A review of the Kia Rondo seven-seat people-mover by Garry Fabian.
Families have a big selection of vehicles to choose from today and one vehicle that I think should be on every family test-drive list is the Kia Rondo.
For what is about the same price as most mid-size sedans, the 2015 Kia Rondo (also known overseas as the Kia Carens) offers seating for seven and better versatility too.
Kia has established a serious reputation when it comes to price and features over the recent decade and the Rondo is no exception. At one time a bit of an ‘ugly-duckling’, the Rondo, like all its Kia siblings, has improved over time.
The 2015 Kia Rondo range covers three 2.0 litre petrol engine and two diesel engine variations, all with automatic transmissions.
I had a week getting to know the 1.7 litre diesel version and coupled with the six-speed automatic transmission it delivers good, but not sparkling power. 100kW and 320Nm is most-likely enough get up and go however for most Rondo drivers.
From previous experience in the petrol version of the Rondo, acceleration with that engine is better off the line, the diesel though giving more usable torque to help climb hills and carry a full load.
The suspension is well tuned, but tends to be a little less tolerant when traversing speed bumps and the like. On a more positive note the steering is nicely weighted and direct and responds happily when going around curves and bends.
Inside the Rondo cabin there is enough space to accommodate seven adults in reasonable comfort with good leg and head room front and rear, as well as a generous cargo area when the third-row seats are folded down. With the three rows of seating in use, the cargo space is very limited.
Rear seat passengers in the Kia Rondo can also enjoy the nifty airplane style tray tables.
The Rondo diesel is available only in entry-level Si and mid-spec SLi grades, the flagship Platinum Rondo being only offered with a petrol engine.
Standard features in the lower grade diesel variant include;
- Tilt and reach steering adjustment
- Six-speaker stereo
- 16” alloy wheels
- Rear air-conditioning vents
- Reverse camera
The SLi grade of the Rondo carries a $4,000 price premium and adds;
- 17” alloy wheels
- Dual-zone climate control
- Electric driver’s seat
- Puddle lamps on the door mirrors
- Tinted glass
Sat-nav though isn’t available with the diesel version, it only features in the Kia Rondo Platinum.
For anyone worried about the build quality of Kia cars I can tell you that the Rondo is a nicely put together car and this is backed by a seven-year unlimited kilometre warranty. You also get the peace of mind of five-star safety.
Summing it up; if the budget doesn’t stretch to a larger people-mover, or just don’t need that much space, then check out the Kia Rondo. More adaptable and usable than a sedan and not at all an unpleasant vehicle to drive, this is a very creditable package.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Kia Rondo diesel
Engine: 1.7 litre diesel producing 100kW and 320Nm
Transmission; Six-speed automatic (only)
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: Seven years
Origin: South Korea
Price: from $32,990