Overview & Reviews
What is the Kia Rondo? Kia likes to call the Rondo a crossover utility vehicle, which is certainly a trendy catchphrase. The only problem is that the Rondo looks more like a small minivan. In Europe and Asia, this type of vehicle -- known as "space wagon MPV" -- is quite popular. In fact, the Rondo has been sold in those markets (as the Kia Carens) for years.
Though it never really caught on with consumers, the Kia Rondo provides a surprising amount of functionality and flexibility for its size and price. As a cross between a minivan and a hatchback, the four-door Rondo can carry up to seven passengers. It's relatively nimble and filled with clever storage space. If you're in the market for a used compact crossover or something smaller than a minivan, the Rondo is a solid, if often overlooked, choice.
Most Recent Kia Rondo
The Kia Rondo was produced from 2007-'09. Originally, its base 2.4-liter four-cylinder produced 162 horsepower, while the 2.7-liter V6 produced 182 hp. For 2009, these were bumped up to 175 for the four-cylinder (167 in California emissions states due to SULEV emissions rating) and 192 for the V6. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard with the four-cylinder, and the V6 came with a five-speed automatic.
Although there is nothing fancy about the Kia Rondo, it still manages to overachieve in many areas. Available in two trims, LX and EX, the Rondo is nicely equipped from the base model on up. Even the lowest LX trim comes with important safety features, such as stability control and antilock brakes. Other satisfying standard features include 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, full power accessories and an audio system with CD player and auxiliary audio jack. A third row of seats is optional on the LX and standard on the EX, which boosts total capacity to seven people.
Moving up to the EX trim level adds 17-inch wheels, leather upholstery, heated seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Other options include a sunroof, a navigation system, an iPod adapter and an upgraded stereo. For '09, leather, heated seats, a navigation system and an iPod interface became available.
In spite of its small size, the Kia Rondo is very functional. With the third-row seating option, the Rondo seats up to seven passengers, though the third row is certainly best suited for children. The second-row seats slide fore and aft, and fold flat in a 60/40 split. The optional third-row seats also fold flat, but in a 50/50 split. And there is no shortage of storage, including 10 cupholders.
In road tests, our editors found the Kia Rondo performed surprisingly well. Both the four-cylinder and V6 engines delivered smooth acceleration. The V6 was particularly responsive, offering punchy acceleration and commendable passing power. Its steering was decent, especially for a tallish family vehicle. Although we'd prefer less body roll, the Rondo never felt tippy. In many everyday situations, such as parking and negotiating traffic, the Rondo could fool you into thinking you were actually in a small car, which was exactly the point.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 177.00
A real sleeper! - 2008 Kia Rondo
By Chip - December 31 - 4:40 am
The Rondo is a well put-together small car that feels bigger on the road that it really is: the V-6 engine is very quiet, the transmission shifts smoothly, and the amount of room for 5 passengers is simply amazing. I'm 6'5", and the Rondo has plenty of head, shoulder and leg room for me and a 6' passenger riding behind me. Maybe it won't set you heart on fire, but it sure gets the job done without any fuss.
$2,000 A/C repair @ 45k - 2008 Kia Rondo
By anjay - December 14 - 3:10 am
Background: I bought the car off-lease in May '09 with 16k on the odometer. With the exception of so-so gas mileage, I though I'd scored an excellent deal. Then, in 2012, just after the 5-year warranty expired, I learned from my [very reliable] auto tech that the A/C compressor clutch had failed and would cost $2,000 to repair. This is a huge cash outlay for a relatively young vehicle w/ just over 45k. I'm embarrassed to tell anyone b/c I've been hyping the Rondo as a great value for four years. I won't be doing that any more.
