Truthfully, you probably remember the weird, new-agey 'Rondoism' ad campaign—with singers reaching upward and terms like 'cabinosity,' and 'giddyupedness'—more than the Rondo itself.
As we reported way back then, "Yes, like its advertising campaign, the Rondo is a little…different." And we meant that in a most positive of ways. The Rondo remains one of the most space-efficient vehicles we've driven and overall; and in terms of sheer versatility, it was one of the most family-friendly vehicles we've tested. For those not wanting a spacious vehicle, but not a U.S.-sized minivan or a taller-riding utility vehicle, it remained one of the only choices other than the sporty Mazda5, another one of our favorites.
"You likely won’t be drawn to the 2010 Kia Rondo because of its looks, but you’re likely to see it in a different light if you do your research first," we said in our Kia Rondo Bottom Line. For a 179-inch long vehicle with a compact-car footprint, the Rondo was pretty amazing inside. The third-row seats in the Rondo are actually large enough for small adults, the second row slides fore and aft, and both rows fold fully for a very low, flat load floor. What's more, there are hidden cargo compartments under the cargo floor, as well as a multi-tier center console. We found the interior quiet at cruising speeds and the ride quality excellent, and though there was nothing remarkable about the way it steered or handled it was surprisingly maneuverable.
Most Rondos came powered by a spirited enough 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission; a 2.7-liter V-6 was offered but was hard to justify given it made only slightly more power with a fuel-economy penalty. And it's fuel-efficient; in a lengthy test of a four-banger back in 2007, we averaged 24 mpg in mixed driving.
Kia confirmed with us early in the 2010 model year that there were indeed 2010 Kia Rondo models—albeit just a few of them. Otherwise, a few 2009 (and perhaps 2010) Rondos remain on lots.
On Kia's U.S. consumer site, the automaker points shoppers toward the 2011 Kia Sportage (which just earned Top Safety Pick status this week)—which, by the way, has less EPA passenger volume than the Rondo.
Mourn a little bit with us, check out the Rondo's original ad campaign below, and embrace the weirdness.