and many standard or optional features. And, being a Kia, it's also priced competitively and comes with long warranty coverage.

The closest rival to the Rondo would be the Mazda 5. The Kia is slightly taller and wider than the Mazda, and it offers a choice of inline-4 or V6 power, whereas the 5 can only be had with a four. The 5 does offer minivan-style sliding rear doors, however. In terms of more traditional competitors, one could also consider the Chevrolet HHR, the Pontiac Vibe/Toyota Matrix platform mates and the Scion xB. All share a space-efficient tall, boxy design, but only the Kia and Mazda offer a third-row seat option.

If getting low-priced, seven-passenger seating and a nimble size are your highest priorities, you should seriously consider the bargain-priced 2008 Kia Rondo. It outsells the Mazda by a considerable margin and is proof that you don't need a massive minivan or SUV for daily tasks. The vehicle's only major weakness is that compared to most crossovers, it's not snazzy or sexy -- something that owners of traditional minivans are likely all too familiar with.

2008 Kia Rondo models

The 2008 Kia Rondo comes in three trims: LX, LX with air-conditioning and EX. The base LX features 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a CD player with an auxiliary input jack. The LX with air-conditioning adds (obviously) air-conditioning as well as roof rails and color-keyed sideview mirrors. EX versions add 17-inch wheels, upgraded exterior trim and upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, lighted vanity mirrors and an MP3-capable audio system with additional speakers and steering-wheel-mounted controls.

Options include a third row of seating and a few options packages. The LX Convenience Package includes keyless entry and cruise control. The EX's Leather Package adds heated leather seats, while the Premium Package includes an upgraded Infinity sound system and a sunroof.

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2008 Highlights

Other than the addition of an auxiliary audio jack, there are no changes for the 2008 Kia Rondo.

Performance & mpg

All Kia Rondos are front-wheel drive and are equipped with either a four- or six-cylinder engine. Four-cylinder versions come with a 2.4-liter inline-4 (162 horsepower and 164 pound-feet of torque) paired to a four-speed automatic transmission. The V6 displaces 2.7 liters, makes 182 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque and is matched to a five-speed automatic transmission. Both transmissions allow manual-style shifting if the driver so chooses.

Although the option of a V6 will appeal to many buyers, the Rondo's V6 is smaller and less powerful than those in many of the vehicles the Rondo might be compared to. Still, performance is smooth and brisk enough, with a 0-60-mph time of 8.7 seconds. As speeds climb, the V6's peppy performance drops off as it runs out of steam when high-speed passing and merging are called for. Overall, performance is satisfactory and freeway cruising is relatively unstressed.

The 2008 fuel economy estimates stand at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for the inline-4, with the V6 virtually the same at 18/26 mpg, respectively. For the 1-mpg difference in the city, we'd suggest taking the V6 and enjoying its superior performance and cruising abilities.


Antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags and stability control are all standard on the 2008 Kia Rondo. In government testing, the Rondo earned a perfect five stars in frontal impacts for both driver and passenger. In side-impact testing, the Kia received five and four stars for front and rear passengers, respectively.


Thanks to quick steering, the 2008 Kia Rondo can feel somewhat sporty on a twisty road. Although there can be noticeable body roll when cornering, the Rondo squats low to the ground and never seems tippy. The driver sits in a commanding position with excellent sight lines fore and aft, so negotiating through traffic or backing up into a parking spot is nearly as easy as it would be in a passenger car.

At higher cornering speeds, the tires feel a bit overwhelmed by the car's 3,700-pound mass, but never to the point that control is threatened. The Rondo doesn't handle quite as nimbly as the Mazda 5, but it's easy and intuitive to drive.

Read our Kia Rondo Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test


The Rondo's cabin is impressive in terms of build and materials quality, especially at this price point. It's also very versatile thanks to plenty of storage compartments and the option of seven-passenger seating, the latter a rarity in the compact wagon/crossover segment. It's true that the third-row seat is mostly for small children, though adults less than 6 feet tall might be surprised to find that they can sit in the "way back" for short jaunts without suffering from any significant discomfort. Accessing the third row is easy thanks to a second-row seat that easily slides forward.