Filling a niche - 2007 Kia Rondo
By Roger - December 5 - 12:06 pm
Excellent combination of size and versatility. We have a family of 6 and wanted to carry all 4 kids if we needed to (other vehicle is a larger Pathfinder). Very surprised by the amount of shoulder room throughout the car. Fit and finish at this price range is excellent. Just got out of a minivan and really like the lower to the ground feeling of being in this car. Excellent visibility while driving. Just plain cute!
Gas Mileage Disappointing - 2008 Kia Rondo
By FredG - December 2 - 2:46 am
Love the look and handling of the car- pleased with the price. My only problem is with the gas mileage. After 4 fill ups I am averaging about 16 miles to the gallon. I traded in an 11 year old Subaru with 130,000 miles and was getting an average of 15 mpg doing the same type of driving. Granted most of my trips are less than 4 miles each way, and the air conditioning is running. Hopefully, when fall comes, and the air is no longer needed, the gas mileage will improve. Still, I expected to average 20 mpg. Very disappointing so far.
What a bargan! - 2009 Kia Rondo
By BSmith - October 29 - 11:53 am
Overall, this is one of the best cars you can get for the money. Pros: Has more than enough interior space. Excellent visibility for driver. Safety features. Has all the features of a more expensive car. Long warranty. Build quality. Low price. Cons: Suspension and steering are very soft. Fuel economy is poor. Interior is mostly hard plastic. Seats are covered in low quality cloth. Radio sounds cheap. Tires are cheap. Has plastic wheel covers. Wind noise is excessive. However, the cons are easy to live with and are mitigated by the Rondo's low price. If you can, get the 6 cyl. The 4 cyl is low on power, especially when passing on the highway
Designed from the inside out. - 2007 Kia Rondo
By mueludo - October 29 - 11:20 am
Best seating position of any small vehicle I've test driven. Quiet, roomy, Smartly engineered and intuitively designed.
Great Car/Crossover - 2009 Kia Rondo
By Thelma - August 9 - 4:50 am
I wanted a bigger car than what I had, but not to big, as I need to lift my Kayaks on the roof, I tried a few different cars, and found the Rondo to be just what I wanted, it looks good and its fun to drive, all the dials and such are easy to reach/use. Its just a cute great car....
2007 Kia Rondo LX Wagon - 2007 Kia Rondo
By dannothemanno - June 9 - 1:46 pm
This is my second Kia and am even more impressed with the Rondo than I was with my Sephia. Great ride, great comfort, great features, great price, we opted for the 100k/10 year warranty (bumper to bumper) for an extra 1k which translates to no worries for a very long time. My wife and I love it as a "touring car" with those great windows we can take in all the great views.
Wow ...Rondo...What?? - 2008 Kia Rondo
By C Neumann - June 3 - 11:26 am
The 2008 Kia Rondo is a pleasant surprise. We considered a Matrix or Vibe but the Rondo won the day. Its clearly a great value. The quality of the Rondo is impressive. Kia has grown up here and can compete with the big boys. Good work Kia! The utility, roominess and ride of the Rondo is impressive. Seven seats in this size of car is amazing. The car does what it's supposed to, has all kinds of bells and whistles (the heated seats are nice) and the price can't be beat. Great for small families who don't like big 'mini' vans. The 4cyl engine and transmission are more than adequate. I'm looking forward to seeing how the quality of this vehicle holds up over time.
A Pleasant Surprise - 2007 Kia Rondo
By NJRondo - May 11 - 12:56 am
We're small car people (this replaced my wife's Golf), but wanted something that would comfortably hold our 2 kids (1 in bulky carseat, 1 in booster) plus a 3rd adult on occasion. The Kia was the clear winner both on paper and in test drives. After 5 weeks and a 1,000 mile trip, we are very happy with our choice. The V6 and its 5-speed auto are peppy, responsive, quiet, and smooth. Feels expensive. The driving position is comfortable both for my wife (who had trouble with others) and for me. Cargo space isn't huge but was fine for our family vacation, including pack-and- play, stroller, beach gear, etc. How nice that our cheapest option turned out to be the best!