And that BMW X5 you wanted? It was either buy that or pay for new braces for your 11-year old. Guess which one won out? The average large middle-class working family has many varying needs and it is very difficult to find one car that is both economical and has room for everyone.
With the popularization of the heavy, fuel inefficient and generally very expensive 7-seat SUV, Kia Motors must have had an epiphany. Why not build a small, fuel efficient, inexpensive five door hatch with seats for seven for big families on a budget? The result is the 2010 Kia Rondo. Please, just try to remember that what it lacks for in designer good looks it sure than makes up for in utility.
To be frank, however, if this little seven seat wagon lived in The Dark Ages local villagers would no doubt have chased it out of town with torches and pitchforks. To call it homely would be an insult to homely people. But just like your mother told you and you no doubt tell your children "it's what is on the inside that counts." And the inside of the Kia Rondo is really something special.
Equipped with a 175 horsepower 4 cylinder or 197 horsepower V6, the Rondo keeps up with the cut and thrust of daily traffic yet still offers decent economy. The more refined yet surprisingly powerful 4 cylinder variant returns 20 city/27 highway according to the EPA. Base 2010 Kia Rondo 4-cylinder models start well equipped at $17,495 but do be aware that the third row of seats is optional on mid-level LX models and only standard on top line EX Rondos.
Bengt Halvorsen of sister website TheCarConnection.com agreed that the 2.7 liter V6 in the 2010 Kia Rondo was somewhat "rough running" but that the little Kia had enough performance and handling talent to entertain the average Kia driver. He also said that the interior of the Rondo felt more spacious than some mid-size SUVs.
The interior is made of robust plastics and while there is practically no cargo room when seven are aboard (6.5 cubic feet), the cargo area is positively huge (31.7 cubic feet) with the third row folded down. The LX model is the most utilitarian of the pair with the EX model adding a touch of luxury with standard leather (pretty decent stuff for this price point, too) and an 8-speaker Infinity sound system, navigation and sunroof all part of the optional $2,400 EX premium package.
While the EX Kia Rondo does have a surprisingly upscale feel to it, the most economically prudent purchase would be of the 2010 Kia Rondo LX 4 cylinder for just $19,480 (according to pricing on the Kia Motors America website). That way you will have plenty of money left over for what really matters in your life. Your family.