Carrying cargo is a cinch, thanks to the split second-row seats that fold flat into the floor. The optional third row is also split and also folds flat, giving the Rondo a flat floor when it's time to haul some cargo.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2008 Kia Rondo.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

SO Disappointed
EX 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A)
We bought our Rondo new in 2008. At the time it was exactly the car we were looking for, as it had the third row stow-and-go seats. We had reasonable performance from it for the first five years, although it did have a few factory recalls in that time. HOWEVER, two months after the five-year warranty expired, the engine failed. Despite the fact that I had followed the warranty maintenance schedule, KIA Canada would do nothing to assist us with this matter and we ended up having to have a second-hand motor installed. Apparently KIA create disposable cars and are not prepared to back their products. Like a previous poster, I too am a bit embarrassed about having recommended KIA to friends.
A total surprise - I LOVE it!
EX 4dr Wagon (2.7L 6cyl 5A)
I come from a dealership family and we currently own several vehicles in our household plus 4 motorcycles so I switch cars frequently. I'm an "auto-holic" with lots of experience with all types : sports, sedans, trucks, SUV's, etc., everything from luxury to econo, 4-banger to V8, stick to automatic, and foreign & domestic. I recently wanted a car with better MPG for work but had a limited budget. I obsessively shopped online for vehicles that I was already familiar with and could afford but had never even considered a Kia Rondo. Frankly, there aren't enough of them on the USA roads to even notice (though more popular in Canada). When I saw an ad for an '08 with 68K miles & competitive price, I agreed to look at it per the urging of my husband and mechanic-son. Was so unimpressed with the exterior that I was hesitant to drive it, but when I did, WOW, I was almost embarrassed for overlooking this gem for many years! It was extremely responsive, nimble, comfortable, more than enough power with V6 for competitive, congested highway driving, SUPER smooth transmission and handling, all the creature comforts (leather, sunroof, 6-CD stereo, Aux jacks, etc), and awesome visibility, 3 rows - 2 fold flat for much cargo space. Handles like a much newer car, feels solid, and zero performance or reliability hiccups. The Rondo is quiet, too, transferring very little road noise to the interior. For my needs in congested city traffic, and high-speed long distance driving, this car has not disappointed! When I hit the gas, it instantly gives me what I need for passing and maneuvering. I only wish it were brand new so I could keep it longer because they're not sold in USA anymore :-( But from where I am, might travel to Canada for a newer one to enjoy longer. MPG is impressive at 25city/29hwy, much better than advertised, and I am NOT easy on the accelerator. I have owned this Rondo for 6 months now and it is currently my favorite car to drive. Cars currently in my household are Chevy Bronco, 2x Nissan Maxima, Mitsubishi Outlander, Mazda B2000 truck, Cadillac CTS, and my personal fav Kia Rondo. I wrote this review because I feel the vehicle never got the recognition it deserved and was seriously overlooked.
It Keeps Going
A Great Family Car 2,09/25/2010
LX 4dr Wagon (2.7L 6cyl 5A)
I doing a follow up review on our Rondo, we have owned it for 1-1/2 years and still love it. We replace our Ford Windstar mini van and never looked back. This has been a reliable vehicle, we have over 22,000 miles on it now, been to CA from WA Twice, we got over 27 miles to the gallon fully loaded with a car topper on it. Great power over the mountains! Things we had done to vehicle: Tinted windows, Mud flaps & Cross bars for roof rack. Future Items: Trailer hitch. We have the 7 passenger version had every seat filled, still great power! We Would still buy this vehicle if we were looking again!
I'd buy another one in a heart beat.
LX 4dr Wagon (2.7L 6cyl 5A)
I can't say enough positive about this car. I bought it as a demonstrator with 10,800miles and paid $220 more than a 10 year old Honda CRV with 110,000 miles on the same lot. Head and leg room as well as visability is better than my Dodge Caravan. Rear seats lay all the way flat which is great for hauling and camping. Doors open all the way which allows to load a box the full size of the door in the back (unlike my dad's Buick. With the V6 engine, there is more than enough spunk to get up to spead on the freeway. On a country road, I had it up to 110 mph and was still accelorating. It can be "fun to drive" when I want to.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2008 Kia Rondo

Used 2008 Kia Rondo Overview

The Used 2008 Kia Rondo is offered in the following submodels: Rondo Wagon. Available styles include EX 4dr Wagon (2.7L 6cyl 5A), LX 4dr Wagon w/AC (2.4L 4cyl 4A), LX 4dr Wagon (2.7L 6cyl 5A), LX 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A), and EX 4dr Wagon (2.4L 4cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Kia Rondo?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2008 Kia Rondos are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2008 Kia Rondo for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2008 Kia Rondo.

Can't find a used 2008 Kia Rondos you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Rondo for sale - 9 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $19,362.

Find a used Kia for sale - 10 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $22,446.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Rondo for sale - 4 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $22,241.

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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Kia Rondo?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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