San Francisco: With
todayís concerns over the twin problems of fuel prices and global
warming caused by fuel combustion, many families are wondering what to
do. Sport utility vehicles and minivans are not the most fuel-efficient
rides, yet if you want to carry five or six (or even seven) people, what
choice do you have?
Well, the Rondo is part
of a new wave of mini minivans, and at this point, has only one real
competitor. The Rondo can carry up to seven passengers, yet is smaller
and lighter than the full-sized competition.
I recently got the
chance to spend a week with the Rondo. Impressive is the word that comes
to mind, but maybe itís time to stop being surprised when Kia delivers
the goods. Korean manufacturers are using the original Toyota success
model - quality and features for a reasonable price - and appear to have
the will and the desire to make it work.
Rondos come in one body
style, labeled Midsize S/WGN by the EPA. You can choose from the LX or
higher level EX model - the typical naming convention for the auto
The LX comes well
equipped. Mechanical features include a four-speed automatic
transmission; front and rear disc brakes with four-wheel, four-channel
ABS; and electronic stability control. Appearance and interior goodies
include 16-inch alloy wheels, an AM/FM/CD audio system, and power
windows and locks. For safety, six airbags are standard, including
front, side, and side curtain. A tire pressure monitor is there too.
The EX upgrades some
features and adds more stuff. The automatic transmission gains a gear,
the alloy wheels get an extra inch (to stylish 17s), the audio system is
enhanced with a CD changer and steering wheel-mounted controls, and the
driver enjoys a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The EX
also adds worthwhile things like illuminated vanity mirrors and some
attractive exterior chrome trim.
Either level comes with
a choice of a 162-horsepower four-cylinder or a 182-horsepower V6
engine. Riding on a four-wheel independent suspension with standard
front and rear anti-roll bars, the Rondo handles surprisingly well for a
3,500-pound family hauler.
Fuel economy ratings
are 21 City, 29 Highway for the four-cylinder and 20/27 for the V6. The
EPAís Green Vehicle Guide gives the Rondo a 6 for both Air Pollution and
Greenhouse Gas score.
If you live in
California or one of the other four states with higher fuel economy
standards, you get a 7 on the Air Pollution score, which makes the Rondo
an EPA recommended Smartway vehicle - better for the environment than
most other cars.
My Volcanic Red tester
was an EX with two extra equipment packages plus the third row seat
(which fits actual adults!). The Leather Package adds leather seats with
heat. The Premium Package provides a sunroof and a 10-speaker, 315-watt
Infinity audio system. Even with all this, the price of this loaded
family hauler came to $23,495. An LX with the four-cylinder and no
extras starts at just $16,995 (including destination charge).
Riding in the Rondo is
remarkably quiet, and the interior fittings look like they came out of a
Mercedes-Benz or Lexus. If you actually feel them, they are often hard
plastic, but Kia got it right, especially at their price point. The
panoramic view and clear graphics on the instrument panel add to the
overall sense of entire well-being.
Throw in Kiaís Total
Protection Plan warranty, and itís hard to imagine why anyone who tested
the Rondo and actually needed one wouldnít drive it home immediately. My
notebook contains only positive comments - something that doesnít happen
that often. By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Kia Home Page
content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: Rondo is part of a new wave of mini minivans
Topic: The 2007 Kia Rondo
Word Count: 675
Photo Caption: The 2007 Kia Rondo
Photo Credits: Kia Rondo Internet Media
Series #: 2007 -
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2007 Kia Rondo
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2007 Kia Rondo